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The Almost Sisters: A Novel

The Almost Sisters: A Novel

Written by Joshilyn Jackson

Narrated by Joshilyn Jackson


The Almost Sisters: A Novel

Written by Joshilyn Jackson

Narrated by Joshilyn Jackson

ratings:
4.5/5 (149 ratings)
Length:
12 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jul 11, 2017
ISBN:
9780062682130
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother's affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she's pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she's got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie's been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family's freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.

Publisher:
Released:
Jul 11, 2017
ISBN:
9780062682130
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including gods in Alabama and The Almost Sisters. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. A former actor, Jackson is also an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children.


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What people think about The Almost Sisters

4.4
149 ratings / 51 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Another intriguing read by Joshilyn Jackson. This novel is more of a lesson of the difference of the Old South and the New South and being a Northerner it is extremely difficult to imagine that the color line is still rampant. Given the state of our country, this read will wake up other white Northerner to the challenge that greets all people of color.
  • (5/5)
    This novel is her best one yet.
  • (5/5)
    A new book from my favorite author! I love the main character in this book. Leia is a comic book artist who wrote her own graphic novel, and now has to create an origin story for the character. She delves deep into the character and starts learning about herself and her relationship with others, particularly her sister. During this time, Leia also finds out that her grandmother’s mind is deteriorating quickly, so she has to go back to Alabama to help out. Not to mention, she’s pregnant from a one night stand, her brother-in-law left his family, and her niece is growing up too fast. There is so much going on in this book, but it’s woven together perfectly, and isn’t too over-the-top in the drama department. Jackson’s writing is gorgeous as always, and her characters come to life so much that I’m still thinking of them.
  • (5/5)
    This is my first novel by Joshilyn Jackson; it certainly will not be my last. I picked up this book looking for a summer read that's pure chick lit. I got so much more. There was romance, marital troubles, and family support systems which are the trademark of what I think of as chick lit. But there was also humor, graphic novel writing, issues of race, and aging disease. The Almost Sisters takes a look at race in America but particularly in Alabama. This novel was so well written and considered that I hated reaching the end.
  • (5/5)
    Joshilyn Jackson has long been on my “to read” list, but this is the first book of hers that I’ve actually gotten around to picking up. And I loved it.There was so much in the book that spoke to me… from a woman experiencing a pregnancy at an “advanced” age, to the trickiness of navigating life in a small town, to having a grandparent that you’re extremely close to going through medical issues. Jackson brings it all to us through the eyes of Leah, a 38-year-old comic book artist who is unexpectedly pregnant by a man she doesn’t know. When Leah discovers that her grandmother has been hiding some extreme health issues from her, she picks up her life and goes back to small-town Alabama to stay with her and convince her to get help. Along for the ride is her 13-year-old niece, who is escaping a bit of life drama of her own.I loved how Jackson portrays the relationships between the women, the difficulty of trying to help an elderly relative, and the frustration of having family keep secrets from you. There is often so much that is hidden just beneath the surface, but it rarely stays hidden forever. The story also confronts the issue of lingering racism in the South — sometimes hidden, sometimes blatant — as Leah faces the prospect of bringing a biracial child into the world.Joshilyn Jackson will definitely be staying on my “to read” list! This was easily my favorite read of 2017.
  • (3/5)
    I give Joshilyn Jackson credit for writing about a tough subject and pulling it off fairly well. I wasn't in love with the narrative of this book, however, and I found myself wanting the main character to STOP TALKING more than once. I also didn't think the graphic novel concept worked very well and it's not a genre that's universally known. I'd recommend this but I think she's done better work in the past.
  • (5/5)
    Not my normal read, but what a great read it was! Mystery, family angst, love and unspeakable secrets.
  • (5/5)
    Powerful book about the South and what it is like to be black in America. If you are not black it is not even possible to understand the complications and experiences of black people in America. Even Obama who was half white and half black was never even referred to as a bi-racial President but as the first Black President.
  • (4/5)
    This is the first book I have read by Ms. Jackson, and I will definitely be reading more. Leia is a comic book artist with a somewhat complicated life. When her grandmother falls ill in Alabama, she returns to help care for her, and in the process she becomes part of a mystery that threatens family harmony and acceptance in the small town. Leia's stepsister is involved in drama of her own, and she too becomes involved in things when her own daughter accompanies Leia to Alabama. The title has a double meaning, but I can't disclose what that might be.
  • (5/5)
    Leia is a comic book artist from the big city, summoned back to her small town in Alabama to take care of her ailing grandmother, "Birchie", whose recent outbursts have disrupted their community. After arriving in town to deal with Birchie and Wattie, lifelong inseparable friends, Leia discovers a long-hidden family secret while trying to hide her own recently discovered pregnancy to a man she only knows as Batman. As the family comes together and the family's past and present unravels, Leia, Rachel, Birchie, and Wattie discover what it really means to be family and sisters, blood or otherwise.I really enjoyed getting to know this rich cast of characters from this small southern town. Part historical novel, part romance, this wonderful story is full of humor and fun. I was sad to see this one end!
  • (5/5)
    I've read all of Joshilyn Jackson's books and this is my new favorite!
  • (5/5)
    I love, love, loved this book! Joshilyn Jackson is an author that gets you hooked on the characters right away. I love the descriptions of the south and I love her choice of language. There were so many different plots going on in this book and I enjoyed each and every one of them. This book had me rooting for Leia and her future. I was heartbroken when the book ended ... we need a sequel! Thanks Joshilyn for being my new favorite author! =)
  • (5/5)
    I've yet to read anything by this author which I have not been swept up into the story. I was not disappointed. In fact, this book grabbed my heart and didn't let go. I mean, the main character is a graphic novel artist/writer and hits the cons! But Joshilyn Jackson has a way of writing about the South, and the many layers of life here that delve beyond sweet tea, manners, and magnolias. She gets that duality of two types of south that has troubled me for so long-- there's the south I love, with the beauty of the land, the traditions, and the close knit community, and then there's that dark underbelly that launched abominations into our world which still rear their ugly heads in ways such as the slayings at Mother Emanuel AME, racism, bigotry, and other ways of stamping out human hearts and lives. Plus, there was real compassion in the way Jackson wrote of Birchie's decline and illness, and the love between Birchie and Wattie. I also was moved by the way Jackson explored Leia's path of understanding and willingness to share her pregnancy. (But Batman as baby-daddy? How cool is that???)Joshilyn Jackson, thank you. You hit it out of the park, again. And thanks to LibraryThing early reviewers and the publisher for sending me this copy.From the publisher:With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy--an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother's affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she's pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she's got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie's been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family's freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.
  • (4/5)
    I really enjoyed the last two books I read by Joshilyn Jackson- Somebody's Else's Love Story and The Opposite of Everyone. The characters pulled me in right away, and I love the setting of the stories in the South.Jackson's latest novel, The Almost Sisters is also set in the South. Leia wrote a hugely popular comic book, Violence in Violet, a few years ago, a book with a decidedly feminist story. From that, she began a career illustrating other people's stories and became pretty much in demand.At a comic convention, she meets a handsome "Batman" and has a one-night stand. That night results in her pregnancy. At the age of thirty-eight, this is not something Leia expected, and since she doesn't remember Batman's name, she can't even tell him about it.Leia is summoned to her grandmother Birchie's home in small-town Alabama by townspeople concerned about Birchie's outburst at a church fish fry, an outburst that results in the church being turned upside down.At the same time, Leia's perfect stepsister Rachel has just thrown her husband out of their home. Leia is shocked by this, as Rachel appears to have the perfect life. Rachel asks Leia to take her thirteen year-old daughter Lavender with Leia to Alabama while she tries to pick up the pieces.Most of the story takes place in Birchie's small town, as Leia arrives to find her grandmother has a serious illness that effects her mental capacity as well as her body. Birchie's best friend and housemate Wattie has been hiding Birchie's illness from everyone, something that makes Leia very unhappy.Fiction frequently uses secrets as a theme, and Jackson has a lot of them here- Leia hides her pregnancy, Rachel hides her marriage troubles, and Birchie and Wattie have more than a few secrets, including a whopper of a one that threatens to hurt many of them.I love the setting of Birchville, a town founded by Birchie's ancestors. You get a real feeling of place here, and if you close your eyes, you can almost see Birchie's house, the church and the town square.My favorite characters are Birchie and Wattie. I really wanted to know more about their younger days, how they got to be so close in a era when blacks and whites were not supposed to be friends, these two are closer than sisters. I would love a prequel to this story.Fans of comic books (and other nerds as Leia frequently refers to herself) will have an added extra level of enjoyment here. Leia's comic Violence in Violet is dissected here in great detail, something I would have enjoyed more if I was into comic books. And Jackson's trademark Southern humor does shine through in Leia's character.There is a lot here in The Almost Sisters- sisterly relationships, what makes a family, small town life, race relations in the South today and of course, the danger of keeping secrets. I can't say that I liked this one as much as her previous two books, but readers who enjoy a good family story set in the South will enjoy it.Joshilyn Jackson's website is here.
  • (2/5)
    It's been almost two weeks since I read this and I still don't really know what to say. I almost didn't finish reading it because frankly I'm tired of these so-called 'charming' towns that are redolent with racism and the use of a surprising-but-ultimately-makes-everyone-so-close pregnancy to tie the characters together. The protagonist is a comic book artist who gets knocked up by a stranger in a Batman costume at a comic convention. Just as she's getting her head around that, her sister's marriage falls apart and her grandmother's entire hometown population phones to say her granny's gone nutters at a church social. She takes her somewhat traumatized niece to visit her grandma and see what's going on and uncovers a family secret. I don't know if anyone who didn't grow up in this kind of town would be this irritated, but I've certainly had my fill of spiteful gossips and "sweet" old ladies who assume your black friend is your maid because really, what upstanding white woman has a black *friend*? The story left a bitter taste and I can't recommend it. I gave it two stars because (minus the stupid pregnancy) I liked the geeky protagonist and the author's other books have been overall well-written; I don't want to put readers off her books altogether, but I'd say skip this one.
  • (4/5)
    I always enjoy Joshilyn Jackson novels and although the Southern Fiction category makes her a draw for many, I like her because of her characters. Her heroines are always flawed - but not in a dark twisty way that makes you uncomfortable, but in the way that makes you want to be best friends with them, because their foibles are similar to yours. And who likes friends that are perfect? Her recent books have addressed some heavier issues - spousal abuse, racial tensions, etc. - and it makes the stories have a little more meat on them. Jackson narrates her own audiobooks and although some authors should only let professionals do this, she pulls it off with spectacular success. Very enjoyable!
  • (4/5)
    Leia Birch Briggs is a self-professed nerd: a graphic novelist with a penchant for comic books, Wonder Woman, and online gaming. So it's not exactly surprising that, with the help of tequila, she'd fall for a handsome man in a Batman costume at a comics convention in Atlanta. What comes next is a bit more of a surprise: Leia is pregnant from that one-night stand, and it's up to her to tell her over-protective family and very Southern grandmother. To top it off, said Batman was African American: not exactly the easiest thing to tell your Baptist family with Southern roots. But before Leia can even tell her family, she gets some disturbing news from Alabama about her paternal grandmother, Birchie. As Leia rushes to Alabama to help Birchie, she also learns that her stepsister, Rachel, is struggling. So Leia and her teenage niece, Lavender, head to Alabama to assist Birchie and break Leia's big news. But it turns out Birchie has some pretty big news of her own. News that will change everything Leia has ever known about her family.This is one of those ARCs that I don't remember requesting, but I'm really glad I did. It was a pleasant surprise - just a fun, warm novel, even with its serious (and extremely timely) subject matter. I warmed to nerdy Leia immediately (and not just because I have a cat named after said Princess): she's real and flawed and quite relatable. All of the women in Leia's life are well-written and their own people: sweet Lavender, trying to figure out her way in the world as her parents' marriage implodes; Rachel, Lavender's mom, a perfectionist struggling with a lot of imperfection; Wattie, Birchie's best friend, an African American woman living with her in Alabama; and then the amazing Birchie herself, written so impeccably that I could just see her stubborn, regal face pour vibrantly from every page. I fell hard for each of these women and their struggles became mine.Sure, a lot of this book is a little predictable, but the racial tensions and struggles that Jackson writes about are not: they are real and true. Jackson captures the racial divisions so well - the sweet, kind sweet tea side of the South versus the dark, racist, segregated aspects. I could just picture Birchville and its townsfolk. The novel is excellent in that so much of the story is humorous, yet the serious side is very well-done, too.Leia is a graphic novelist and portions of the book describe a graphic novel she'd written -- I'm not a huge graphic novel fan, so I wasn't completely into those pieces, but I was able to slide past them. The parallels in Leia's novel to the South didn't elude me, so I appreciated why that was included, even if I didn't always want to read a summary of a supposedly graphic novel. Some of the symbolism and metaphors may be a little too forced/spelled out for us at times, but I still enjoyed the novel very much. Pieces of it made me laugh out loud - Leia's sense of humor and her predicaments, Birchie's tough sensibility. Birchie and Wattie's dynamic was wonderful, and I really cared for those two.In the end, I really enjoyed this one. There's a great story here as well a plot that doesn't gloss over racial discord. I appreciated both. The cast of characters is great -- real, funny, humorous, and heartbreaking. Certainly recommend.I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Librarything (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere.
  • (4/5)
    Joshilyn Jackson has been writing novels that have been characterized as chick-lit/women's fiction for years. And they sort of fit that designation, with personable and likable main characters who fall in love while dealing with quirky family situations. Jackson is also an able writer, with the sort of light effortlessness and dialogue that is better than found in most novels and underneath the enjoyable and humorous stories is a sharp edge of substance. In The Almost Sisters, a successful writer of graphic novels finds herself pregnant after an encounter with an attractive Batman at a ComicCon. Thirty-eight and financially secure, she accepts that this may be her only chance to have a child. As she's bracing herself to break the news to her mother and stepfather, her family situation turns to chaos. Her half-sister is considering divorce and her teenage niece is upset and in the small town of Birchville, Alabama, her grandmother has just had an episode at the church fish fry that shows she may be too elderly to continue to live independently. Leia takes her niece and heads for Birchville, where she finds the situation much, much worse than she'd thought.There are plenty of humorous situations and heart-warming reconciliations, but Jackson is doing more than just entertaining. While her earlier novels have dealt with serious issues like domestic violence, The Almost Sisters takes on the racial tensions of a small Southern town. Leia, forced to examine social structures, comes to the realization that there are two Souths.The South I'd been born into was all sweet tea and decency and Jesus, and it was a real, true place. I had grown up inside it, because my family lived there. Wattie's family owned real estate there, too. The Second South was always present, though, and in it decency was a thin, green cover over the rancid soil of our dark history. They were both always present, both truly present in every square inch, in every space, in both Baptist churches, at both tables.
  • (4/5)
    Wow, I don't really know where to start.The book started off slow for me. A white woman who has a one night stand with "Batman" at a comic book convention. The woman is a guest speaker and writes her own comic book as well as doing work on other comic books. So fairly famous and doing well for herself. She's never been good in relationships and we find out more later as to why.She soon finds out this "union" results in her being pregnant with a biracial child. About this same time she gets a call from just about everyone in her home town letting her know that her much loved granny is "losing it". This happens to be in Alabama where her family founded the town and has kept it going for generations. While telling her step sister(and there's a story there as well) that she needs to go home to Alabama to help out her grandmother, she finds out that her step sister and her husband have split so her step sister insists that she take her niece to Alabama with her.We're talking the south here where racial issues are still, well issues. We have secrets popping out. The grandmother and her black best friend trying to keep a lid on the fact dementia has set in.So secrets, old bones found in a trunk in the attic, family history coming to light, small town gossip, deep friendships, family doing the best to help family and a police investigation. So much going on and yet it all holds together. Laughter and tears. I started the book early morning and finished that night. I was hooked and wanted answers. I enjoyed the read and the outcome.
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed this book. I liked it better than Joshilyn Jackson's last book. It's the story of Leia, a comic book artist who finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand with Batman at a comic con. She also goes to her childhood home in the deep South to help her grandmother, who has "Lewy bodies." I won't give away too much more but it was a great book.
  • (5/5)
    Joshilyn Jackson gives all the great things we've grown to expect, except this time she throws in Super Heroes. I love this book!!!!!
  • (4/5)
    I adore this author, will read anything she writes. How many author can combine the grace and elegance of the south while deftly showing many of the issues that are still apparent underneath the charming veneer. Can combine the devastating effects of lewey bodies, Batman, sex crazed rabbits, a graphic artist, old bones and a church supper where the wrong food is served with humorous results and make it all work. I laughed so hard and will never look at salmon quite the same way again. She uses a light, gentle tone, a great deal of humor while dealing with some very real issues. Sisterhood, bigotry, family and fatherhood, in all its permutations, are the underlying themes. Weighty subjects, all handled with humor and a great deal of tenderness and love. The characters are wonderful, worm their way into your heart, unforgettable. Entertainment and realism side by side, so well done. The ending, maybe a little schmaltzy, but for me it was apropos and while there was an ending, there was also a beginning. ARC from publisher.Releases July 11th from William Morris.
  • (3/5)
    Leia Birge is a successful cartoonist who finds herself pregnant with after a one-night stand, and tries to summon the courage to tell her conservative southern family. Meanwhile, her beloved elderly grandmother, Birchie, is exhibiting behavior that indicates dementia, and her seemingly perfect sister is having epic marital problems with a husband who was Leia's first love years ago. When Leia arrives in Alabama to deal with the future of Birchie and her long-time companion, she encounters a shocking family secret with far-reaching ramifications. She also unexpectedly reconnects with her child's father. I admittedly have no interest in comic book heroes and heroines with assorted super powers, which diminished my involvement with the book.
  • (4/5)
    I received this book from Early Reviewers. Having enjoyed other novels by this author, I was pleased when I was selected to review Almost Sisters. The author again sets her novel in the South, and Southern culture and roots are an important aspect of the story. The main character. Leia, is a comic book illustrator and author who becomes pregnant with a bi-racial baby due to a one-night stand at a comic con event. She has a complex relationship with her stepsister Rachel, who is married to Leia's first sexual partner. When Rachel's marriage hits a very rocky place, and Leia's grandmother sinks into dementia, Leia has more on her plate than ever before. When she pays a visit to her grandmother, she struggles with how to deal with the effects of the dementia and whether to contact the father of her baby. More family secrets unexpectedly are unearthed, and Leia has to face emotions and facts in the best way she can. All of the storylines and characters' relationships are intertwined. I found this novel engaging except for the descriptions and influence of Leia's comic book characters. I did not think Leia's struggle to write a prequel to her famous comic book added to the novel, and it seemed forced to me. Her grandmother's dementia is heartbreaking, and I could empathize with Leia's emotional pain in dealing with it. The relationship between the stepsisters however was not as well developed. I would give this book 3.5 stars. It is an enjoyable read, and parts of it have emotional depth, while some are not as well-written.
  • (5/5)
    Leia Birch Briggs's life is upside down. She has contracted to write a prequel of her popular graphic novel and has absolutely no ideas. The reports she is getting about her Grandmother are distressing. Leia is on her way to get things in order to move her grandmother to assisted living. On top of all this she is pregnant from a one night stand and has no idea how to contact the baby's father or tell her family. Because her stepsister's marriage is falling apart, Leia finds her 13 year old niece Lavender coming along to with her. When she arrives she finds Birchie and her long time friend Wattie determined to fight her all the way on leaving the family home. Birchie and Wattie become desperate and try to escape, but a discovery sets off a chain of events that can't be stopped. Birchie and Wattie' story, at times heartbreaking, is told with humor and honesty. This author always delivers a great story with characters that you know are going to pull your heartstrings.
  • (4/5)
    The Almost Sisters is a novel about long buried secrets, aging, sibling rivalry and so much more. When Leia gets a call about her 90 year old grandmother possibly having dementia, she rushes to her side. Leia is pregnant from a one night stand and the child will be biracial. Not sure how to tell her conventional family, she keeps the secret to herself. Meanwhile her stepsister is having marital troubles, so Leia takes her niece with her on the trip and lets it slip she is pregnant. When she arrives she discovers there are old secrets buried in the attic that she has to deal with along with her niece tracking down the baby's father and contacting him pretending to be Leia. A good story from one of my favorite authors.
  • (5/5)
    Leia Birch Briggs is a comic book writer/illustrator who finds her own life in upheaval when she discovers she's pregnant after a tequila-infused one night stand with Batman. This particular Batman is black, so Leia will be raising a bi-racial baby in a somewhat conservative family. Life gets further complicated when she hears from the Birchville's grapevine (a town her ancestors established in Alabama) that her beloved grandmother Birchie is suffering from dementia. It all gets a bit worse when she heads to her sister Rachel's brunch to share her baby news with family and passes Rachel's husband Jay storming out the door, clothes packed in garbage bags - apparently the marriage is in trouble. Rachel needs time to get things together, so she implores Leia to take daughter Valentine with her to Birchville to see what's going on with Birchie, and figure out how Birchie's best friend Wattie managed to keep it all from her. And just when you think things could get any more convoluted, Birchie and Wattie unearth an old trunk from the attic and attempt to steal away with it in Leia's rental car. The car crashes at the end of the driveway, and when the trunk is opened, a full skeleton is revealed. Who is in the trunk and how did it end up in Birchie's attic?This is a beautifully crafted novel, probably one of the best I've read this year and certainly one of the best LibraryThing Early Reviewers titles I have been awarded. There are more than one pair of almost sisters here. Leia and Rachel are step-siblings, Birchie and Wattie are like sisters even though Birchie is white and Wattie is black, because they were raised and nursed together by Wattie's mother. And threaded throughout this novel is the story of Violet and Violence, Leia's characters in her comic series. How these relationships work and don't work is a regular theme through the novel. We also examine the idea of racism, and how Leia both romanticizes this wonderful town of Birchville where she spent her summers as a child and how she sees the town as it is, part of the world in which her biracial son will grow up. Characters are richly drawn, people are funny, fun, happy, sad, confused, scared - in a word, real. Except, of course, when Birchie sees the bunnies, but you'll have to read the book to learn more about those.
  • (5/5)
    Okay. I am just going to say it: I loved this book! There are three pairs of sisters: The main character, Leia, and her stepsister; Leia's beloved grandmother Birchie and her friend Wattie, both raised by the same mom although they are not related and one of them is white and one is black; and then the two graphic novel characters, Violence and Violet. There is also a cast of other friends and relatives -- wonderful, each and every one of them.The small town is set in the South and skillfully painted: the dialogue, the intimacy, the traditions, the claustrophobia and the joy. The plot has unexpected twists and turns right up until the very end and they are not contrived, but brilliant! It made me laugh out loud and it made me cry. And I don't usually do either one when I am reading. [Almost Sisters] deals with small town life, families, sisters, graphic novels, unplanned pregnancies, love, aging parents, church and race. Phew! There is so much packed into this one and Jackson does it soooo well. I could not put this one down and I was truly sad when it ended.Best ER book I have received! Keep your eye out for it.
  • (4/5)
    I love all of Joshilyn Jackson's books, and this one is no exception. It is hard to describe this book without giving too much away, but it is a Southern novel with real world problems. As a true Southern Belle myself, I read a lot of Southern chick-lit and most of it is pretty light reading, i.e., crotchety older "grandma" type, sweet Southern girl, family drama, lots of food, Southern slang and a nice tidy ending. Joshilyn adds all of those things into her novels because she IS Southern, but they don't define the book. This book touches on race and in the South, this is many times the elephant in the room. She talks about the two Souths: the idyllic one that many of us think we live in and the one that has the dark undercurrent of Civil War wounds that haven't healed. A great novel and one I've looked forward to for months. Thanks to Library Thing for the Advanced Copy!
  • (5/5)
    The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson is the tale of a prominent family in a small idyllic-appearing Southern town. There are secrets generations in the making about to be revealed, deep and conflicted black/white ties, and a new South emerging even as some try to hold on to the past. The characters are flawed, but lovely in their layers, and will capture your heart. A mystery, murder, and tangled family plots provide a captivating read.