Review Detail

Kids Fiction 110
Sister vs. Sister
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Francine and Maureen feel differently about starting middle school; Francine is reinventing herself, going by "Fran"and rocking a hat an funky t shirt on the first day. Maureen is scared and misses the security of elementary school, where she was the top student in the fifth grade. Maureen is also upset that she has Cadet Corps instead of gym, like Francine does, and is assigned a lunch where she doesn't know anyone. When Maureen finds out why she and her sister got the schedules they did, she is angry at her parents, and then at her sister, whom she feels she is losing. With the changes in Fran, the friend group the two were in also feels off. Maureen is also struggling in Cadet Corps, and isn't good at drills. She approaches the teacher to ask about extra credit, and is told that she might receive some if she runs for a class office. She decides to run for president... and so has Francine. This widens the rift in the sister's relationship, and even leads to Maureen moving out into her older half brother's room so that the sisters can plan their campaigns in private. Both girls come up with good plans, but Maureen doesn't feel as confident as Francine does. When someone vandalizes Maureen's campaign poster with comments that reveal a secret only Francine knows, Maureen finally confronts her sister, but finds out that her twin's confidence isn't as unshakable as she thinks. The parents are ready to make Francine drop out of the campaign, but Maureen wants her to stay in so that she will know which sister could win on her own merits. Which sister will it be?
Good Points
This is a graphic novel with twins that has bright, exuberant illustrations and has Black main characters. This will be automatically popular in my library. It also has great parents and a fun older half brother (who is a first grade teacher!), lots of friend drama, and a little bit of possible romance. I'm not normally a fan of election stories (my school has never had elections in my 20+ years there), but twins running against each other is certainly a great twist. This is also definitely #ownvoice-- not only is Mr. Johnson a twin, but he has twin daughters!

Depending on where they live, readers might need a little more explanation about the Cadet Corps; I looked it up, and this is a real thing. Never heard of this attempt to militarize middle school students before, and am curious as to why and how these groups are in middle schools. It looks like an organization that means to have a positive impact with leadership and education, but... militarization. I wanted to know more.

This will be much in demand by readers of realistic fiction graphic novels like those by Jennifer Holm, Victoria Jamieson, and Vera Brosgol.

I would LOVE to see Johnson and Wright follow this up with more stories like this. If the characters in the future are not quite as anxious about middle school, that would be fine! Maybe throw in some sports.
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