My Review: Leia (yes, named after that Leia from Star Wars) is enjoying her perfectly acceptable life as a comic book artist…until suddenly everything changes. She discovers she’s pregnant after a one night stand with Batman (or at least a charming guy dressed as Batman). Her Southern grandmother’s health is failing. Her sister is on the verge of divorce.
So, she finds herself traveling to Alabama with a still-secret life growing inside her. Unfortunately, her grandmother is worse than expected, her sister and niece come to stay, and to top it all off they discover a skeleton in the attic. A skeleton with a suspiciously cracked skull.
If it sounds like there’s a lot going on in this novel, well there’s no denying that. However, Joshilyn Jackson blends these story lines together into one terrific family drama without it feeling disjointed or overwhelming. She also beautifully addresses weighty issues such as racism and caring for aging loved ones without weighing down the entertaining narrative. All of these subjects are equally intriguing. Although, I’ll admit to a special preference for the nerd culture that Leia adores and becomes the basis of her connection to her baby’s father.
I was pleasantly surprised by the nerdy references and graphic novel plot line. It added a unique dimension to this story that made my geeky self quite happy. Leia’s descriptions of her Violence and Violet comic and how their story came together are fascinating. I loved reading about her struggle to come up with an origin story for Violence. Obviously, Leia’s Batman is a complete delight as well.
Truthfully, all of the characters in The Almost Sisters are well-written and believable. I can easily picture the nosy neighbors in town and the immediate members of Leia’s family. Nothing they say or do feels unnatural, which kept me engrossed in the story. As a result, I flew this book like it was a summer beach read. Joli read this one last summer and recommends it as well! You can find her review here.
• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 29, 2018)
With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality–the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.
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About Joshilyn Jackson
Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including gods in Alabama and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. A former actor, Jackson is also an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.
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