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The Story Sisters

3.8  ·  Rating Details ·  11,201 Ratings  ·  1,621 Reviews
From the New York Times Bestselling
Author of The Third Angel

Alice Hoffman’s previous novel, The Third Angel, was hailed as "an unforgettable portrait of the depth of true love" (USA Today), "stunning" (Jodi Picoult), and "spellbinding" (Miami Herald). Her new novel, The Story Sisters, charts the lives of three sisters–Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet al
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Crown Publishing Group (NY) (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 25, 2010 Tara rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book, but from the beginning I was forcing myself to read it. I have liked other books by Hoffman, but this book just lacked her usual touch of magic that I have always enjoyed.
The magical element that was in the book was a story of a made up world that the Story Sisters created called Arnelle. At first, all of the sisters were likable, but as Elv delves into a world that is more bleak, the story became darker. It does portray a family in crisis and how one person c
Jun 16, 2009 Sara rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 22, 2009 Tressa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: general-fiction
I have officially just stayed up all night long to finish the remaining 3/4 of The Story Sisters, something I have done infrequently in my life. I have to get up and go to work in another two hours, but I won't be able to sleep, so what do I care?

Like another favorite female author of mine--Anne Tyler--Alice Hoffman knows how to spin a story about the mundane parts of our lives, but also the magical moments. Characters are introduced on a whim or chance meeting, and they may serve as an anchor i
Jun 21, 2009 Diane rated it it was amazing
Alice Hoffman is an author known for her novels filled with magical touches. Her latest, The Story Sisters, continues that, when a magical world created by three sisters collides with the reality of the world in which we all exist.

Elizabeth, called Elv, Meg and Claire Story live with their mother in a small town on Long Island. Their parents are in the middle of a bad divorce, and it has affected the girls deeply. When they were young children, Elv (whose nickname connotes the fairy-like elves)
Jun 22, 2009 Lynn rated it it was amazing
Alice Hoffman doesn't just write about magical reality, she performs it. I had no idea, really, what to expect when I picked this up (other than lovely prose and captivating characters, of course) since no one else I know has read it yet. What happened was like being grabbed by the throat and yanked into the Story sisters' world. Each Alice Hoffman book has me greedily reading as if starved for words and language, and when I am through, I usually feel wistful, but sated. With this book, the banq ...more
Jul 30, 2009 Alexia561 rated it did not like it
This book started out so promising, and I was utterly charmed by Hoffman's writing from the very first page. Sadly, this enchantment did not last very long. The main story revolves around the three Story sisters: Elv, Megan and Claire. Elv is the oldest, and the creator of a magical imaginary world that the three sisters share. Unfortunately, the magic doesn't last.

None of the characters were very appealing. Annie, the mother, seemed weak, clueless, and helpless. Elv was simply unpleasant. And t
Michele Harrod
Feb 13, 2011 Michele Harrod rated it it was amazing
There really needs to be a 6th star for Alice Hoffman. When I see that there is a new novel out, I get butterflies in my stomach in antipation of the joy that is about to be held in my hands. Before I turn the cover, I am like a child again on Xmas morning - just before the household wakes, and it is time for presents to be opened. I cancel life, and settle in for my journey. My breath shortens as I read, and my heart swells amidst the beauty of her words and the love that she paints - sometimes ...more
Aug 16, 2009 Vasilika rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 31, 2010 Alisa rated it really liked it
The best thing about this book is the way it got me thinking. I mean actually adjusted the waves of my brain. Deep, and dark and swimmy, moving around out of the light went my neural impulses. It was so strong on fairy tale, it took me back to reading the 'Green Fairy Book' eating braunschweiger (we didn't call it liverwurst) sandwiches at my grandfather's kitchen table in the log cabin. It took me back to that girl in cowboy boots and pigtails, and all the things I knew and believed were real. ...more
Dec 04, 2013 Judith rated it it was ok
In my humble opinion, Alice Hoffman has either degenerated or I have outgrown her. This book read like a Danielle Steels novel---all incredible extremes.

This girl is the most beautiful girl in the world; men commit suicide over her when she is a teen. Everyone adores her, yet she cares for no one except her little sister. She becomes more and more withdrawn, sitting in a tree outside her window; running off in the night barefooted to get involved in drugs and drinking and sex, because she suffe
Sep 29, 2010 Toni rated it really liked it
4.5 or a 5-THis is difficult book to review. Let's start that I was on vacation, I started the book at 8am after a walk and read until my husband was done working at noon, then read and finished it by 11 pm at night- it would not let go. After finishing it, while my husband slept,I could not stop thinking about the characters- Even though I would class this as a fable or allegory or fantastical even , the characters seemed real to me.Not just the 3 girls but even the mom and grandma and Pete, bu ...more
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
This was a rather strange book - it was dark, mysterious and also enchanting as well as being a very difficult book to describe! The way that it is written is detailed and beautiful - I really do think that the writing style should be commended. Especially in the sections situated in Paris, I soaked up the atmosphere and felt as though I was there. The subjects that are faced in this book are pretty 'sinister' (Abuse, mental issues, drugs) and the book does seem dark, but not at all horrifying - ...more
Meneesha Govender
Dec 05, 2010 Meneesha Govender rated it really liked it
This has to be one of |the most haunting, |heart-breaking books I've |read this year.

Elv, Meg and Claire live with their mother on Long Island. They're beautiful, mysterious, intriguing and envied by all their peers.

They also have their own form of communication - something that appears harmless and endearing at first, but turns out the |be the source of their eventual undoing.

It is this secret world that the sisters inhabit that has you questioning throughout the beginning of the novel whether
May 15, 2011 Catherine rated it liked it
I saw the following review and it was exactly how I'd describe the book myself. So I thought I'd share it here with my friends: My experience reading this book was somewhat surreal. In the beginning, it was a bit like a train wreck or a car accident - ghastly and grim, yet I couldn't look away. It was nothing like I expected, not at all what I wanted, and yet I found myself incapable of just returning it, unread, to the library. I continued on, reading the unfolding horrors and drama, told in th ...more
May 28, 2011 Marigold rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-2000s
I’m typically not a fan of Alice Hoffman nor of magical reality novels. But this one was different. It’s a story about 3 sisters, Elv, Meg & Claire who live with their mom. Something terrible happens to Elv & Claire that changes their lives forever, but knowing that their mom is sad about her divorce, they never tell her. In the absence of appropriate treatment for their trauma, the girls invent a secret world, with its own language, that they spend more & more time in. Over the year ...more
Oct 19, 2011 Maria rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I ran into Alice Hoffman by accident. This is kinda my thing... lately I've been running into many, until then unknown to me, authors that quickly become part of my favourites list... in a blink of an eye, I would say, or perhaps at the turn of a page, if you prefer.

There's one word that perfectly describes Alice Hoffman's books (even though I haven't read all of them... yet): enchanting. Her words lure you to a private little world... and you fall in love with it, not being able to put it down,
Apr 20, 2012 JJ rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2012 Laurie rated it really liked it
“The Story Sisters” is a grim tale. This family of three very close sisters, their divorced mother, and their maternal grandmother, can’t catch a break. One bad thing happens after another; child rape, illness, accidents, deaths, self harm, alcoholism, drugs, self isolation and an almost total lack of communication shatters the family.

And yet there are traces of magic, both good and bad. Demons attach themselves to young girls. Cakes make one tell only the truth. Some of the characters find hap
Sep 07, 2016 Brenda rated it it was ok
Shelves: chick-lit, library
Full of plot stereotypes
Nothing original at all
Relegated to chick lit status
This "Story" is about the lives of three young girls, Elv 15, Meg 14, and Claire 12, and the challenges, evil, sorrow and, yes, even happiness at times that they encounter throughout their lives with their loving mother Annie and grandmother Natalia (Ama). Despite all of the trauma and losses, grandmother Ama is always there and never gives up on the sisters even from far away Paris. All of the characters (and animals) were so well described and developed. Pete and Annie's relationship was parti ...more
Dec 17, 2012 Felicia rated it did not like it
I just can't keep reading this book. Thank you to those of you who have given me the courage to quit! It has been sitting next to my bed for weeks. Awhile ago I kept skimming ahead to see what happens but I am not compelled to read it. It's just not for me.
Feb 20, 2013 Nancy rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 23, 2013 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't sure what to expect when picking up this book and found it both enchanting and mysterious at the same time.

Alice Hoffman's writing style in this book should be highly commended. She takes you into this world of both light and dark at the same time.

What would you do for the ones you love ?

Elv the eldest Story sister creates a world of fantasy in Arnelle which she shares with her two other sisters Meg and Claire. She creates this world as a way to escape the tradegy of shoving her sister
B the BookAddict
Mar 06, 2016 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction

When I first read this back in 2009, I gave this 4 but this time round, with it's second reading it only gets a 3: maybe I've just grown up a little in my reading. Even so, Hoffman does write delicious prose and will continue to be my 'guilty pleasure' author.
Joe Valdez
Aug 12, 2014 Joe Valdez rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
This was my introduction to Alice Hoffman, an author selected by the Oprah Book Club (her bio on the dust jacket says so). It wasn't the Hoffman title I wanted to start with -- The Dovekeepers intrigued me more -- but it was one my library had in stock.

I lasted 10 pages.

The Story Sisters has to do with three beautiful sisters (Hoffman mentions how beautiful they are repeatedly) aged 15, 14 and 12. Their favorite things are Paris, the Plaza Hotel and listening to the oldest sister spin tales of m
Apr 12, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it
Hoffman has bestowed the name Story on this family to illustrate that this is a many-storied novel about storytellers, replete with enchantment and sorrow, atonement and faithfulness. The young Story sisters, three dark-haired beauties, live a charmed and loving existence, spinning fairy tales and sharing a private language. This all-female household, (compared as a sly variation on Little Women), is under a grim spell, and not even loving visits with their fairy-godmother-like grandmother in P ...more
Mar 04, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-on-kindle
Gotta love Alice Hoffman - this is a writer who had me at "the Dovekeepers" and hasn't let me go. I really liked this story of three sisters growing up - their relationships with each other as well as their Mother and Grandmother.

Their father leaves at one point and he is pretty much non-existent in their lives for most of the book. The eldest sister has had a very traumatic experience when she was 11 and only the youngest sister knows about it. This secret almost destroys both of their lives an
Nov 03, 2015 Lynne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am somewhat at a loss for words to describe the beauty of this story! I didn't want it to end. I didn't want to talk to my son who is away at college so I could listen to this story. I just want to listen-read this a million times over. It's sad and beautiful and awful and delicious! There is divorce, drug addiction, recovery, gardens, cancer, death, Paris, art, inner growth and a wedding. There is so much more emotion than I can describe. It's my new favorite book. Thank you Alice Hoffman for ...more
This satisfied my craving to experience Hoffman’s special voice in a pure form and her brand of magical realism in a context that really works, that of the experience of children.

In every fairy tale there were always three sisters: the eldest was brave, the middle one was trustworthy, and the youngest had the biggest heart of all.

Elv is the oldest, Meg in the middle, and Claire the youngest, living on Long Island with divorced mother Annie. She spends a lot of time at night in moon light atop t
How is it possible that after having read Illumination Night back in 1987 and loving it, I have not read another Alice Hoffman until now? This is the story of three sisters and how one terrible day changed everything. Mostly the story focused on the oldest girl Elv and I didn't particularly like her. She's the typical angsty teen who self-destructs, in spite of her loving, supportive family. You know; the cutting, the drugs, the boys. Just kill yourself already. Where Elv redeemed herself for me ...more
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Sisterhood of the...: May 2014: The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman 2 16 May 06, 2014 06:37PM  
Magic Realism: Alice Hoffman 9 52 Nov 21, 2012 09:55AM  
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Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York ...more
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“When I walk, I walk with you. Where I go, you're with me always.” 309 likes
“Sometimes words drew blood, they cut your tongue, they made you know things you couldn't unknow. ” 84 likes
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