MISSING SISTERS by Gregory Maguire

MISSING SISTERS

Age Range: 10 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Alice, 12, withdrawn and inarticulate because she's quite deaf, lives in a Catholic orphanage in Troy, N.Y. Unbeknownst to Alice, her truculent twin, Miami, lives across the river in Albany as one of the Shaws' four adopted children. After the girls' similarity causes confusion at a camp where her stay happens to follow Miami's, Alice discovers Miami's existence and seeks her out. Maguire, author of several fantasies, comes into his own with this evocative novel of the late 60's, set in the milieu where he grew up. There's some near-melodramatic suspense (e.g., a fire), but best here are the many characters, all realized in convincing, unique detail--the nuns a rich broth of competence and imperfection, of narrow-mindedness and wisdom; the Shaws, generous but not inexhaustible, strained by the imminent addition of their first biological child to a biracial adoptive family that includes infant twins. When Alice and Miami discover each other, at first everyone is dismayed. The Shaws can't adopt Alice; still, the plans the adults make for the newfound sisters are compassionate as well as businesslike. Even so, the girls, feeling a strong affinity, contrive independently to meet. Following various points of view, the author enriches his third- person narrative with minutiae of the devout Catholicism that suffuses every aspect of his characters' lives, with fresh, vivid (if occasionally overblown) descriptions, and--while centering on the children--with incisive vignettes of the adults and their concerns. Poignant yet bracingly unsentimental, a novel with the clear ring of authenticity. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-689-50590-6
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: McElderry
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1994




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