Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SISTERLAND by Linda Newbery


by Linda Newbery

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 13th, 2004
ISBN: 0-385-75026-9
Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Newbery smoothly weaves together past and present in two distinct, gripping storylines that eventually merge. Seventeen-year-old Hilly’s grandmother, Heidigran, has Alzheimer’s and moves in with Hilly’s family. Sometimes the third-person-limited narration is from Heidigran’s perspective as her consciousness slides between present and past. Often the viewpoint is Hilly’s, baffled by snippets of detail that Heidigran insists upon, but that make no sense to anyone else. A young Jewish girl named Sarah leaves 1939 Germany by Kindertransport; how does this relate to Heidigran, who came to England from Germany after the war? Who is the “Rachel” whom Heidigran keeps mentioning? Relationships between two sets of sisters are rocky; old secrets surface throughout the family, touched by anger and confusion. Hilly’s budding romance with an Arab Palestinian named Rashid and her friend Reuben’s romance with Rashid’s brother Saeed bring new confrontations with racism, homophobia, and violence. Things lost to the Holocaust, even identities, can’t always be reclaimed—but Hilly can try. Gracefully character-driven and humane. (Fiction. YA)