What to do if your sister is a psychopath | Review of My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

 My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

Young Adult (with Adult crossover appeal)
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published November 15th, 2016 by Soho Teen

My Sister Rosa–The story of a nomadic family, a reluctant son, and a psychopathic sister. What would you do if you saw danger in your ten year old sister that no one else did?

We follow seventeen year old Che as he navigates his new life in NYC. Never staying in one place longer than his first childhood home in Sydney, Australia, Che hates moving. All he wants to do is go back to Sydney, back to his friends.

Once Che starts to settle into his new city and his new boxing gym, he meets a girl that makes New York seem not so bad. The beautiful, powerful, lithe, muscular Sojourner—Sid to her friends. He also begins to make friends with the caustic Leilani, daughter of his parents’ friends and benefactors the McBrunights.

Che never truly feels settled though. No matter where he is, no matter how cool his friends, he can never escape his sister Rosa, and his desire to protect her—and protect others from her.

That’s another thing about moving so much—no one else can see what Rosa really is. When Che tries to tell people, they don’t believe him. All they see is the sweet little blonde-ringletted ten year old in front of them. Even his parents make excuse after excuse.

What can Che do when he is not there to watch Rosa? What can he do about the new “friendship” she has made? How can he stop her from manipulating those around her? How far will she go to get what she wants?

This book was a great blend of contemporary realistic YA and mystery. It had the best elements of both. This book gets kudos for diversity, great friendships, swoonworthy romance. It also has the serious creep factor in little Rosa.When I began the book, I thought I was getting into a thriller. Although this book definitely has thrilling elements, I wouldn’t call it that. It’s not straight-up one genre. I liked reading a contemporary from a guy’s perspective—I don’t read those a lot. I’m thinking I should give it a try. And maybe one actually written by a dude.

I did have a couple of qualms, though minor, with My Sister Rosa. There were no Oxford commas and that bugs the shit out of me. I get that some of the words were with the Australian spelling, but I feel like “Woah” is always wrong and that was in there more than once. I also found Sojourner’s brand of Christianity a little unsettling. It’s definitely good to be loving and accepting of all people. But to me, the description of her faith came across as a bit of a cop out of the have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too variety.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. If you want an exciting, interesting read with a little bit of creepy, I’d recommend My Sister Rosa.

Note: This book does have some mature content.