November 3, 2015
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A suicide pact was supposed to keep them together, but a broken promise tore them apart
Allie is devastated when her older sister commits suicide - and not just because she misses her. Allie feels betrayed. The two made a pact that they'd always be together, in life, and in death, but Leah broke her promise and Allie needs to know why.
Her parents hover. Her friends try to support her. And Nick, sweet Nick, keeps calling and flirting. Their sympathy only intensifies her grief.
But the more she clings to Leah, the more secrets surface. Allie's not sure which is more distressing: discovering the truth behind her sister's death or facing her new reality without her.
The Sister Pact has such a misleading - though not exactly ill fitting - cover. Even after reading that book's description, something about that cover made me think it was going to be a lighter read. It is not.
Allie's older sister Leah committed suicide. On top of missing her sister and trying to understand why she chose to leave, Allie feels betrayed, left behind. Suicide was something they were supposed to do together; one of them was not supposed to leave the other behind.
Now as her parents deal - in their way - with the twin heartbreaks of one daughter who died and one who thought she should have, Allie has to face (and figure out how to handle) them and the new attention on her. Everyone's trying to help, but it is not what Allie needs.
I loved how art was included in The Sister Pact. Leah was the extremely talented dancer and Allie paints. Or she did. The pairing of her grief and her struggle to find her art, find her colors, again was brilliant. How not only Allie's desire to paint, but the physical paintings themselves and, even, her studio played into her character's journey was so great. While she and others question if she's painting again, if she is able - and then her attempts, we learn a lot about her character, her sister, their past and their family.
Allie and Leah's family is ont a healthy one. There are the more obvious issues (with their mother, their father's girlfriend) bit the more we learn, seemingly about the sister's pact, about Leah's suicide, the more screwed up we see her parents are.
There were several times I could not believe the choices her parents were making, the things they were allowing - or trying to prohibit - and why they could not see the potential harm.
When you have finished The Sister Pact, you will understand not only Allie, but hopefully her sister Leah, much better. You may even understand them (and their family dynamics and issues) better as an outsider, and you will definitely feel for both girls. The inclusion of Allie's 'everyday' life, with her relationships (new and old) gives us a fuller picture of her and the loss of Leah. (And their relationship while she was alive.)
It is not a book that makes sugarcoats things, or makes them easy. Allie repeatedly says something complimentary of Leah, only to follow it with, "Until she killed herself." She may not know they why, she may not understand the abandonment, but she isn't giving her sister a pass. As much as it could be hard to read, I appreciated that we saw all of Allie's bad choices, her grief and confusion. We saw those things, and how they echoed into the other parts of her life, and we saw her struggle with whether to move forward.
The Sister Pact takes readers and Allie on a powerful journey, into pain, grief and heartache, but hopefully into understanding and maybe hope.
What I do love about the book's cover are the colors. The way colors and finding the right ones are a part of the novel is such a fantastic part of Allie's character that I love that it's what I first notice about the cover. (Though, part of me still wishes it had been done like a painting.)
(The preview below is because I wanted you to read the part [pg 8] from , 'I want to hear how Allie feels, through the following paragraph [her response].)
Other Books You May Also Enjoy: I Was Here by Gayle Forman and Hold Still by Nina LaCour
digital copy received, for review, from publisher, via NetGalley