Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)'s Reviews > Ten Rules for Living with My Sister

Ten Rules for Living with My Sister by Ann M. Martin
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's review
Aug 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: arc, julie-s-2012-read-many-books-challe, middle-readers, reviewed
Read from January 06 to 07, 2012 — I own a copy

This review first appeared on my blog:


Pearl Littlefield is nine years old and in 4th grade. Her best (and only) friend is Justine Lebarro, who's seven years old and in 1st grade (for the second time). Lexie is Pearl's older sister, thirteen years old and in 8th grade. Pearl wants be be as good at or better at something (anything) than Lexie. Pearl's mom is a writer of children's books who works from home and her father is a university professor of economics.

Add in a grouchy neighbor (Mrs. Mott), who hates dogs and kids, and Pearl has about all she can do to remember NOT to do "underwear visits" to Lexie's room (otherwise, a "No Pearl" sign goes up on Lexie's door), and find a way to keep out of Mrs. Mott's way.

Pearl loves lists, like this one:

Five Reasons Lexie Thinks She's So Great

She almost gets straight A's.
She has a boyfriend and his name is Dallas, which is not a plain name like Bob or Jim.
She has a best friend who is her own age, plus more friends, including the two Emmas.
She is allowed to go places without a grown-up. Of course, she has to stay in our neighborhood, but she can still to to the movies and to stores and over to her friends' apartments, where they put on nail polish.
She has her own cell phone and her own computer and her own KEY TO THE APARTMENT.

When Pearl's Daddy Bo (her grandfather) has a fall and breaks his shoulder, her parents decide that Daddy Bo has to live with them until an opening comes in a good assisted living facility. For Pearl and Lexie, this means that they will have to move in together, which makes Pearl happy and Lexie .. well, not so much :) Pearl makes up a new list, "Ten Rules for Living with my Sister", which she hopes will make it easier for them to get along. One of the rules (#3) reads: Try not to tease Lexie, sometimes this is hard because she says stupid things.

This is such a fun book; even though the protagonist is a girl, it would be a great book for a boy middle reader as well. Pearl is such a cool kid. From her unique perspective, she chronicles her Daddy Bo's slow descent into what seems to this adult reader to be Alzheimer's Disease, even ending up clear across town at Daddy Bo's old house which has been sold. Her relationship with her sister Lexie teeters between adulation and pestering (typical for siblings with this age difference - I have 3 girls 5 years apart myself). She is artistic, creative, and full of mischief, even while she tries her best to do the right thing.

This adult reader smiled and even laughed as she read, and I guarantee that this one will be a hit with anyone who loves a vivacious, witty, and, at times, bratty, protagonist.

QUOTES (from an ARC; may be different in final copy):
I stood in the hall and called, "Lexie! Oh, Lexie! How long is the silent treatment going to last?" I counted to five. "Lexie! Oh, Lexie! I said, how long is the silent treatment going to last?" I waited five more seconds. "Lexie! Oh, Lexie! How long is-"
Lexie flung her door open so fast the the NO PEARL sign almost blew off. "I DON'T KNOW! UNTIL I'M NOT MAD ANYMORE, OKAY?" she yelled.

....I really, really, really, really, really, really, really wanted to move into hers. I hardly ever even got to see inside her room. The door was usually closed and those signs were usually hanging. Here was my chance to live in her room. To observe my big sister up close, as if Lexie were an animal in the woods and I were a nature specialist with a fancy camera.

"Pearl Littlefield, whose shoes are those?" asked Mrs. Mott with her squinty eyes fastened on the sneakers. I don't know why Mrs. Mott always calls kids by both of their names.
"They're my grandfather's, Sheila Mott," I replied.
Mrs. Mott shrugged up her shoulders. I was sure she had more questions for me, but my rudeness had quieted her. As the elevator doors were opening, though, she said, "Just remember who you're talking to." (I could see that her lips were ready to add "Pearl Littlefield" to the end of her sentence, but she thought better of it.)

Writing: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Characters: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Immersion: 4 out 5 stars

BOOK RATING: 4.25 out of 5 stars

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