BookBrowse Reviews The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

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The Almost Sisters

by Joshilyn Jackson

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson X
The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson
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  • First Published:
    Jul 2017, 352 pages
    May 2018, 352 pages

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A powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality - the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

Joshilyn Jackson's The Almost Sisters is a powerful look at the intersection of privilege, family, race and secrets in the South. Our BookBrowse First Impressions readers couldn't put it down!

I have read everything Joshilyn Jackson has written. The Almost Sisters is as good, if not better, than all others. I inhaled it (Roseanne S). No Gimmicks! No changing narrators! No flashbacks! The Almost Sisters is a good story beautifully written. Leia Birch is confronted with two problems: she finds herself pregnant as a result of a one-time encounter with a man she met at a conference, and her beloved grandmother has been acting strangely and decisions have to be made for her future. Add in the marital problems of her stepsister with whom she has a bumpy relationship since childhood. If that seems like enough – it isn't. You're in for many surprises (Joan P). Having lived in the South for 14 years, I can identify with the mores and habits of a small town with a lot of history to be proud of and much to hide. Don't put the book down until the very end or you will miss the entire story and all of its twists and turns. The ending was truly unexpected! (Mary S) OHMYSOUL I could not put this book down. Judging by this reading alone, Joshilyn Jackson is quite the gifted author and I will now read every other one of her books I can find (Pam M).

All of Jackson's characters are easy to love:
Joshilyn Jackson writes with so much care and empathy. You find yourself cheering on every character in the story. I wanted them all to find peace with their secrets and to realize how important family ties are (Sharon R). Once again Joshilyn Jackson has successfully created a world filled with the fascinatingly quirky characters of a small Southern town. There's Leia, a comics creator, who hooks up with Batman at a comics convention. The other members of her family: her grandmother Miss Birchie, who is doing her best to hide her dementia diagnosis from everyone; her niece Lavender, who is 13 going on 30; her step sister Rachel, whose marriage is dissolving and who is the opposite of Leia in every way. Throw in some busybody town folk, some loyal friends, and a deeply hidden family secret, and you have all the ingredients for a great read. Joshilyn Jackson's storytelling is magical (Marcia C). The Almost Sisters was an entertaining and thought provoking read that dealt with many issues about family and relationships in general. Set in the South, the story line also presented racial and class concerns that allowed the reader to appreciate the characters for who they were and who they became. In addition, the power of standing up to what is "wrong" and trying to do the right thing regardless of the price gave a new definition to the meaning of family and in particular being a sister (Peggy C).

The Almost Sisters tackles tough issues with a light hand:
With abundant humor, all issues are tackled but underneath the carpet is the seriousness of privilege, racial bias, rules of the old South, and small town politics (Lani S). Great handling of an intricate plot…And a fairly realistic treatment of politically charged issues – race and crimes. Feels agenda-free (Ann L). The social hierarchies, the thinly veiled prejudice, and the clan-like family loyalties are revealed with humor and love…Dealing with race relations, family secrets, and internal struggles may not sound uplifting, but the story is richly told, and you find yourself rooting for all the family members and the town citizens as they come to grips with new realities (Priscilla M). The book read so easily, yet subjects covered were quite heavy - racism in the South, mixed race children, care of older humans (Carolyn V).

First Impressions readers heartily recommend The Almost Sisters:
I think this would be a great book for book clubs because there are so many important issues ranging from dementia, to marital problems, to unplanned pregnancies. Highly recommend! (Deborah C) A great book club book – so much to discuss (Sharon R). Will recommend to anyone who likes a little mystery and light-hearted plot (Tawana J-S). With thanks to BookBrowse for the chance to read and review The Almost Sisters. I was happy to discover its engaging characters and its deeper conversation about racial prejudice and issues of privilege. Our country has made enormous strides but the racial divide still simmers. Adding the religious prejudices and the roiling immigration issues, and it is clear that a lot of discussion still needs to be faced. You will root for Leia and the future of her unborn child. Book clubs will find a lot to discuss and enjoy (Esther L).

This review was originally published in August 2017, and has been updated for the May 2018 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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