Monday, January 30, 2017

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

Seventeen-year-old Che (yes, named for that Che) has led a nomadic life so far, moving with his family as his parents started businesses all over the world.  When the family moves to New York City, his chief concern is his little sister -- ten-year-old Rosa.

From a very early age, he knew that Rosa wasn't like other children - she has no empathy, enjoys inflicting pain, and may have even tricked another young girl into killing her own guinea pig.  Che, who wants to be a neuroscientist, has read the research,  and is convinced that she is a psychopath, but his parents seem oblivious, focused only on starting a new business with their long-time friends.

At the same time, Che is trying to find his place in NYC, joining a new boxing gym, making new friends, and perhaps even finding love for the first time.

The tension and creepiness created by Rosa's subtle antics will keep readers turning pages, while Che's coming of age story keeps the narrative grounded in reality. Besides his unconventional family (the parents insist on being called by their first names), the novel also features a diverse cast of characters, from Che's African-American love interest who lives with her two moms, to the family friends with one Korean-American parent -- the NYC that Che inhabits is realistically multicultural.

I would highly recommend  My Sister Rosa to older teen readers and to adults who read the occasional YA (especially those who enjoy thrillers).  If you enjoy My Sister Rosa,  you might also enjoy Larbalestier's earlier Liar and other YA thrillers such as Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (which I reviewed for this blog) and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (reviewed by Ashley on the blog)


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