Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Sisters, Sisters, There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

In Natalie Standiford's Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters, the eccentric matriarch holds the family inheritance hostage until the offending progeny delivers a formal apology.

Sisters, Sisters, There Were Never Such Devoted Sisters

BOOK REPORT for Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

BFF Charm: Yay, Hells Yes, & Of Course, Sweetie!
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Letterary Genius
Bonus Factors: Sisters, Kickass Gram, Old Money Eccentricity
Relationship Status: BFFs

The Deal:

It's Christmas in Baltimore, and the Sullivan family has gathered for their annual celebration. Daddy-o, Ginger and the kids (St. John, Sully, Norrie, Jane, Sassy & Takey) have gathered at Almighty's mansion, where they are greeted with some startling news. It seems that someone in the family has offended Almighty (Daddy-o's mother, and holder of the purse strings) and she has cut them all out of her will. The offending party now has one week to write a formal letter, confessing and asking for forgiveness-- at which time Almighty might consider reinstating the rest of the family's inheritance.

The Sullivans all decide that, of course, it must be one of the girls who has put their foot in it, so the three sisters set about penning their own admissions of guilt.

BFF Charm: Yay, Hells Yes, & Of Course, Sweetie!

-Dear Norrie, I'm proud to call you my friend. You are the sweetest and the best. You try so hard to be a good daughter, and I just want to be there for you, and tell you to follow your instincts, and don't feel bad about that thing you did, for reals.

P.S. I'll go to intellectual/artist parties with you, and I promise I'll neither give BJ's in the bathroom, or get sick on the host's bed. We'll be the coolest underagers ever.

-Jane, I wish I could be more like you. Sometimes I feel the passion and fury and NEED for truth, but I don't always follow through with it like you do. Girlfriend, you are balls-to-the-wall awesome.

-Oh, Sassy, we need to talk, babe. Seriously, you've got some major shizz rattling around in that adorable noggin, and I feel the need to set a few things straight. Then we can commiserate over sucking at math.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

The swoon in this story is only one part of a much larger whole, but Standiford hits it in a genuine and incredibly sweet way. I felt Norrie's insecurities and her giddiness at finding first love. And kudos for writing a sweet and interesting older (by a few years, anyway) guy who is not in any way a douche. (Oh, an double kudos for throwing in some diversity, like it ain't no thing, which it shouldn't be!)

Talky Talk: Letterary Genius

Stories told through epistolary narrative can be beautiful to read. They can also be how-do-you-say, um, DULL (has anyone actually ever read Dracula?). Much of this story is told through the letters written by each of the sisters, and Ms. Standiford manages to carry out three distinct and equally interesting voices, without stumbling into the pitfall of too much exposition. This book is a thoroughly delightful thing to read.

Bonus Factor: Sisters

If you ask me, and uh, even if you didn't, I'm writing this, so I hereby declare that there aren't enough YA novels out there about sisters! Especially sisters who love each other and get along (most of the time, anyway). Because even though we may be very different, a good sister (which I have) is one of the few relationships that will last a lifetime.

Bonus Factor: Kickass Gram

Her family (and the rest of the town) call her Almighty, for chrissakes! Whether the lady is pure evil in a string of pearls, or just a flawed but powerful woman, I LOVED the girls' Gram! You might not agree with her every decision, but no one will be able to deny that this lady kicks major pants!

Bonus Factor: Old Money Eccentricity

There's something about families who have been extremely wealthy for a very long time. Only they can get away with calling their father 'Daddy-o' and their mother 'Ginger' without sounding like frauds. Also, they can have very respectable names with nicknames like 'Sassy', and somehow, it's okay. Standiford's depiction of this family was hilarious and believable at once.

Casting Call:

 

Carey Mulligan as Norrie

Only this sweet face could capture the innocence and earnestness of Norrie without over-playing it.

 

Emilie de Ravin as Jane

Jane was the hardest to cast, but I think de Ravin has the cutes and the feistiness to do her justice.

 

Lisa Blackwell as Sassy

Quirky? Check. Adorable? Check. The ability to be so sweet and yet harbor big secrets? Check.

 

Vanessa Redgrave as Almighty

Who else could pull off someone named 'Almighty'?

 

Richard Ayoade as Robbie

So he usually does ridiculous comedy (and well), but Richard Ayoade is just so handsome, I really want to see him as a leading man. Plus, anybody who can still be devilishly attractive after delivering the line "You're making it go back in!" (yes, referring to being interrupted during a poo) has my heart for always.

Relationship Status: BFFs

Even though I just met this book, I feel like I grew up with it. This book is a bosom friend. I love love it. We share our deepest fears and celebrate each other's successes (over champs cans, obvs). It's the kind of friend that I know no matter how far apart our lives take us, we'll always be able to reconnect instantly, pick up where we left off, and toast the night away.

FTC Full Disclosure: My review copy was a free ARC I received from Scholastic. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters will be available September, 2010.

Stay tuned next week when Natalie Standiford will answer all of our tough journalistic questions in the next edition of Between Two Lockers!

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.
K