Mini-Reviews: The Sister Pact + How To Be Brave

Both of these books were okay reads for me so I decided to pair them together for more mini-reviews. Even though I didn't necessarily love these books, I still encourage that you look them up and see if you'd be interested in either of them!

[Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire | Pub. Date: 11/3/2015 | Genre: YA Contemp]
There’s no denying the concept The Sister Pact is a heartbreaking one. Allie loves her older sister Leah. She idolizes her and follows her lead on one too many things. So when Leah suggests they make a suicide pact, vowing that they’ll always be together — Allie all too readily agrees. Then Leah commits suicide without her and Allie is left with many unanswered questions. In beginning, there is all this pretext of support. From her parents, her “friends” and love interest(s). I say pretext because while maybe all these individuals had good intentions, they ultimately came across as selfish and not the right people for Allie to be around. There wasn’t a single person in the book I felt she had a genuine connection to, aside from her mother. But that doesn’t happen until later. And this is why the book lost me. I felt like the author was trying to convince us that these people truly cared but I didn’t buy it. Plus this girl’s older sister just committed suicide and she’s obviously drowning in her grief and the fact there are not one, but two, guys pretty much trying to get in Allie’s pants rubbed me the wrong way. It was uncomfortable and unromantic and completely lacking in chemistry. Where the story shined was when it focused on Allie and how she used her art to work through her grief. And then eventually we learn more about her home life which was an obvious proponent of the suicide pact. When the author finally delved into Allie (and Leah’s) relationships with her parents and we later get to see Allie and her mom bond, that’s when I felt the most invested. I wish the book had focused more on this and gave her at least one real friend she could count on.

Do I recommend?: The book was okay. It’s not something I would personally recommend to a friend. But I will say that despite my reservations throughout the book, there was something that told me to keep going and see it through to the end.

[Publisher: St. Martin's Press | Pub. Date: 11/3/2015 | Genre: YA Contemp]
I didn’t realize this when I picked up How To Be Brave right after The Sister Pact but there are definitely a lot of parallels. In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have read them so close together since I ended up feeling similarly about both (although I prefer this one for sure). In this book, Georgia is grieving the death of her mother. She was her confidant, biggest cheerleader and more than anything, she wanted Georgia to live a full, happy life. In the wake of her death, Georgia makes a list of fifteen things she’s always been afraid to do but she’s determined to be brave, positive and cross off every item. Georgia is the shining star of this book and I admired her courage and the way she pushed herself beyond her comfort zone. What I struggled with was probably how the story itself played out. She has a best friend who often teetered between understanding and I felt, selfishness? They’re young, I get it. But the conflict their friendship faced felt unnecessary in light of everything else. There’s also another friend conflict that felt like the author was trying to cram a bit too much into one book. I preferred the focus when it was on Georgia and her particular journey. (Although I must say one part of her journey took me by surprise and not necessarily in a good way. It felt too convenient and unrealistic).

Do I recommend?: Like I said, there were some aspects of the story that made me feel deeply for Georgia but it was a bit touch and go. I think if the synopsis interests you, it’s worth it to check it out for yourself.

1 comment

  1. Of these two novels, I think I'm most intrigued by How to Be Brave! I struggled a lot with my own confidence, and daring myself to do things, and I think I'd find that part of Georgia's story easy to relate to.


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