SEPARATE SISTERS by Nancy Springer

SEPARATE SISTERS

Age Range: 11 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Separated by divorce, two talented sisters come together in crisis. Thirteen-year-old Donni, the artist, lives with her father. Trisha, an aspiring writer, lives with their mom. But when the increasingly incorrigible Donni is suspended from sixth grade for cursing out the vice principal, Donni’s mother brings the girls together, enlisting Trisha—whom Donni dubs “Trisha the Perfect”—as tutor. The eighth-grader accepts the challenge, happy to spend time with her estranged sister and close the gap on loneliness. Despite the support of her family and the school psychiatrist, Donni’s progress is erratic; when the vice principal rejects the portrait she’s made as a peace offering, Donni loses control, believing that he is denying her the one thing that keeps her sane in the midst of change: her art. Then Donni runs out of class the day after reading Trish’s journal and discovering that she too is having trouble. Threatened with reform school, Donni admits her emotions to her mother who explains the psychological dimensions of Donni’s discipline problems to the vice principal. Soon, he commissions Donni to decorate his office with artwork. At the same time, Donni makes amends with Trisha, who she finally recognizes as an ally. Driven by Donni, the narrative alternates with Trisha, whose voice is differentiated by the font of her journal entries. Minor flaws aside, Springer deftly portrays the acute uncertainty of adolescence. But more information about the circumstances behind the divorce and the current state of affairs between the parents would help to explain Donni’s unrelenting angst. While the plot is obvious—a child acting out in hopes of drawing the parents together—the drama makes for utterly engaging reading. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8234-1544-9
Page count: 84pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2001




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