While My Sister Sleeps: Book summary and reviews of While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky

While My Sister Sleeps

By Barbara Delinsky

While My Sister Sleeps
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Feb 2009,
    336 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

Once again Barbara Delinsky brings us a masterful family portrait, filled with thought-provoking ideas about the nature of life itself, how emotions affect the decisions we make, and how letting go can be the hardest thing to do and the greatest expression of love all at the same time.

Molly and Robin Snow are sisters in the prime of their lives. So when Molly learns that Robin—an Olympic athlete and the favorite child—has suffered a massive heart attack, the news couldn’t be more shocking. At the hospital, the Snow family receives a grim prognosis: Robin may never regain consciousness.

Feelings of guilt and jealousy flare up as Robin's family struggles to cope and their relationships are put to the ultimate test. It’s up to Molly to make the tough decisions, and she soon makes discoveries that destroy some of her most cherished beliefs about the sister she thought she knew.

Read an interview with Barbara about While My Sister Sleeps.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Despite somewhat stilted writing, Delinsky’s popularity should ensure demand for this engaging exploration of every family’s worst nightmare." - Booklist.

"Delinsky is adept as portraying angst, but her story would have greatly benefited from a tighter telling and more complex characters." - Publishers Weekly.

"The novel's foregone conclusion does little to help a narrow plotline to expand." - Kirkus Reviews.

"This touching and heartbreaking novel is highly recommended for public libraries where women's fiction is popular. Readers of Kristin Hannah and Patricia Gaffney will enjoy it." - Library Journal.

The information about While My Sister Sleeps shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Karen
Beautifully written
While My Sister Sleeps was a true pleasure to read. As a sibling of one sister, I was drawn immediately to the topic of sibling rivalry and it's limits. The characters were genuine and their journey believable. Barbara Delinsky has created a terrific story, one that would be enjoyed by reading groups, as there could be no shortage of lively discussion after reading this book. This is the first book I have read by Delinsky and I am looking forward to reading more.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Dotty, teacher
thought provoking
I enjoyed this book and found it to be quite thought provoking. It forced me to think about difficult issues, and how I would confront them.

I did find the book to be lacking in character development. I never felt as if I truly knew the characters. It left me wanting more.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Amellia
Three letters...W-o-w!
I must point out that I have not read anything by Delinsky before "While My Sister Sleeps." Now I have to wonder why. This was a fabulous book, especially for book clubs who want to discuss a book with many topics that could lead to many different opinions: life support, relationships, the media, friends...and the many areas that are involved with a family crisis, even family secrets. I would have liked to read this at the same time as a sister, or friend to discuss it. That would be a great suggestion to anyone who would like to read this in it's debut. Pick up two copies and share with a friend while reading.

Without giving too much away, this was a book that forces the reader to ask questions of themselves. In fact this book sent me to the store for a journal to pass along my thoughts and feelings to my family. If a book can spark me to do anything in life...it must be good!

Thank you for allowing me the time to read this, I have to consider myself a Delinsky fan!

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Kimberly
While My Sister Sleeps
I haven't read many of Barbara Delinsky's books, something about the cover designs never seem to appeal to me (so much for judging a book by its cover). While My Sister Sleeps seemed to hold a lot of promise from the first page, it quickly became contrived and attempted to do too much. The novel spans one week in the life of the Snow family following traumatic events involving their Olympics-bound daughter. While the daughter’s condition remains central to the plot, the multitude of sub-plots, seemingly a new one each chapter, distracted from the initial premise and promising beginning.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Margot
Delinsky consistently delivers
While My Sister Sleeps is another of Barbara Delinsky's consistent novels. She always seems to find a good voice for her characters and deliver emotional nuances that strike you as real.

In this novel, a sister and her family grapple with learning the secret life of their oldest daughter while she lies in a coma. It strikes home in that we never can fully know the interior thoughts and motivations of even our closest family.

It's a great read for a cold winter weekend with hot chocolate, a warm fire and a box of tissues. Enjoy.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Lynn
A great Young Adult pick......
I have to admit that when this book arrived in my mailbox, my 15 year old daughter scooped it up and read it before I did. She had just finished reading Barbara Delinsky's previous book, "The Secret Between Us" and really enjoyed it. She gave a great review for this one as well.

I, on the other hand, felt that it was just average. The beginning was slow and I felt that it was going to be predictable. The story line does become more complicated with some twists and more depth so I was glad that I stuck with it. The novel deals with how a family deals with a tragedy that befalls it's "favorite daughter" . She is an Olympic marathon runner who fatefully has a heart attack while training and falls into a coma. The dire situation brings forth several family secrets as well as many issues between siblings, mother, father, husband and wife.

It was an easy, quick read and as it got moving, became more enjoyable. I can't help but compare it to "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult which deals with a similar story line and explores some of the same issues. "My Sister's Keeper" was much more suspenseful and thought provoking though.

...12 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Barbara Delinsky Author Biography

Says Barbara Delnsky: "I was born and raised in suburban Boston. My mother's death, when I was eight, was the defining event of a childhood that was otherwise ordinary. I took piano lessons and flute lessons. I took ballroom dancing lessons. I went to summer camp through my fifteenth year (in Maine, which explains the setting of so many of my stories), then spent my sixteenth summer learning to type and to drive (two skills that have served me better than all of my other high school courses combined). I earned a B.A. in Psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in Sociology at Boston College. The motivation behind the M.A. was sheer greed. My husband was just starting law school. We needed the money.

Oh. Oh. Back up. You'll love this. When I was in high school, I was kicked ...

... Full Biography
Author Interview
Link to Barbara Delinsky's Website

Other books by Barbara Delinsky at BookBrowse
  • Uplift jacket

9 more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Take This Man
    Take This Man
    by Brando Skyhorse
    "A chorus of six men calling me Son might sound ludicrous to you, but to me it's the sound of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Hundred-Year House
    The Hundred-Year House
    by Rebecca Makkai
    Rebecca Makkai's sophomore novel The Hundred-Year House could just have easily been titled ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.