My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication date: August 26th, 2014
Genres & Themes: MG, Graphic novels, Family, Real life matters, Humor, Contemporary.
Raina can’t wait to be a big sister. But once Amara is born, things aren’t quite how she expected them to be. Amara is cute, but she’s also a cranky, grouchy baby, and mostly prefers to play by herself. Their relationship doesn’t improve much over the years, but when a baby brother enters the picture and later, something doesn’t seem right between their parents, they realize they must figure out how to get along. They are sisters, after all.
Raina uses her signature humor and charm in both present-day narrative and perfectly placed flashbacks to tell the story of her relationship with her sister, which unfolds during the course of a road trip from their home in San Francisco to a family reunion in Colorado.
Raina and Amara’s relationship:
It’s been quite long since I’ve read a graphic novel. Manga? Yesterday. Graphic novel? Six months ago.
This is a companion novel to Smile which I really liked and absolutely recommend. What is great about these works is that they’re based on true events that the author herself lived when she was a teenager.
It’s mainly about her (Raina) and her sister’s (Amara) relationship and how they overcome their differences because they both have different personalities and center of interests.
The graphics are very cute and I had a lovely reading experience. There are many details drawn but I have to admit that sometimes the backgrounds were very empty and I found them annoying. I keep thinking that it’s very cheap from the authors/illustrators when they often let empty backgrounds in their works. Fortunately, it wasn’t that bad.
The plot isn’t very exploited and quite basic instead but then again it’s a graphic novel and it’s meant to be light, in my opinion. I found the story absolutely engaging still and hope there will be another companion novel/sequel.
Raina is a character you will easily love and her sister one you will easily despise. At least at first. She was a monster when she was younger but still kind of funny, in a way. Of course, there is character development and only for the best. I turned the last page with a smile on my face and quite happy at how the story turned out.
When I was a kid, I kept wanting a sister to play with, exactly like Raina. I wanted to share the kind of relationship we see sisters share on TV, for example in the Charmed TV show (which is one of my favourites.) Unfortunately, I didn’t get a sister but a brother instead. STILL, regardless of many fights we do have, I wouldn’t switch my brother for a sister. Ever.
In general, I was very satisfied with this story. It was light, VERY FAST, short and relaxing. I read it in one sitting because VERY FAST and only wanted more. What is also great about it is seeing how realistic the matters in this graphic novel are.
EXCEPT, I’m not so sure about the snake that lived that long without (I think) having anything to eat, but then again I don’t know much about snakes so maybe it can indeed happen.
I think this graphic novel will appeal to a lot of readers, especially young teens and people who want to read a cute family themed story. Very recommended.
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