Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 163
Immersive mystery about family, secrets, and finding your way
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Eileen, Claire, and Murphy Sullivan used to be close. They had their special traditions, their shared laughs, and their shared sisterhood. But time has passed, and now, they barely speak to each other. Eileen, 18, read something that changed her perception of everything around her and has been turning to alcohol since. Claire, 17, has just been rejected from her Ivy League dream college. And Murphy, 14, feels more alone than ever when her pet turtle dies. When the 3 sisters find out they have a deceased uncle who left them a mysterious home, they go in search of answers to questions they never knew to ask.

Kathryn Ormsbee’s THE SULLIVAN SISTERS is an immersive mystery about family, secrets, and finding your way, especially when any plans you thought were set are disrupted. The sisters have rotating POV chapters, and their voices are distinct and rich with their individual interior lives. I was quickly hooked on each of their journeys, from Murphy’s desperate desire to be seen, Eileen’s reluctant admissions of her own truths, and Claire’s disillusion of her dreams and goals. The mystery around the house and their family past kept the plot moving and building in intensity, while the emotional layers under everything kept the hard punches coming.

What I love most about THE SULLIVAN SISTERS is the range of experiences and growth reflected in the sisters. They are all at such different points in their lives, but all are facing intersections they don’t recognize and feel alone in their struggles. This is an excellent example of how to make lack of communication, and even at some points, distrust of communication altogether, really powerful. All of their secrets are intertwined with self-doubt, fear, uncertainty, and sometimes shame, especially when dealing with years of relationship neglect and passivity.

THE SULLIVAN SISTERS has a little bit for everyone: murder mystery, family conflict, unexpected journeys, and the bonds of sisterhood. I highly recommend this poignant, painfully honest story that will make you believe in the power of growth and love.
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