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Two Sisters

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  2,508 ratings  ·  288 reviews
A powerful and poignant debut novel about two sisters learning how to live with the emotional damage caused by years of keeping family secrets

The third child in a family that wanted only two, Muriel Sullivant has always been the outsider. Single, twenty-three, she’s living in a New York City rent-stabilized walk-up, a bird’s nest of an apartment outfitted as much by serend
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 4th 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks
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3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,508 ratings  ·  288 reviews

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Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great example of how examining your relationship with someone else often reveals the most about yourself.
Jun 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
Wow...this book was awful on so many levels that I don't know where to begin. I was immediately turned off by the misspelled names Lidia and Madalyn. Neither would have existed at the time. The book is supposed to bounce back and forth from the early 80s to now...however, the setting and characteristics of the parents were totally wrong for the 80s...they would have fit well in the 40s or 50s. Also, no one in that age group would have named a child Muriel.
Muriel is a whiny, fat pathetic loser w
Mar 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-copy, fiction
From the synopsis, I assumed that the story would focus on the relationship between Muriel and Pia, the two sisters. Well, there are two sisters in the story, but I'm still puzzled over what the focus of this book was supposed to be as it wasn't about their relationship. It was a bit all over the place, as though the author couldn't make up her mind about what type of story she wanted to tell.

We start off with two narrators alternating chapters, but that soon peters out. Every now and again a di
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The story of the two sisters is like a grapefruit; fragrant, special and often bitter but good for your guts and spa inclined mind. It's a beautiful and bittersweet, suck you in type of a book that made me feel as if my fingers were glued to the pages, I read most of it in bed on a Sunday shedding a tear or two towards the end, weeks later as I'm writing this review as my first one got deleted by a clumsy accident, it still haunts me. This book is based on something real that the author has expe ...more
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Muriel has been keeping secrets her whole life - things she knows about her mother, things she knows about her sister... And the truth is that although neither of them have been especially affectionate with her, she's never, ever revealed what she knows to anyone. When her sister arrives one afternoon for a surprise visit, however, Muriel is faced with the biggest secret of all. One that will have devastating results. Finally Muriel will have to face the truth about her family and the things the ...more
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Does the tale of the unwanted third child, Muriel Sullivant, begin on a cozy Sunday in her New York studio apartment, as she prepares to luxuriate in her favorite day of the week? She is grown by then, and enjoying the independence of the life she has chosen.

Or does it begin many years before, when her two parents, Owen and Lidia, met in Pawtucket, Rhode Island? That beginning would set the stage for a family of secrets and lies.

Muriel had always known that she was the unwanted child. Pia, her g
May 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
Library Request, it seems I'm going against the grain with my opinion of Two Sisters. It truly was a disconnect for me, what was with all the holly than thou sentiment, and the whole ethnic from old country mentality when the book was clearly set in the 80's. It was not executed at all. The total abuse that was felt by the maim protagonist was revolting it was inflicted by her mother, her sister and by the shear disassociation from her father and brother.

Sorry this book was frenetic and had no r
This book really took some time for me to get into. The Mother and the sister were such horrible people and the father and brother to me were not much better. They may have not been verbally abusive to Muriel, but to act if she isn't there is just as horrible. I couldn't imagine being treated the way Muriel was treated and being able to come out on the other end with such a decent personality. Yes she was an introvert and had some germaphobic issues but for the most part she was always still sea ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Two Tales" revolves around the third and youngest child in the Sullivant family, Muriel. Muriel often felt unloved and overlooked by her mother and father due to their affections being focused on Muriel's older sister Pia and brother Logan. Muriel's mother and father Lidia and Owen seem at times to not even want Muriel around and she spends her life trying to get her parents and older sister to love her.

The author Mary Hogan, flashes back to the past focusing on Lidia and Owen's initial relatio
Andrea Stegman
Apr 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
A quick and predictable read - well, except for one big WTF moment about 3/4 of the way in, but otherwise it was a little too easy to see every single thing coming down the pike. And oddly, although the story is set in current day New York, two of the characters, who are about my age, come off as from another era - the 40's or 50's. Their dialogue is completely dated and utterly incorrect for two people who were in their 20's in the 1980's. I found that bizarre and distracting.
Jan 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Two Sisters is a novel of secrets and lies, a broken family, a family lacking love, a story of loss and letting go. The dis functional family's story is told through the youngest child, Muriel. My heart went out to Muriel throughout the entire book. After a slow beginning, for me, I was engaged in this story until the last page.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

I don't have a sister. (Well, I really don't know - I could have one. I could have several. As an adoptee, I know anything is possible.) I've always wanted a sister, although when I tell this to friends who have sisters, they shake their heads vehemently and say, "No, you do NOT."

Grass, meet Always Greener.

When I read books like Two Sisters, I admit that I question the wisdom of wishing I had a sister. Muriel certainly seems like she would have been better off if she hadn't had one.

Jeannie Walker
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was inspired to read the novel because of the title, “Two Sisters”.
I was somewhat like Muriel in that I was a middle child. I have had a lot of life experiences. I was a tomboy for my dad, because there were no sons for Dad - just girls.
I also came from a dysfunctional family that didn’t have the ability to fulfill purposes accepted as beneficial or normal.
I also liked Pia who announced that Jesus Christ was her personal savior and said the Bible taught her everything she needed to know.
My mo
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Original review can be found at

* I received an advanced readers copy of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.*

Two Sisters is the story of more than just two sisters. It is the story of Muriel's struggle to accept and understand why she was always an outsider and disappointment to her entire family. It weaves back and forth between her present and past and paints the picture of her less than perfect life.
Tamara Clark
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is unlike my usual reads. It is beautifully written and emotional. It explores the relationships between parents and siblings, the lies and hurt we do onto others weather intentional or unintentional.

I loved Muriel, the main character. She is the under dog whose treated like shit but is still optimistic in life. When she was old enough she moved way from her family, kept in touch when needed, but for the most part was on her own and happy. I could relate to that personally because it w
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I am the middle child in a family of three girls, so it is no shock that I am drawn to sister stories – sisters who love each other, sisters who hate each other, sisters who hurt each other, sisters who give up everything to protect each other – as long as there are sisters, you can bet I will give the novel a try. Enter stage left, Mary Hogan’s novel, ‘Two Sisters’.

The two sisters of this story’s title are older sister, Pia, and younger sister, Muriel. Muriel and Pia have a bitter and rivalrous
Told mainly through the voice of Muriel, the youngest of three siblings. Her sister Pia is beautiful, confident and the favored child of her mother, Lidia. So like their father, her brother Logan spends most of his time with their father, Owen. Muriel feels she's an afterthought, her birth most likely the result of an "unplanned" pregnancy. Muriel is envious of her siblings, and describes herself as the fifth in a family of four. Her mother and Pia are too often cruel, judging her for being awkw ...more
PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps
Black sheep of the family Muriel grew up in the shadow of her older siblings, Pia, her mother's favorite and Logan, her father's. Then Pia shows up with devastating news, she's dying. Muriel has always been the keeper of secrets in this dysfunctional family. Can Muriel find healing from the hurt from her childhood with her very imperfect family?
I found the plot to be rather predictable and the secrets not particularly startling or unique. I thought the characters were written heavily influence t
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Two Sisters is a story about a dysfunctional family and the affects it had on the children. It is told by the main character, Muriel. Muriel, the third born child in her family. She was overlooked and treated poorly by her parents.
The story starts with Muriel in the present day and flashes back to her troubled childhood and the flawed relationship she had with her family. Secrets are kept throughout Muriel's childhood and revealed as the story unfolds.
For the most part this was a very sad story
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I whipped through this in a little more than a day. It was good enough that I overlooked such ridiculous errors as one of the characters pointing out a woman's Adam's apple (huh?) and several other editing errors. It's a good story, well written enough to keep the pages turning.
Alana Garnica
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really sad ..I haven't read a book where I felt bad for every character in a long time...if ever.
Staci Tyrrell
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Probably more 3.5. Some parts were pretty frustrating and hard to believe, but all families are different.
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a powerful book for me. It made me cry often, in both a happy and sad way. It made me think back to the feelings and thoughts of my mother's illness and the emotions that overwhelm when you finally understand that things are changing whether you are ready or not. The happy emotion comes from remembering the moments you'll cherish forever and this is what a novel like this can do - bring up all sorts of emotions and allow you to think about the good and the bad.

In this story, you follow
Reeka (BoundbyWords)
As seen on my blog:

Two Sisters was so much more than what it's title implies. It was about two sisters, plus their entire family, and a chest full of life-altering secrets. It was reminiscent of a day-time soap opera, only with a few steps shy of being overly-dramatic. There was so much more I wanted out of this narrative, but aside from that need, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough-the plot line was fast paced, and full of enough subtle secret hinting that I couldn't wait to reach the twi
CoffeeBook Chick
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you want a secret kept safe, Muriel is the one to tell it to. In her entire life, the only connection she had with her beautiful and worshipped mother, Lidia, and equally mesmerizing sister, Pia, are the things she's seen or gone through with them, or because of them. Never once, though, has Muriel broken her promises and told a soul. With her father emotionally absent and bonded to his only son, Logan, and Lidia and Pia always excluding others, Muriel continues to be the outcast in a family ...more
Carrie Ardoin
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was ok

Although this book drew me in, I am not sure I could say exactly why. It took quite a long time for things to get rolling. I didn't even find out the "shocking secret" until nearly halfway through the book, although I had an idea of what was coming. If I had known this book was going to be kind of like a Lifetime movie, I would have skipped it.

Muriel is the youngest daughter in a family with three children. Her older sister, Pia, has always been perfect and beautiful and just right for
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Review Excerpt:

"I found myself engrossed in this book rather quickly, wanting to learn the secrets of the family and anxiously turning the pages as they were revealed. The story moves along well, going back and forth between the current happenings, back to Muriel's childhood, and even farther back to the meeting and subsequent marriage of her parents. Two Sisters isn't always an easy read. With the exception of Muriel, the Sullivant family is hard to like and connect with. Lidia the mother is s
Ashley Farley
Mar 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Two Sisters is a novel about family dysfunction. Not drug addiction or physical abuse but the quiet type of dysfunction that destroys lives. On the surface, the Sullivants are an ordinary middle-class Catholic family. But Muriel’s mother, Lidia, is keeping the kind of secret that turns fathers into cold, heartless men and mothers into selfish, cruel monsters. When twelve-year-old Muriel stumbles upon the truth, Lidia will go to desperate measures to keep her secret hidden.

Muriel is the third ch
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014-reads
One family, two sisters, a lifetime of secrets . . .

The third child in a family that wanted only two, Muriel Sullivant has always been an outsider. Short, dark-haired and round, she worships her beautiful blonde sister, Pia, and envies the close bond she shares with their mother, Lidia. Growing up in their shadow, Muriel believes that if she keeps all their secrets—and she knows plenty, outsiders always do—they will love her, too.

But that was a long time ago. Now an adult, Muriel has accepted th
Suzanne Lilly
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you have siblings, if you've ever had a conflict in your family, or if you have ever tried hard to meet someone else's expectations, this story will hold something for you. Elegantly written, this novel had me spellbound from the first chapter. Muriel is the black sheep of what passes for a family. She does her best to cope through denial, then through trying to piece things together with her family members. The narration switches from present to past and back, giving the reader a full experi ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 27, 2015 09:55AM  
Is this book worth reading? 2 20 Oct 23, 2014 08:29AM  
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Though an Okie by birth, I grew up in Southern California in the era of baby oil tans. Except mine. My youth was filled with sunburns and other red-faced events. Now, I live in the blessed shade of skyscrapers. New York City. Where I was meant to be all along.

At the risk of sounding bigheaded, I love GOOD books. I like to read writers who inspire me to read their sentences over and over just for
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“We rarely get the families we deserve, baby girl. That’s what chocolate is for.” 3 likes
“rarely get the families we deserve, baby girl. That’s what chocolate is for.” 1 likes
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