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Sister Mischief

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  799 ratings  ·  91 reviews
A gay suburban hip-hopper freaks out her Christian high school -- and falls in love -- in this righteously funny and totally tender YA debut, for real.

Listen up: You’re about to get rocked by the fiercest, baddest all-girl hip-hop crew in the Twin Cities -- or at least in the wealthy, white, Bible-thumping suburb of Holyhill, Minnesota. Our heroine, Esme Rockett (aka MC Fe
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Candlewick Press
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Apr 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I’m really not a hip-hop fan and, despite the prospect of a quirky, funny and diverse LGBT love story, I was hesitant to read “Sister Mischief” because of worries over cultural appropriation and such. However, by the end of this book, I was ready to apologise to it for ever doubting how good it would be. This review may not be the most objective thing I’ve ever written. Sometimes a book comes along that you completely fall in love with, even though you know it’s not perfect and you know not ever ...more
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
I had very high hopes for this book. A Jewish, lesbian, teenaged MC and her all-female rap collective take on their school when their principal bans hip-hop. How could this possibly go wrong?


I try not to ascribe motivations to an author because really, who can ever say for sure what was going through an author's head when they were writing. But you have to go far, far out of your way to write a book about a four girl hip-hop group with zero black girls. Three of the girls are white, and one
Cross-posted with my

Sister Mischief is one of those books that only comes once in a while - a book about identity that, instead of making universal statements, focuses on individuality.

Have I mentioned that I love character-driven novels? Well, I do. And as far as characterization goes, this book doesn't fail to deliver - our protagonist, Esme, and her friends Rowie, Tessa and Marcy are a group of hip-hop loving, open-minded seventeen-year old girls, who strive to express themselves in a
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was really excited when I picked up this book. It sounded awesome. And there were a few moments of awesomeness in it. Overall, however, I was disappointed. Since this is my first negative reviews I'll try to go into a bit more detail than my "I loved it!" reviews.

The good:

The premise: Two members of an all-female hip-hop group from suburban Minnesota fall in love while fighting unjust authority at school? How awesome is that?

Minor characters getting their due: I really loved some of the supp
Yael Hanadari-Levy
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
this book is...... bad.
i was super excited for this at first. feminism + LGBTQ story + JEWISH LESBIAN MAIN CHARACTER??? that is exactly my aesthetic.
but...... the author was such a straight white goy. i mean, technically i dont know that she's not Jewish? or queer? but if you read this book it sure doesn't seem like it.

1. the entire book was written in some weird exaggerated white mutation of AAVE, because obviously that's how hiphop fans talk.
every other word is something like "wicked" or "bid
Jun 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: nobody
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: queer-ya
Another gay girls book that ends with a breakup. I think I could have enjoyed it, but the petty things that irritated me about it piled up enough that by the end I wasn't interested anymore.

Don't go into this book hoping for Jewish representation--the protagonist's Jewish mother abandoned her when she was small, the protagonist has pretty much only resentment toward her and knows nothing about Judaism, and the mother herself is portrayed referring to the Hebrew Bible as "the Old Testament" whil
C.E. G
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm surprised this got published, and I don't mean that in a this was utter crap way, I mean it in a this tells a story about such a goddamn specific niche way: a crew of mostly white high school girls in a Minneapolis suburb (EDINA!) fight to found a group called "Hip Hop for Heteros and Homos." Meanwhile, romance brews between Esme and definitely questioning/closeted Rowie.

I was skeptical going into this - white author, with a 50+% white cast, writing about hip hop in the suburbs. Setting is r
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Theirs are individual, highly original and strong voices. And they’re funny! Throw in a couple of surprising moment of sweet…and this is me, hours later, contemplating a re-read. First of, I don’t get hip hop, but their early discussions on its origins, white/black/blue/red etc and ‘white guilt’ were hilarious and made perfect sense to me. They put into words the questions I had. All I will say is that SISTER MISCHIEF is clever in tackling the subject. Then throw in some politics, religion, a jo ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
i just read an excerpt from this on amazon and started cracking up at the reference desk. can't wait until the order gets in!

update: really liked this. but what's not to like about four badass teenage girls protesting their high school's anti hip-hop policy by starting a combination GSA and hip-hop discussion group? tess, marcy, rowie & our main character the fearless esme also perform as "sister mischief" at various open-mic nights. esme has only recently come out to her friends and father,
Mar 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Originally Posted at:

**This Review is based on an ARC (Advanced Readers Copy). The final text and/or cover may be different.**

"We ride to get high, Minnesota-do-or-die
We talk shit and kick it, out bidness is the shiznet
Sot holler out out name, we're the illest Sister Mischief"

This book was fun and completely filled with raps and rhymes and that type of stuff. I don't usually listen to or consider myself a fan of rap, but this book totally rocked! Laura Go
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this book, and I wish it -- or books like it -- had been around when I was in high school. The characters are wonderfully complex, not to mention flawed, and the situations they find themselves in are realistic enough to be believable but unlikely enough to keep me reading. Esme in particular is relatable, and oy, I know I have a tendency to rail against unnecessary sequels, but I hope Laura Goode keeps writing.

Well, maybe not a sequel. But more awesome lgbtq books, yeah?

The one thing th
Christine Kenney
How former classmates portray MN hometown in YA lit, the fascination continues. I probably only groked about 25% of this due to my lack of familiarity to the hip hop cannon. Seemed oddly reminiscent of Clerks-- quirky characters, witty dialog, claustrophobic plot tied to just a few locations and relationships... but maybe that is a fair summary of suburban life.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: legbet, ya
Ok, so this book has problems. It’s biphobic. It’s pretty indefensibly racist. It was clearly written by a goyische woman who didn’t want to research Judaism at all. It’s not even that stunningly written — the prose is fairly pedestrian.

But it also made me gay, so yeah, there’s that.
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
The Little Bookworm
Plot: I could see this as movie. It would be a great Disney type movie except for the cursing and lesbians. And, while you might be able to lose the cursing, the lesbian part is a big part of why this book works in a different way from the standard YA love story. Music is hard to read on paper and rarely comes through so while I could picture the girls rapping and singing I couldn't really "hear" it. But the message comes across pretty well despite the discrepancies of medium.
May 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Received from Netgalley.

Summary: Listen up: You’re about to get rocked by the fiercest, baddest all-girl hip-hop crew in the Twin Cities - or at least in the wealthy, white, Bible-thumping suburb of Holyhill, Minnesota. Our heroine, Esme Rockett (aka MC Ferocious) is a Jewish lesbian lyricist. In her crew, Esme’s got her BFFs Marcy (aka DJ SheStorm, the butchest straight girl in town) and Tess (aka The ConTessa, the pretty, popular powerhouse of a vocalist). But Esme’s feelings for her co-MC, Ro
The Lonely book club
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
Full review: The lonely book-club

The book is very light and easy to read, you get the hang of the story quite easily. It’s composed well and it’s not confusing. The small notes that are put in here and there “by” the protagonist is a bit annoying from time to time, but one gets used to them and they definitely adds to the “young” atmosphere the book tries to hold.

The characters differ from each other and it’s easy to see which character are which without having to look back in the story to get t
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I liked this a lot more than I expected to when I started it, when I wasn't sure if the conversations about the ethics of white suburban girls doing hip-hop or being a Christian who isn't an asshole were being slotted in just to get them out of the way. But they definitely weren't. This is an Issue Book, but it's about a hell of a lot of issues - queerness, faith, family, friends, the First Amendment, hip-hop, immigration, and that isn't even half of the issues the book touched on. Maybe it's a ...more
Sister Mischief is the story of four fierce.friends, Esme, Marcy, Rowie and Tessie. Although they live in the conservative Minneapolis suburb Holyhills they are about that life. The girls embrace the hip hop music and culture and fight for their rights when the school administration seeks to put a ban on all things hip hop. This book was amazing I loved how the main characters had each others back and stood up for their beliefs. Looking forward to reading more books by this author.
Jan 17, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, woman-author
A group of white suburban midwestern girls take on sexuality through hip hop. There's the right amount of teenage angst and drama and good guys and bad guys, but sometimes a little too philosophizing.
My kneejerk reaction: I really didn't want to read this because they used the word "bidness" and the word "illest" in the same sentence on the back of my ARC.

Actual reaction: I love this book no shit. Even though it made me feel old.

Review later.
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
My book club buddy wrote this! Can't wait. Rock on, Laura.
Laura Martinelli
Jul 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
After reading several very positive early reviews, I’ve been waiting to get my grubby little paws of this book. Well worth it!

This is very much a character-driven book, and as a result, I loved Esme. She feels like a natural narrator, and I really felt her anger and frustration about her life through her words. Esme doesn’t have the right answers, she screws up with her friends, and at the end, she still feels like someone trying to find her way. I could really tell how much hip-hop spoke to Esm
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
"Sister Mischief" by Laura Goode is a tough one, literally and figuratively. I came to the book willingly - a Minnesota setting, a book for our LGBTQ kids, an author with Minnesota connections - it's got to be good. Right? Unfortunately, it turns out that I had a hard time getting through this one.

Protagonist Esme Rockett is not very likable from page one - she is tough. She is in your face with her language, her opinions, her anger, her choices. Sometimes she is as judgmental as those she decri
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I... still don't know what to think of this book. I have it two because it was earnest and well-written and appeared genuine. But I don't know what to think frankly.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A humorous tale of sisterhood and the thrill and heartbreak of first love.
Apr 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011, fiction, music, ya, favorites
Esme Rockett is a Jewish lesbian white-girl living in the suburbs of Minneapolis. She’s obsessed with hip-hop, and she’s formed an all-girl hip-hop group with her best friends Marcy, Tess, and Rowie (who she’s also crushing on hardcore). When their Christian-dominated high school tries to ban hip-hop and the culture associated with it from school grounds, the girls decide to take matters into their own hands and form a gay-straight-hip-hop alliance. This move is met with resistance and struggle, ...more
Ian Wood
I rated this one as worthy on my blog, where you can find a very detailed review. I recommend this for older teens and young adults.

I don't do stars because the system of rating a book as partly worth reading is alien to me. It's either worth your time or it isn't and I'm not going to waste your time tellingn you it's worth three fifths of your time but you'll be throwing away the other two fifths?!

I'm having some sort of existential crisis or something but I definitely do not recommend going di
I won this through the GoodReads First Reads program. It arrived on 20 July 2011.

First apology: This took me longer to read than I intended. I had a family member in palliative care, so my July was very chaotic. Rest assured, I wanted to read this book faster, but circumstances just didn't allow it.

Second apology: I admittedly don't know much about hip-hop. I know of some of the major artists, a few of the cultural issues, but that's it. So I'm sorry that I can't comment more on that part of the
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9th Grade SSR: Sister mischief book review 1 4 Apr 19, 2013 09:30AM  
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Laura Goode was raised in Minneapolis and received her BA and MFA in English and writing from Columbia University. She has written and directed two full-length plays, and her poetry has appeared in the Denver Quarterly, Cannibal, and Narwhal. She lives in San Francisco.
“This one is for our crew, but it’s also for all the weird girls and word nerds, for all the in-the-middle wickeds and queers and misfits and hell-raisers.” 24 likes
“Use all the ugliness you’re feeling to make something beautiful” 22 likes
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