- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (April 12, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385743777
- ISBN-13: 978-0385743778
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,131,024 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister Paperback – April 12, 2016
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About the Author
Amélie Sarn has written numerous novels, as well as comic books in her native France.
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Based on a true tragedy in France and a 2004 law restricting young women's expressive freedom in schools, the story focuses on the ongoing theft of choice and freedom stolen from teenage girls. Teens who fight daily battles with siblings over clashing choices will see themselves in both the characters, Sohane and Djelila, high-school-aged Muslim sisters who live in the projects. When Djelila dies, Sohane must resolve her bitter anger, jealousy, memories, and deep loss. As Sohane states: 'I love no one else more than my little sister and I hate no one else as much." As Sohane sorts through the loss of Djelia, readers journey back through their earlier relationship where the sisters surprise both themselves and each other as they grow apart from the close friendship of their early youth through divergent choices in religion, clothing, activities, friends, and boys.
The author expertly plays with memory and time in a non-linear way using different points of view. But this technique can be hard to follow and an extended chapter at the mid-point in the first person viewpoint slowed the pacing to halt before it picked up and engaged me in the main story again.
Sibling rivalry is an ancient pastime. There will be fights, disagreements, and anger on and on through eternity each person seeking both connection and separation. As Djelila says to Sohane: “I don’t want to live in fear. I don’t want my choices to be dictated by fear. I don’t want to be what others have decided I should be. I want to be myself. Do you understand, Sohane?” But in the end, every teenager wants to marry opposing forces of identity within: to be a part of a safe familiar family group and take a step out of that safe place to experience her own unique self she is struggling to birth.
Ms. Jamieson Haverkampf
M.F.A. Creative Writing candidate at Northwest Institute of Literary Arts (specializing in writing for children and young adults) and the author of the award winning resource guide: Mom Minus Dad: The Essential Resource Guide for Busy Adults with a Newly Widowed Parent
None of the characters really jumped off the page. Most of the time, they felt flat and, while I thought the tension between guilt and righteousness in Sohane’s narration was great, I really wish the book had alternating chapters between Djelila and Sohane because neither felt fully developed.
This was written very, very sparsely. It was not the style that either of us generally read and no lines really stood out.
Fun Author Fact
Amelie Sarn is also a comic book writer.
Is this worth a book hangover?
I am not sure. It might be the translation, but if felt very stiff and lacked development. I wanted to know more about the characters and get more deeply embedded in their lives, but the lack of description created a kind of barrier. In some ways, this felt like a very long-form journalism piece rather than a book. I still found Sohane and Djelila’s story interesting, there just wasn’t enough to it.
But some things don't come so easily.
Both born in France in a Muslim community, they each decided on very different paths: Sohane chose to become more religious by wearing a head scarf, and Djelila veered toward the more secular by wearing make-up and drinking alcohol. The school district then expelled Sohane for wearing the scarf and Dejlila got harassed by a local gang for not following Muslim customs. Slowly, Sohane and Dejilia began to hate each other for putting themselves in constant danger for choices that they thought could easily have been changed.
After Djelila’s death, Sohane looked back over the past year to try to understand her sister better. Why did Djelila have to provoke the gang? Why did she have to wear tight jeans and short jackets? But mostly, how could life go on?
I LOVE I HATE I MISS MY SISTER was an emotional read that shows what it can mean to be a sister and a best friend. Amelie Sarn did a wonderful job creating such a thoughtful story about dealing with loss. However, it was hard to get into because the book was translated from French and some of the language seemed awkward or unclear, which was distracting --- it broke my joyful trance of being immersed in good fiction. Otherwise, I was still able to lose myself in the complex characters and the compelling story. This is definitely a book that I would have loved to have read in its original French format.
Reviewed by Maya B., Teen Board Member