Review: My Sister Rosa (Spoiler Free)


 26465507.jpg★ ★ ★ ★ 

Title: My Sister Rosa

Author: Justine Larbalestier

Publisher: Allen & Unwin (AU), Soho Teen (US)

Date: 26th January 2016

Pages: 416

Format: Paperback

Source: I was sent this book by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.


US cover

 Synopsis from GoodReads:

What if the most terrifying person you’d ever met was your ten-year old sister? A spine-chilling psychological thriller from one of Australia’s finest YA authors.

‘I promise,’ said Rosa. ‘I won’t kill and I won’t make anyone else kill.’

I can’t see the loophole. Since the guinea pig there’s been nothing. Months now without Rosa killing as much as a mosquito.

As far as I know.

Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control.

Che’s little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che’s convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but he’s certain it’s just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world – and the world from Rosa?

My Sister Rosa will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page to the last.

My Thoughts: 

This book was very interesting and different to the usual books I pick up.

I was reluctant to read it at first but I ended up really enjoying it.

Che and Rosa are really rich, complex characters, who have a lot of depth and personality. I thought that the author had done an exceptional job at creating a realistic world, and the depth and diversity of the characters just enhanced that. Each character was an individual and added something to the story, there were no ‘pointless characters’ as such.

The plot twist towards the end was unexpected and it does make you doubt certain things in the story, and the narrator himself, but it provided a great lesson to think about.

The ending wasn’t my favourite however I’m not sure what other way the book could have ended. It seemed like an obvious way to end it, and was somewhat hinted at partway through, if you’re observant.

The familial relationships explored in this book are very varied, and I’m glad it wasn’t just perfect happy families throughout. They were also explored in a realistic way, rather than just a ‘mum and dad suck, end of story’ kind of way. I’m glad that certain characters actions are explained by the ending. It really tied all of the loose ends together in terms of justifying different characters and events that occur throughout.

The romance in the book is fantastic, there’s no instalove, it gradually develops and you really want them to get together. It’s not your typical YA romance trope, which I loved.

It was also really unique how the author uses the main character to analyse Rosa and to give just reason as to why he thinks she’s a psychopath. The relationship between Che and Rosa was also unique and whilst Rosa isn’t the narrator, it gives a very realistic, detailed look into her thoughts and state of mind.

I think the platonic relationships in the book were again, very realistic representations of a healthy friendship, and that really increased the respect I had for this story.

Overall I really liked this book despite my initial trepidation, and I feel like I learnt a lot from it. I would recommend this one to anyone looking for something fast paced and well written, that is atypical of the usual YA selection.


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