- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Soho Teen (November 15, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1616956747
- ISBN-13: 978-1616956745
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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My Sister Rosa Hardcover – November 15, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—When Che is forced to move from Australia to the United States, he has two things on his mind: find a new boxing gym and keep the world safe from his sister Rosa. For almost as long as she's been alive, Che has known that something is not right with her. Callous, indifferent, fascinated by pain, she is a threat to all those around her, whether or not her parents see it. When their lives collide with old family friends, Che struggles to keep Rosa in line at the same time as he's experiencing his first love. A tense, thrilling rumination on the psychology of evil, this work manages to keep a suspenseful tone while also showcasing a burgeoning romantic relationship. There are also a wide variety of nuanced and complex diverse characters in Che's New York City neighborhood. Rosa is a truly chilling figure, seemingly unpredictable in her violence yet methodical in her manipulations of those around her. VERDICT While the sexual content and sadistic main character make it a better choice for older readers, the book is a worthwhile selection for YA collections.—Erinn Black Salge, Saint Peter's Prep, Jersey City, NJ
Praise for My Sister Rosa
A Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2016
A Publishers Weekly Best Young Adult Book of 2016
"[My Sister Rosa is] amazing . . . It's a permanent presence in my life now . . . [Justine Larbalestier’s] brain is an amazing and terrifying instrument."
—John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars
“The evil in the room across the hall, the evil in the flowery party dress, the evil who just wants a bedtime story—Rosa is more frightening and more adorable than any villain you have yet met. Larbalestier is at her tricky, terrifying best in this novel.”
—E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars
"Troubling, thoughtful, provocative, and wise, My Sister Rosa is a compelling character study, a chilling thriller, and a love letter to the diversity and vibrancy of New York City."
—New York Times bestselling author Kass Morgan
"With My Sister Rosa, Larbalestier brings us a novel that starts out as a quirky family story with a cast of intriguing and likeable characters (even the titular pyschopath), but which quickly races into psychological thriller territory that meets and beats The Silence of the Lambs for suspense—it's the kind of book that had me literally gasping aloud as it rattled to its incredible conclusion."
—Cory Doctorow for BoingBoing.com
“My Sister Rosa is a gripping, terrifying, wonderful story that I could not put down.”
—Laurie Halse Anderson
"An utterly compelling and wonderfully creepy exploration of the many faces of psychopathy. Rosa will stay with you long after you turn the last page."
—Jay Kristoff, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Illuminae
"Manipulative, murderous Rosa is one of the most terrifying villains to come along in fiction in quite awhile."
"Not one to shy away from tough subject matter, Larbalestier addresses issues related to gender, sexual orientation, religion, identity, and race with tact . . . This dark thriller is the 1956 film The Bad Seed meets 2016; readers will be simultaneously terrified when Rosa's present and afraid to let her out of their sight."
—Kirkus, Starred Review
"A chilling contemplation on human morality—Che’s physical sparring in the ring has nothing on his go-arounds with Rosa . . . [incorporates] sharp commentary on privilege, faith, gender identity, and race. The tension of wondering where and how Rosa will strike next will keep readers riveted from start to finish."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Larbalestier reminds readers of her masterful gift for slippery, unreliable characters . . . Thriller fans will devour this suspenseful, chilling meditation on the roles of nature and nurture in creating dangerous criminals."
—ShelfAwareness, Starred Review
"A tense, thrilling rumination on the psychology of evil, this work manages to keep a suspenseful tone while also showcasing a burgeoning romantic relationship. There are also a wide variety of nuanced and complex diverse characters in Che’s New York City neighborhood. Rosa is a truly chilling figure, seemingly unpredictable in her violence yet methodical in her manipulations of those around her."
—School Library Journal, Starred Review
“The plot is devilishly clever, with clues that point to without giving away the surprise twists . . . Even those with no prior experience of [Larbalestier’s] craftiness will find Che’s helplessness in the face of Rosa’s casual cruelty absolutely chilling.”
—The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books, Starred Review
"My Sister Rosa is terrifying, brilliant, and heart-wrenching. A must read."
—Cindy Pon, author of Serpentine
"Larbalestier masterfully crafts a unique tale about a boy and his kid sister who bring old problems to a new city. It's darkly funny, disconcerting, and absolutely brilliant!"
—Jason Reynolds, author of The Boy in the Black Suit and coauthor of All American Boys
"Haunting is the best way to describe Larbalestier's latest home run . . . I loved the hidden depth of the secondary characters and found the complexity of the family dynamics familiar and fascinating."
—RT Book Reviews
"In confronting Rosa’s sinister tendencies, Che not only comes face-to-face with his family’s dark past but also a few grim secrets of his own . . . A captivating exploration of family, fate, and the fight to outrun them."
"A toe-curling psychological thriller."
—The Sydney Morning Herald
"Larbalestier’s novel is a slow boil, moody and tense, with just the right amount of creep factor and a casually diverse cast of characters . . . Che’s journey toward self-awareness is at times enlightening, at times devastating, and the threat of violence from Rosa is suspenseful and truly terrifying."
—The Horn Book Magazine
"Outstanding . . . This is a subtle but completely unsettling examination of how evil is born and how it is often found in the most unsuspecting places. My Sister Rosa is tough to put down and even more difficult to forget."
—New Mystery Reader
"The sense of impending doom overshadowed all. It will take some time to truly absorb My Sister Rosa and more time to recover . . . An excellent psychological thriller featuring diverse characters; it’s a page-turner that happens to fall into the YA category."
Praise for Razorhurst
"A day full of bloody confrontations, secret alliances and unexpected romance . . . fascinating setting, colorful names, and sharp, peppery dialogue."
—The New York Times Book Review
"Vivid . . . Lavishly imagined . . . Larbalestier's elaborate world is sure to linger."
—Los Angeles Times
"Vivid and bloody and bold and fast—I feel like Razorhurst is in my bones now."
"Sure, it is shiny and chilly and bloody and sharp, like the razor of the title, but Larbalestier's book is also magical and glamorous."
—E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars
"Larbalestier packs plenty of danger into the single day this novel covers . . . [The] story's interwoven intrigue and empathy make it feel timeless."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Larbalestier pulls no punches with the gruesome, gory details about the violence of poverty, and the result is a dark, unforgettable and blood-soaked tale of outlaws and masterminds."
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
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Top customer reviews
We start the story with Che and Rosa moving to New York. They have moved around most of their lives, due to their parents starting and failing multiple businesses. Originally from Australia, Che has a hard time adjusting. He misses his friends, his gym and his old life. On top of that, Che’s first priority is taking care of his younger sister, Rosa. Except Rosa is not a normal younger sister, she is a sociopath. Che and Rosa have creepy private conversations where he makes her promise to not do “bad things” because Rosa has no empathy and does not fully understand the difference between right and wrong. Che realizes the truth even though the rest of the family does not understand: Rosa is a ticking bomb and it is only a matter of time before she does something unforgivable. However it is also realistic because despite what Che knows about Rosa, he still loves her. As twisted as that may be, she is still his baby sister.
“Didn’t anyone ask you where your parents are?”
“They asked. Especially about my parents.”
“What did you tell them?”
“I said I ate them.”
What I really enjoyed about this book is that is was more than Che and Rosa’s creepy conversations, and more than Rosa doing morally questionable things. There was Che’s dysfunctional parents and infuriating mother who was constantly in denial about their situation. Che’s life revolved around boxing, although his parents never wanted him to spar because it was considered violent. There was also Che’s budding relationship with fellow boxer Sojourner, and how he balanced that while keeping Rosa a secret. There was a colorful cast of characters aside form Che and Rosa, including Leilani, Elon, Maya and Seimone. They all contributed to the plot- Che trying to adjust to life as a teenage boy while carrying this burden of his psychopath sister.
Rosa’s condition was not overdone and actually very believable. She was creepy, unfeeling and incredibly intelligent. She never did anything *too* bad- she stole things, lied, manipulated and Che felt responsible for keeping her in line, always fearing the worst. As the reader, I absolutely bought into Che’s worries and also feared the worst from Rosa. Che’s depiction as a teenage boy was incredibly realistic and normal that I found myself following the story and hoping everything would turn out okay. However, the entire story has this overshadowing sense of foreboding, and I just knew something was going to happen.
I was not expecting the ending at all but in retrospect it was really fitting with the overall feel of the story. Rosa’s depiction of a sociopath was frighteningly realistic (not that I’m an expert, but I definitely bought into the story) and Larbalstier did an excellent job of creating a cohesive, well-developed psychological thriller.
The protagonist, Che, is very realistically created with a plight that's both fascinating and heartwrenchingly frightening. His plight is written in first person format and he nearly jumps off the pages in his telling of his taIe. I found all of the characters and varying dynamics to be exceptionally compelling. There is real dimension and creative finesse that puts one in Che's shoes and weaves a brilliantly conceived tale.
I admire the way that the author demonstrates the lack of true black and white. His sister Rosa is the terrifying reality that 1 in 25 people are sociopaths. Her relationship with her brother is an glimpse into the mind of those who mask their true lack of humanity. She is deftly rendered and her unpredictability is chillingly in control of Che's entire life.
There are a great many twists and turns in the novel. I was caught off guard by a goodly amount. The whole book is a great idea for a story that is put together admirably and meticulously, much to the benefit of the the reader. I love to read. However, what I love even more is finding a book that truly stands out. "My Sister Rosa" is, in my humble opinion, a truly unique and stand-out book that I recommend wholeheartedly to both teen and adult readers. Two thumbs, way up!
Che is a typical seventeen year old who wants a normal teen's life: a girlfriend, to box, to be with his friends. His life is complicated by unstable parents, and a sister, Rosa, who is a psychopath. We follow along with him and his goals, as he meets new people, tries to cope with life in NYC and his sister.
Without explaining anything, this book devastated me, honestly. The author is so careful about leaving bread crumbs and hints as to what's going on. I can not recommend this book enough and I really don't like YA.