Reviews

My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier

dwana's review against another edition

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adventurous challenging dark emotional funny informative mysterious reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

pantsreads's review against another edition

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2.0

2.5/5

I liked the tension of the story, but there wasn't much in the way of plot.

Check out my full review at Forever Young Adult.

cewhisenant's review against another edition

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4.0

"I'm not sure I understand what love is. It's like 'good'. No one's explained it clearly. I love ice-cream. I love chess and mathematics. I love getting what I want. I love getting away with things. But not people. They're either useful or they're not.”

Actual rating: 4.5

Ever since I was a young child, I’ve had a morbid fascination with psychopaths. Maybe it’s an American thing, but I read every book and watched every movie I could get my hands on. I was entranced by the idea of people who didn’t feel or think the way the majority of people did.

This was the perfect novel in ode to middle-school me.

"She promised to be good. She wasn’t."

There are very few psychological thriller novels that manage to keep me anxious and on my toes from start to finish. There are only so many ways for a writer to inject tension into a novel and I’ve read most of them many times.

My Sister Rosa was terrifying. Teen Che’s younger sister, Rosa, is a ten-year-old psychopath. For years, he’s been forcing her to make promises to ensure she doesn’t hurt or kill anyone. However, she’s begun to find loopholes in these promises.

Every time Rosa spoke, walked, or even breathed near Che, I was filled with an inaudible sense of dread. Eventually, I decided to listen to this novel primarily while at the gym in order to relieve the tension every chapter built up.

"Killing things shouldn't make you happy, Rosa. That's why they're worried."

Just when you think you’ve figured out where this novel is going, another layer of build up is added. I was so invested, I’ve now been consistently going to the gym for over a month, multiple times a week. Nothing like a psychological thriller audiobook to get you to regularly go to the gym.

After the wondrously suspenseful Here Lies Daniel Tate that I had the pleasure of reading over the summer, I am beginning to delve further into the blossoming goldmine of YA psychological thrillers.

If you’re looking to get a solid case of emotional and mental whiplash or want all the pleasures of a horror movie with a side dish of teenage drama, look no further. My Sister Rosa has you covered.

"You want to pass for a normal person? Don’t tiptoe into people’s bedrooms at night! Ever!”

“I can be creepy in front of you.”

“No, you can’t! You need to go now.”

“I’ll go watch the parentals."

tjlcody's review against another edition

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2.0

I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if not for the semi-subtle, irritating preaching all throughout it.

Che and Sojourner I liked. Reasonably well-developed characters, and Che was extremely sympathetic with all the crap he went through.

The parents were insufferable. Seriously. Sally refuses to listen to a goddamn thing Che has to say, and doesn't that screw her in the end? And David... Well, shit, finish the book and you can guess how I feel about David.

Wasn't fond of Leilani either. Liked her better towards the end than the beginning, but the beginning did not set a good tone with me. Don't think I didn't catch that wage-gap quip during the first dinner the families had together (if you get that pissy over being called an 'actor' instead of an 'actress', you're a fucking child who needs to grow up). Of all the so-called 'inequalities' of this world that you could bring up, the wage discrepancies between people who make millions of more dollars a year than I do is not the way to win me over. Then there was that "ridding the building of all that misogyny" quip.

Let's not even get into the racism and gender-related preaching with Elon, Veronica and Leilani. And the fact that there were multiple characters throwing around "white boy/girl" unnecessarily, but THAT never gets called out as racist.

It was unnecessary, did nothing to advance the plot, and smacked of the author saying "I have some POLITICS I'd like to preach right now, so let's segue into something that does NOTHING for the plot so I can PREACH."

Those things irritated me. And as I've stated in past reviews, my patience for this let's-pepper-the-decent-story-with-preachy-political-messages trend is gone. All I wanted to do was read a goddamn Bad Seed adaptation, not get preached to about racism, sexism, and gender-binaries and shit. If the author had just stuck to the story, this would be getting a much higher rating.

maddy_24's review against another edition

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emotional mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

thebooksupplier's review against another edition

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4.0

Teaser preview in The Friday 56 http://bit.ly/2hUyLEQ
Sticky Note Review @ the (book) supplier https://thebooksupplier.com/2017/01/26/my-sister-rosa-sticky-note-reviews/

suvata's review against another edition

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4.0

S L O W B U R N of a novel about a creepy little sister who, for all intents and purposes, appears to be a psychopath. It kind of took a long time to get there but the ending was very satisfying.

aireee's review against another edition

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2.0

A generic and watered down version of Jory John’s, “The Bad Seed” with a slightly different spin, is my take on this book. I expecting some chills and thrills that never arrived. The “reveal” wasn’t even revealing and the aftermath was equally boring.

Lots of “fluff” throughout - annoying teenage love, questionable interactions with other characters who themselves were not flushed out ... Just unnecessarily boring.

mirroredheart's review against another edition

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medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

rainymorningreads's review against another edition

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4.0

One thing I can say after finishing My Sister Rosa is that I have never read a book like this before. It was well-written, delightfully creepy and discussed a unique and interesting concept in YA literature. When I picked up this book, I was expecting what I usually find in most psychological thrillers- a fast-paced plot with underdeveloped characters. I was pleasantly surprised to find a well-paced story with some great character depth from our narrator, Che.

We start the story with Che and Rosa moving to New York. They have moved around most of their lives, due to their parents starting and failing multiple businesses. Originally from Australia, Che has a hard time adjusting. He misses his friends, his gym and his old life. On top of that, Che’s first priority is taking care of his younger sister, Rosa. Except Rosa is not a normal younger sister, she is a sociopath. Che and Rosa have creepy private conversations where he makes her promise to not do “bad things” because Rosa has no empathy and does not fully understand the difference between right and wrong. Che realizes the truth even though the rest of the family does not understand: Rosa is a ticking bomb and it is only a matter of time before she does something unforgivable. However it is also realistic because despite what Che knows about Rosa, he still loves her. As twisted as that may be, she is still his baby sister.



“Didn’t anyone ask you where your parents are?”
“They asked. Especially about my parents.”
“What did you tell them?”
“I said I ate them.”
“Jesus, Rosa.”
What I really enjoyed about this book is that is was more than Che and Rosa’s creepy conversations, and more than Rosa doing morally questionable things. There was Che’s dysfunctional parents and infuriating mother who was constantly in denial about their situation. Che’s life revolved around boxing, although his parents never wanted him to spar because it was considered violent. There was also Che’s budding relationship with fellow boxer Sojourner, and how he balanced that while keeping Rosa a secret. There was a colorful cast of characters aside form Che and Rosa, including Leilani, Elon, Maya and Seimone. They all contributed to the plot- Che trying to adjust to life as a teenage boy while carrying this burden of his psychopath sister.

Rosa’s condition was not overdone and actually very believable. She was creepy, unfeeling and incredibly intelligent. She never did anything *too* bad- she stole things, lied, manipulated and Che felt responsible for keeping her in line, always fearing the worst. As the reader, I absolutely bought into Che’s worries and also feared the worst from Rosa. Che’s depiction as a teenage boy was incredibly realistic and normal that I found myself following the story and hoping everything would turn out okay. However, the entire story has this overshadowing sense of foreboding, and I just knew something was going to happen.

I was not expecting the ending at all but in retrospect it was really fitting with the overall feel of the story. Rosa’s depiction of a sociopath was frighteningly realistic (not that I’m an expert, but I definitely bought into the story) and Larbalstier did an excellent job of creating a cohesive, well-developed psychological thriller.