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What Happened to My Sister: A Novel Paperback – August 7, 2012

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What Happened to My Sister: A Novel + Me & Emma + But Inside I'm Screaming
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; First Edition edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345524438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345524430
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (130 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Absolutely unforgettable . . . Haunting, harrowing, and exquisitely told, Flock’s brilliant, bold novel is all about imagination, grief, and one stunning young narrator’s struggle to transcend an unimaginable past in order to carve out a future.”—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You
"A gripping read that is at once heartbreaking and heartwarming. Flock masterfully combines a deeply affecting family drama with relentless suspense. You'll find yourself reading late into the night to find out what life has in store for the indomitable Carrie Parker.”—Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence

“From the opening sentence of Elizabeth Flock’s exceptional new novel, I was at its tender mercies. These memorable, lovable characters jumped off the page and lodged themselves in my heart.”—Elinor Lipman, author of The Family Man and Then She Found Me
“Elizabeth Flock has created a young heroine who will win your heart. Caroline Parker is fierce, bright, and endlessly lovable. Amid this well-plotted mystery, there’s a story of great hope, survival, and resilience.”—Julianna Baggott, author of Girl Talk and Pure

“Readers who loved Me & Emma will pounce on the sequel.” —Booklist

"Flock conjures the world of young Carrie with the pathos and heartbreak of Mary Karr's The Liar’s Club.  You will not put this novel down.” —Antoinette van Heugten, bestselling author of Saving Max

“Carrie Parker is one of the toughest, scrappiest, most endearing child protagonists I've ever encountered in a novel. I fell in love with her immediately, and also with the rest of this wonderful cast of survivors—compelling characters the world has kicked hard, but who rise up and become stronger at those broken places. I was rooting for every one of them and haven't stopped thinking of them since.” —Katrina Kittle, author of The Blessings of the Animals

About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Flock is a former journalist who reported for Time and People magazines and worked as an on-air correspondent for CBS. She is the author of several acclaimed novels, including But Inside I’m Screaming and Me & Emma. She lives in New York City.

More About the Author

*** BREAKING NEWS: I am delighted to announce that "O, The Oprah Magazine" named WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER one of "Ten Titles To Pick Up Now" (September, 2012). ***

The single best career decision I ever made was chosing to leave something safe to try something risky. I look back now and smile at how blissfully unaware I was of all that is involved with getting something published but I am grateful I didn't have that as my goal.
All I wanted was to see if I could write a book I had in mind. My wish for everyone would be to experience the joy of completing something they feel so passionate about.
Being a writer is the hardest job I have ever had but it is also the best, most gratifying job I could hope for.
Visit my website (www.elizabethflock.com) and join me on Facebook: facebook.com/elizabeth.flock.author

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Customer Reviews

The big disappointment of this book is that the ending seems very rushed and undeveloped.
Editor of Lillian's Diaries
Carrie sets out with high hopes for a new life with her mother but without funds, friends or good fortune their lives get mired in desperation and deprivation.
S Svendsen
Although it had been a while since I had read Me & Emma, it was one of those books that stayed with me.
B. Youngblood

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Carol M on July 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What Happened to My Sister is a sequel to Me and Emma. Do read Me and Emma first. The first book is one of my all-time favorites. It ends with a shocking twist that I didn't see coming, and it has stuck with me for years. If you read the second book first, it will be a "spoiler" for the first book and you'll miss the impact of that twist.

What Happened to My Sister picks up where Me and Emma left off. Young Carrie living a transient with her mother, and is sadly neglected. The child does not even have food, scrounges where she can, and resorts to eating paper when she can't find anything else. It's horrible. Then she meets and befriends a girl from a normal family, but the "normal" family has its own sad history. Carrie and the Chaplin family are good for each other.

I loved this book, and hard a time putting it down. I'm not sure how much of that was because of this book itself, or because I was already so invested in Carrie from reading Me and Emma a few years ago. Either way, I highly recommend both books.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pamela A. Poddany VINE VOICE on September 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )

Go to the library, your local book store, or better yet, click on AMAZON, and get a copy of ME & EMMA and read it, front to back. Then, sit yourself down and read WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER. You will be glad you did.

ME & EMMA is a book I read years ago and one that has stuck with me. The ending was a super shocker, a total surprise, leaving me stunned. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY SISTER picks up from that point and moves on fluidly.

Caroline, better known as Carrie, is a sad little girl who has led a life full of misery and physical/emotional abuse. She is constantly hungry, unkempt, unloved by her mother, yet she somehow manages to be a sweet and polite little girl, trying hard to make her Momma love her. Horrible things happen to her; one incident so terrible that Carrie and her Momma move out of town. They end up at a no-tell motel in a town much larger than the one they ran from. The size of the town, along with everything that a big city has to offer, is awesome to little nine year old Carrie.

Even though they have changed their address, Momma hasn't changed at all and is very cruel to Carrie. Momma doesn't love or even like Carrie much and beats her and speaks horribly to her. It's amazing what a kind child Carrie is, and even though she is constantly belittled and beaten by her momma, Carrie tries so hard to please her to no avail. Fate will be fate and one day Carrie meets up with Cricket and her mom -- they are a family trying hard to over come their own family tragedy -- and a friendship blossoms quickly.

With Cricket and her mom Honor in her life, Carrie tries hard to reach for some happiness and find some comfort and love in these people.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Kathy Couchon on August 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Her first book, Me and Emma was a very good read. It had me thinking for several days afterwards, and it had an excellent ending (I won't spoil it, but it was a twist, and it took me by surprise, I am seldom surprised by plots).

I was excited to read this book, the follow on.... Well, I wish I hadn't. It absolutely RUINED the first book for me... it took away the excellent twist, and in my opinion, cheapened the whole first book's story.

This book felt like it was thrown together, sloppy writing, sloppy plot development, and very, very unbelievable. It was as if she had to re-invent her story just to write this book. I say read the first one, don't bother with this one.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Williams VINE VOICE on June 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Caroline (Carrie) Parker is nine years old and from the mountains of North Carolina. She and her mother are escaping from abuse and own very little. Carrie even lists the small amount of clothing she has - and most of those are second hand. One thing that keeps Carrie's spirits up is Emma. Because Carrie's mother forbids even the mention of Emma's name, Carrie herself doesn't even trust her own judgment about whether or not Emma is real, and whether Emma could be a long-lost sister.

During the Parkers' escape and hopes for a better life, Carrie meets a girl named Emma Ford. Emma owns things that Carrie didn't even know exist; Carrie had never before seen a computer or an iPod, and Emma explains what they are and how they work, and Emma most certainly knows how to do research with a computer! Carrie confides many things to Emma, and Emma discovers more on the computer to tell Carrie.

This story is told from two well-delineated voices: Carrie's and that of Honor Chaplin Ford, Emma's mother. Though Honor has her hands full caring for her mother and daughter and trying to salvage her marriage, she sees that Carrie's situation is not good. Carrie is too thin, too hungry, not always clean, and sometimes bruised. Honor wants to help, but isn't sure how or how far to go. The two viewpoints are indicated by the name Carrie (in a childlike font) and Honor (in a more mature font) at the beginning of the appropriate chapters. In addition, readers see childlike usage and grammar when the author is in Carrie's voice, and more mature, more grammatically correct usage when the author is using Honor's voice.

Though the main protagonist is Carrie, a child, this book is not for children.
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