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When My Sister Started Kissing
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When My Sister Started Kissing

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  305 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Claire and Abi have always loved their summers at the lake house, but this year, everything's different. Dad and Pam, their stepmom, are expecting a new baby, and they've cleared out all of Mom's belongings to make room. And last summer, Abi was looking at boys, but this summer, boys are looking back at her. While Abi sneaks around, Claire is left behind to make excuses an ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  305 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Suze Lavender
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Claire always loved spending summers at her family's lake house. She felt close to her late mother there, but this year is different. Her father and new stepmother Pam have cleared out all of her mother's belongings. They are expecting a baby and for them a new and exciting period has started. Claire hopes to find support with her sister Abi, but Abi has other things on her mind. She has just discovered that boys are liking her back and she regularly sneaks out to be with someone she finds more ...more
A thoughtful verse novel about two sisters, Claire and Abigail, and their annual summer vacation at the family cabin at Heartstone Lake. The story is told from Claire, Abigail, and the lake's points of view with each perspective using a different poetic form. This is a carefully crafted coming of age narrative about mothers, sisters, and the cycles of life.
Ms. Yingling
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Claire and Abigail love coming to the lake. It is a large part of their family, especially since their mother died there in a lightning strike. This year, their father has remarried, and their stepmother Pam is pregnant. Claire is also distressed that her sister, who wants to go by Abi, is more interested in boys than in hanging out with her, and is alarmed that Abi is not following the rules, but sneaking out to meet the boys. Both girls struggle with thei
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
First sentence: The baby, Claire, in a sunsuit and yellow hat, sat on her father's shoulders, the great wide world spread out before them. Two egrets flew home to their nest as thunder rumbled, far off in the distance.

Premise/plot: If you read many verse novels, then chances are good you're familiar with Helen Frost. When My Sister Started Kissing is her newest verse novel; it has multiple narrators. Claire and her older sister, Abigail, have always spent the summer at the cabin with their dad.
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a quiet, unassumingly powerful piece. Told from the perspective of Claire, her sister Abi, and the lake they visit every summer, this verse novel sheds light on what it's like to grow up. The girls have been coming to the lake house every summer since they were little, but their mother died there when Abi was 3 and Claire not quite 1. Now, it is 10 years later and they are returning with their new step-mother who is due to have a baby any day. Claire no longer knows where she fits in th ...more
Always be sure to read Helen Frost's afterword "before you read her wonderful verse novels. She cleverly adds in extra messages in the text, and this story is no different. I enjoyed the story told by two sisters. Abigail (soon Abi) is the one who starts kissing, a slightly younger Claire is one who sees her sister changing, and the lake where the story occurs. It all happens in the month spent at a family cabin. There is some heartbreak, heavy and light, but it is truly a growing up story I im ...more
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I feel like I should like this author's work more than I do. I keep trying, and I admire what she sets out to do, but the overall effect is always flat for me. I feel like she has no sense of humor. I'm pretty sure it's just me though. I think others might well love this book!
Lillian Bittle
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
A pretty cute story (in poetry) of growing up.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
This was a sweet, gentle story about two sisters at their summer cabin, told exclusively through poetry and prose. I would imagine it could be a great teaching support for middle school English teachers everywhere.

I really enjoyed it. I feel like the author got everything right-- the slight neglect from sleep-deprived parents, the teenage angst, the awkwardness, the bond between family... it all felt very authentic.
Jenna Winter
I really loved reading this book, I think that in the classroom younger students will really engage and connect with it because of the young aged girls in the story. Having it be in poem formation for each chapter the reader is going to be experience what it is like to be Claire, a young girl who recently is seeing her older sister go through changes, and being forced into spending the summer with her new step mother that soon is expecting a baby. Having this book in the classroom would be a gre ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a book writen in verse and is realalistic fiction. This book is about an 10 year girl named Claire her 13 year old sister named Abigal her dad and their new step mom with a baby on the way. This story is in the point of veiw of both Charlie and Abigal showing both sides of whats happening. Charlie and her family are going up to their cabin for part of the summer. Things have started to change since Pam (the stepmom) entered their lives. One day Pam takes Abigal shopping and she comes bac ...more
Kelsey Buckley
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm a sucker for novels told in verse, and this one was no exception. I'm always amazed at the thought that goes into creating novels like this one. I am also happy that I've still got it in me and caught the William Blake connection right away. That always makes the English major in me happy.

I liked the different poetic forms and perspectives (the lake had an interesting perspective) and the setting. The first two pages reeled me in from the start. If it wasn't so darn depressing, it would be a
This novel in verse is told from 3 different perspectives: Abi, Claire, and the lake. Each voice is in a different poetical format (which I did not notice until I read the afterword).

Claire, Abigail (who now wants to be called Abi) and their dad have always spent a month at the cabin on the lake every summer. A terrible accident there involving their mom happened when Abi was little and Claire was just a baby, but they still go every year. Now dad has remarried and Pam is expecting a baby any da
Rummanah (Books in the Spotlight)
Reviewed for VOYA magazine.
Taylor Law
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
When My Sister Started Kissing (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2017) is a coming of age story involving two sisters—Claire (10) and Abigail (13).

Having lost their mother at a very young age, Claire and Abigail have always been close, and until now, they've always enjoyed their summers together at the family lake house. But this year things are different. Mom's belongings have been replaced by a new stepmom and a baby on the way. Also, Abigail is exploring her identity, her independence, and her bud
The Book Girl (Andrea)
Previously posted on The Young Girl Who Loved Books

UPDATE: After thinking about this book so much, I have new details to input. The first review was written in July 2017, the updated version was finished in August 2017.

I was sold on this book when I realized that this book was told in verse. This one sort of felt boring at times for me. I also realize that this is more a middle-grade novel, so I am not really the desired audience for this one. This book is told in three different perspectives, w
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended for fans of books written in Prose. Written for fans of realistic drama.

Chloe loves coming to the cabin every summer with her older sister, Abigail, and her father. But this year, everything will be different. This time, her new step-mother, Pam, will be coming along as well. If that wasn't bad enough, a new baby brother will be coming very soon and Abigail doesn't seem to be as concerned about all the changes to the family like Chloe. In fact, all Abigail seems to think about is boy
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novel written in verse is a wonderful summer read (or a winter read when you're dreaming of the warm, lazy days of summer).

Claire is just about to turn eleven. Every summer, she stays at the family cabin with her sister, Abigail, and her dad, but this year things are very different. For the first time, her dad's new wife, Pam, is coming with them, and Pam is expecting a baby any day. Claire isn't very happy to find her mother's things removed, and the cabin set up to Pam's liking. And she's
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Frost, Helen When My Sister Started Kissing, 187 pages. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017. $17. Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG.

Claire and Abigail always look forward to their vacations at their cabin. This year however, is a little different. Ten year old Claire and thirteen year old Abigail are going to their cabin with their dad and their new pregnant mom, Pam. The family is having a good time so far, but Claire is not comfortable with Pam yet. Claire also notices that
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. And it is not about a bunch of kissing. Even though the book is written from three different perspectives--Claire (the younger sister), Abi (the older sister-the one interested in kissing) and the lake, I still feel the main focus on the book is on Claire and how her life changed that summer her family went to the family cabin at the lake (and her sister got really interested in boys). I love that this is written in poetry. The author writes each perspective using a different ...more
Sandy Brehl
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full admission... I’m a huge fan of Helen Frost’s books, always intrigued by her finesse with both story and poetic forms.
This is no exception.
The tender transition from girl to adolescent is a tricky one to write about in any form. This shift in hormones and hungers is viewed through the eyes of Clair, the younger sister, and Abi, the older one. Even the LAKE has a voice, one which uses acrostics to layer poetic quotations onto the deep currents of the all-seeing waters.
The variety and suita
Melissa Giraldo
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a story about two sisters, Abigail and Claire, at their summer cabin, told exclusively through poetry. This verse novel sheds light on what it's like to grow up. The girls have been coming to the lake house every summer since they were little, but their mother died there when Abi was 3 and Claire not quite 1. Now, it is 10 years later and they are returning with their new step-mother who is due to have a baby any day. Claire no longer knows where she fits in the family, Abi is suddenly i ...more
Molly Dettmann
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it
A novel in verse about two sisters at their summer home. One is growing up and torn between two requited crushes, while the younger sister is dealing with drifting apart from her sister, plus a new stepmom and baby brother. Claire and Abi lost their mother at a young age and it sets the tone for the beginning of the book, but then it changes to being all about that confusing time for siblings when one grows up a little fast than the other. I enjoyed the different kinds of poetry and voices used ...more
Mary Clare
Living up to its utterly delightful title, this is a gentle coming-of-age story that captures the bewildering divide between late childhood and early adolescence. The book opens with a shocking scene in which the young mother of a toddler and infant is struck by lightning while on the beach of the family’s cabin. Ten years later, Abigail and Claire are back at the cabin with their father like every summer, yet everything has changed. Dad has remarried and stepmother Pam is expecting a baby boy. ...more
Christine Hwang
I enjoyed this book! The story alternates between the viewpoints of Claire, her older sister Abigail, and the lake. Claire is battling with her emotions about her new step-family and her distancing relationship with her older sister. Abigail is discovering her interest in boys and in relationships. The lake reminiscences about the sister's past visits and gives a third party account of the sisters' actions. Helen Frost masterfully tells the story in different poetry forms to paint a picture of t ...more
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written short novel in verse that alternates perspectives among 3 characters: 11-year-old Claire, 13-year-old Abi, and the lake where the girls' father has a cabin. The novel mostly focuses on Claire dealing with her feelings about her older sister growing up and her father's new wife. I couldn't help but wonder if my own little sister felt the same way as she watched me navigate my first crush. Claire and Abi's voices are real and relatable. My middle grade readers will recognize th ...more
Melissa Mcavoy
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, 5th, 6th, fiction, realistic, verse
Simple but appealing verse novel about a summer at a lake. Claire's family- mom, older sister Abigail, and dad have been coming to the lake forever. It was always her mother's favorite place. And even after her mother's tragic death at the lake it is the place that embodies family and tradition for Claire, which is why it's so hard to go there with her new step mom Pam and new little brother. But there are lots of changes the summer Claire turns 11 and sharing the lake with her new family is onl ...more
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
"When My Sister Started Kissing" is a wonderful book, written in different poetry forms. Helen Frost writes the narrative from the Claire's, Abigail's, and the lake's perspective, using a different style of poetry for each point of view. The flow and the tone of the story really captures the feeling of kayaking on a lake, taking the reader through the characters' experience of family, romance, emotions, and change.
Recommended for grades 4-7. Lexile level 690.

Reviewed by Christine Hwang, Youth an
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written summer story of two sisters grappling with growing up. Claire, on the cusp of 11, and Abi, 13, are the perfect characters to show how quick and messy that growing up process can be. While this is middle grade I think it is a perfect upper middle grade/bridge book to YA. There is soft love and difficult family situations while still being poetic and lovely and grounded. For a novel in verse, this book packs so much between the pages. Even though I think this could ha ...more
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I'm dipping my toes into goodreads to see how it works. Thanks for finding me here, and thanks to everyone who has read and written about my books. I love to know you're there, even if I don't come here too often to say so.

Helen Frost is the author of six novels-in-poems and two picture books for children and young adults. She lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.