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The Almost Sisters: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 11, 2017
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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“Leia, a self-proclaimed superhero-comics dork, narrates this light-dark Southern story of family, race, and belonging with affection, humor, and well-timed profanity, bound to please fans of the best-selling author’s six previous novels.… Both literary and women’s fiction readers will appreciate Leia’s smart/sassy narrative.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“The Almost Sisters is a book only Joshilyn Jackson could have written… I was swept up by her inimitable voice from the very first page: she deftly combines such unexpected subjects as superheroes, single motherhood, race, and the impact of long-buried secrets.” (Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of Liar, Temptress, Solider, Spy)
“In a story of incredible love and bravery, [Jackson] lasers through the weathered grace and mossy tradition of the contemporary south to explode its comic book dualism with blistering genius…Imagine Flannery O’Connor in a Wonder Woman suit, and you’ll get close to the big heart of this brilliant book.” (Lydia Netzer, author of Shine Shine Shine and How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky)
“Beautifully written, fascinating and deep, The Opposite of Everyone is another must-read novel by Jackson... Jackson has done a phenomenal job of weaving the past with the present and unfolding the story layer after layer. This is a masterfully written tale that readers cannot put down.” (RT Book Reviews (top pick), THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE)
“Jackson delivers another quirky, Southern-based, character-driven novel that combines exquisite writing, vivid personalities, and imaginative storylines while subtly contemplating race, romance, family, and self. A searing yet ultimately uplifting look at broken people who heal themselves and each other through forgiveness, love, and the power of stories.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review), THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE)
“The unconventional characters in Jackson’s books often provide thought-provoking studies of love and loyalty; this must-read also contemplates the transformative power of storytelling.” (New York Times Book Review, THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE)
“Witty, cleverly constructed and including a truly surprising twist, Someone Else’s Love Story turns out to be a nuanced exploration of faith, family and the things we do for love.” (People (3 ½ stars), SOMEONE ELSE'S LOVE STORY)
“Jackson has written another spirited page-turner… A satisfying, entertaining read from an admired writer who deserves to be a household name. ” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on The Almost Sisters)
“Only Joshilyn Jackson can present such serious issues with so much humor and humanity, making us consider just how far we might go to protect the ones we love.” (Brunonia Barry, NY Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader & The Fifth Petal)
“A vibrant, sharp and humorous read, brimming with relatable subplots, high-energy scenes and overt superhero references... The author deftly succeeds in writing a book within a book, each one beautifully complementing the other.” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
“Jackson offers more here than a great plot with relatable, memorable characters and crazy storylines. This cleverly crafted, original tale centers on racism and the dichotomy of the South, as well as complicated familial relationships and elderly care. In other words, she writes fictional tales about real life.” (Fredericksburg.com)
From the Back Cover
WITH EMPATHY, GRACE, HUMOR, AND PIERCING INSIGHT, THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GODS IN ALABAMA PENS A POWERFUL, EMOTIONALLY RESONANT NOVEL OF THE SOUTH THAT CONFRONTS THE TRUTH ABOUT FAMILY, RACE, AND THE DISTINCTIONS BETWEEN PERCEPTION AND REALITY—THE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES ABOUT OUR ORIGINS AND WHO WE REALLY ARE
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’s weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comic-book convention, the usually level-headed graphic novel artist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. She remembers he was tall, black, and an excellent French kisser—but not much else.
It turns out the Caped Crusader has left her with more than just a fond, fuzzy memory. That pink plus sign on the stick isn’t wrong: she’s having a baby—an unexpected but not unhappy development. She always wanted to fall in love and have a child, but as a young woman, she learned exactly what betrayal felt like. Now she’s thirty-eight and dead single, having walked—no, run—away from every man she might have married, trying to avoid more loss, more regrets.
Before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional lily-white Southern family, her perfect stepsister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Leia wants to help, but Rachel is married to the very man who broke her heart all those years ago. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, has been hiding her rapidly progressing dementia with the help of her lifelong best friend, Wattie. Birchie is Leia’s only living paternal relative, a proper yet fierce woman who has long lived by her own rules in Birchville, Alabama, the small town her family founded generations back. Now this grande dame has started a row at the church fish fry that has set every tongue wagging, pitted neighbor against neighbor, and made it plain to Leia that her grandmother needs some serious looking after.
Heading seven hundred miles south, Leia plans to put Birchie’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and break the news of her blessed event. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked away in a trunk in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her unborn son and the possibilities of his absent father, and the warm and friendly—yet deeply flawed and contradictory—world she thinks she knows.
Enchanting, wry, honest, and hopeful, The Almost Sisters compels us to explore our own origins and the stories we tell ourselves.
Top customer reviews
Having never read one of Jackson's books before, I was not sure what to expect, but I found myself quickly sucked into Leia's life and the goings-on of Birchville, Alabama, and managed to finish the novel in less than 48 hours. The characters were dynamic, with realistic problems and personalities, and the conflicts, while varied and complex, were narrated in a way that made the complexities easy to follow, but also extremely fleshed out at the same time. The comic book and other "nerd" references were pretty fantastic as well, because like Leia, I also love Batman. :)
However, despite the wonderful narration, character development, and plot, the fact that Leia, a woman who has spent every summer since birth in a small town in Alabama witnessing the discrimination that her white grandmother's black best friend encounters on a regular basis, seemingly does not understand racism and race discrimination is either a major character flaw or just flat out ignorant. It is not until Leia is confronted with the fact that she is carrying a biracial child and that her baby daddy essentially gives her a wake up call that she realizes that racism is still extremely prominent in the world. While this could be just be chalked up to the fact that Leia is super naive, the white privilege she exudes in regards to racism does not fit with how her character is portrayed otherwise, especially in regards to the events of the last year associated with race in the United States. This made me extremely frustrated with the book, despite how much I liked it otherwise.