Friday, February 14, 2014

Book Review - The Year My Sister Got Lucky

I recently finished reading the book The Year My Sister Got Lucky, by Aimee Friedman.  I was in the mood for something light to read, that I didn't have to think much about.  This was a perfect no thinking book.

The two main characters are Katie and Michaela Wilder.  They are sisters who were born and raised in Manhattan.  Their mom is a professor and their dad is a writer.  Michaela and Katie are ballerinas at a prestigious NYC dance school called Anna Pavlova.  They are both in love with dance - or at lease that is the impression they give off at the beginning of the book.  Katie and Michaela find out that their mom got a job at a new university in Fir Lake, NY.  Their family is going to be moving.  Both girls are upset about having to leave the city.

When they finally arrive in Fir Lake, Katie is in shock over their house.  Her mom, dad and sister looked at pictures of the house on the internet before they moved, but Katie wanted to be surprised.  She nicknames the house The Monstrosity.  Katie refuses to believe that there could be anything good about living in this house.  She even judges the neighbors before getting to really know them and hates all of her school mates upon first sight. 

When Katie starts her new dance class, the first thing she does is make fun of the teacher, though mostly to herself at first.  Then Amelia, a classmate Katie has nicknamed "Flannel," befriends Katie and they take to mocking their dance teacher together. 

When Michaela starts hanging out with some popular kids at school, and meets a boy, Katie gets jealous, and tries to do whatever she can to hang on to the fragile relationship she has with Michaela.  She tries to hang out with Michaela every day at lunch, wonders - out loud - what Michaela could possibly find interesting about the slow, backwards people who live in Fir Lake, and worries - also out loud - about why Michaela is dating a boy that everyone else seems to think is bad news.  Katie never takes the time to really connect with the people who try hard to be her friend, including Amelia.  She always keeps everyone at arms length, convinced that these people could never really be her friends.

I wanted to like this book, because I think good books for teens are important.  However, I had trouble getting through it.  The writing was weak, at best.  The main character - Katie - was a spoiled, unlikeable snob who spent the entire book judging everyone around her.  The ending was flimsy.  Overall, I would give this book a D.  I wouldn't recommend it to others - pick something more substantial with better writing instead.

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