Al Miller is counting down the days until her over-achieving older sister Larrie finishes Year 12 and leaves Whitlam High School forever. Then, Al is certain, people will finally see her as more than just 'Larrie's little sister'. But when a rumour about Larrie spreads around school, Al finds herself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Who's behind the rumour? And will it kill Al's chances with school hunk Josh Turner?
LITTLE SISTER is an Aussie YA novel that will appeal to mature MG students and high school teenagers.
It's one of those books that just feels like teen life: high school, homework, after school job, teachers, crushes, friendship, parents, social media and at the heart of the story: sibling issues. (Oh! and did I mention cute boys playing soccer?)
It blends a fun and vibrant tone with plenty of teen angst and real issues -- for a taste of that, here's the opening lines:
Monday morning: Whitlam High School assembly hall. Welcome to another week of mind-numbing boredom higher education.
The prose was easily accessible and the cultural references and social media stuff felt spot-on (there were these cute little status updates at the end of each chapter which were funky and clever). I think the whole social media was handles with finesse ~ not try-hard of likely to date the book.
As for the characters... while the secondary characters all had their own distinct personalities, some of them didn't feel quite fully fleshed out (although that was fine ~ the plot bounced along nicely with them being there). But Al ~ oh my gosh ~ being inside her head took me riiiiiight back to those teen years. The angst and emotion in the book is like climbing inside a girls mind and living it with her. Sometimes the little things are the big things when you're a teen. It made me simultaneously nostalgic and also relieved that you do come out the other side, you know?
And then, when the Big Things happened ~ they were just handled with such heart and honesty.
I always loved reading home-grown YA when I was a teen, which feels so much closer to home than imported stuff and this book just screams Aussie. It's firmly written for teens (I don't think the cross-over appeal is strong). LITTLE SISTER is easily relate-able, fun and ultimately empowering. And it made me want to fly down south to see my sister and give her a hug :)