Like Sisters on the Homefront
When fourteen-year-old Gayle gets in trouble with a boy—again—her mother doesn’t give her a choice: Gayle is getting sent away from New York to her family down South, along with her baby, José.
In a small town in Georgia, there is nowhere to go but church, nothing to do but chores, and no friends except her goody-goody, big-boned, kneesock-wearing cousin, Cookie. Gayle is stuck cleaning up after Great, the old family matriarch who stays upstairs in her bed.
But the more she spends time with Cookie and Great, Gayle learns about her family’s history and secrets, stretching all the way back through the preachers and ancestors of the past. And slowly, the stories of her roots begin to change how Gayle sees her future.
Rediscover this novel by a master storyteller and Newbery Honor-winning author, about one girl’s discovery of her own African American family history—and her own place within it.
1.) The characters- Gayle, a NYC girl sent to small town Georgia with her baby, has such a powerful voice. She reads so authentically to her age and is sharp and funny. Her journey of growth is an unexpected one, and I love how she slowly gets close to Great and Cookie. Great and Gayle’s conversations are rich and witty. Cookie and Gayle are more likely to be at odds at first, but they start to build a friendship.
2.) Family dynamics- Williams-Garcia does a beautiful job showing how families evolve over time and across generations. Sometimes it seems like you don’t actually know your parents when you hear stories of their youth, and it’s an ongoing process to view parents and grandparents as people with full lives long before their children and grandchildren entered the picture. Gayle realizes this through conversations with her aunt and Great, and she starts to find similarities where she thought there weren’t any.
3.) The writing- LIKE SISTERS ON THE HOMEFRONT is a fairly short novel, and Williams-Garcia uses precision and sharpness in every sentence. From capturing the setting to the dialogue to the imagery and emotion, the writing is an excellent example of strong, concise storytelling.