Megan's Reviews > The September Sisters

The September Sisters by Jillian Cantor
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Oct 02, 11

Recommended to Megan by: Pollard Middle School Summer Reading List
Read in October, 2011, read count: 1

This book was on the middle-school summer reading list. One of my kids had checked it out of the library; it was sitting in the car when I was waiting and I had nothing to read. It's kind of a horror story (not purposefully) for teenagers. I think I would change the title of the book to, "How many ways can a teenager's life unravel?" Let me list a few of them:

1) Abigail's younger sister, Becky is kidnapped out of her bed in the middle of the night by a stranger and goes missing for over 2 years.
2) Abigail loses all of her friends--as a result of the suspicions around the disappearance.
3) Not only do her friends turn on her, but she is completely ostracized at school.
4) As the police start to investigate the neighbors, the neighbors all turn against Abigail and her family, thinking that it's Abigail's family's fault that they are now suspects.
5) Abigail's mother has a complete breakdown, falls into a deep depression, and vascillates between pretending like Becky's coming home soon and long painful episodes of complete bed-ridden depression.
6) Abigail's father pays their across the street neighbor (an older hispanic lady) to take Abby on her first "bra shopping" excursion. It's a nightmare of embarrassment.
7) Abby's dad becomes a suspect.
8) Abby's mom becomes a major suspect; especially with all of the mental illness she is manifesting now.
9) Abby's mom tries to commit suicide.
10) Abby catches her mom having an affair.
11) Abby's mom suddenly disappears without a note or a goodbye.
12) Abby's only friend, and her boyfriend is caught making out with her and subsequently he is sent to Florida.
13) Abby's mom resurfaces to let her know that she is moving out for good and that she will eventually be living with the guy she was sneaking around to see.


The thing that bothered me most of all about this book was all of the many flashback sections about Abby and Becky. They were the meanest, cruelest, most contentious sisters I've ever read about. Their relationship made me want to stop reading the book; I just hated reading so much bitter contention. The only reason I kept reading was to find out what happened at the end. Did they ever find Becky? I won't give that away, but yes, you will find out that one at the end.

The book jacket reads, "This exquisitely written first novel illustrates life as it truly is--filled with fear and danger, hope and love, comfort and uncertainty."

Do you know ANYONE whose life is truly like this? Let's just start with the kidnapping by a stranger from a bed in a safe house in the middle of the night with no one else hearing anything. You are more likely to get bitten by a shark and struck twice by lightning than you are to be kidnapped in those conditions. I think that this is a bit of fear mongering on the part of the author as if this could happen to all teenage girls. Elizabeth Smart is a HUGE exception to all of the statistical information about kidnappings and disappearances.

There is a lot of coming of age story throughout this book. I wouldn't recommend it to most teenage girls unless they really like a lot of drama. I would be more concerned about young girls developing fears about these things happening to them, especially with the book jacket saying "illustrates life as it truly is."
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message 1: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Brilliant, as always. You are my favorite book critic.


Hannah i disagree.. i thought the book was beautiful.. it had emotion and the characters (despite their problems) were relate able. i dont think anyone would be scared of it actually happening to them.. in that case lets ban all shows like bones, ncis, svu, csi, etc. i think the relationship between the sisters described how many sisters are. they fight. a lot. but you find out how much they truly love one another.


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