Little Willow (slayground) wrote,
Little Willow

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The Sisters Club books by Megan McDonald

The three Reel sisters, Joey (8), Stevie (10), and Alex (12 and three-quarters), are thick as thieves. Dramatic Alex, the oldest girl, is an aspiring actress who, despite her attempts to appear mature and sophisticated at times, still secretly confides in her beloved sock monkey. Stevie, the middle sister with a beautiful singing voice, prefers to work behind the scenes. Young Joey finds joy in almost everything. All of the girls are creative and enjoy writing in some form, which is expressed through the narrative: Stevie is the main narrator, telling the majority of the story in first-person past tense, while her sisters' contributions (handwritten and illustrated pages from Joey's journal, typed scenes from Alex's life-as-a-screenplay) are placed between Stevie's straightforward chapters. Each girl has a distinctive voice and different hobbies as well as shared interests. Their parents are fun. Though the girls have their spats from time to time, which only makes the characters and the family seem more realistic, their house tends to be filled with love and laughter.

Megan always does such a great job writing for and about this age group. I absolutely adore her books about Judy Moody and her little brother, Stink. I read The Sisters Club right when it was released, and I absolutely loved it. I consequently regularly and regularly recommended it to 8- to 12-year-old readers, especially young girls who had sisters close in age.

I was thrilled when Rule of Three, the sequel to The Sisters Club, came out in 2009. I'm pleased to say that it not only met my expectations, but exceeded them. Rule of Three offered compassion, cupcakes, and song. When Stevie and Alex both try out for a school production of the musical Once Upon a Mattress, chaos ensues. Stevie isn't sure whether or not to try out, not only because she's shy, but because she doesn't want to upset Alex. Alex is not used to competing with her younger sisters, and she really wants to be the star. Soon, the girls become irritated with each other. I'm a sucker for a good story about productions, especially musicals.

Meanwhile, Joey works her way through the novel Little Women. She is so moved by the scene in which Jo donates her hair that she decides to do the same. Throughout the book, she bugs her sisters to measure her ponytail until it's long enough to donate to charity. Stevie bakes dozens and dozens of cupcakes - different types, depending on her mood - which Joey not-so-secretly snitches. Credit and kudos to Pamela A. Consolazio for illustrating Joey's cute journal entries and lists.

The third novel about the Reels, The Sister Club: Cloudy With a Chance of Boys, is just as good as the previous installments. Alex really wants to play Juliet in her school's production of Romeo & Juliet - especially if her crush, Scott, is cast as Romeo! Joey gets a pet (initially without her parents' permission) and continues writing down her observations and lists framed by fun doodles. She doesn't get why her oldest sister is so interested in romance. Through it all, Stevie remains our stalwart main narrator. She encounters a new boy in school and works on a cool cloud project for science class. I have a fondness for the two-page spread in the book which shows different cloud types because it reminds me of one of my favorite wall posters, which I got when I was about Joey's age.

In my 2012 interview with Megan McDonald, she revealed that The Sisters Club is, so far, just a trilogy. I do hope that the series gets extended, because I really enjoy the adventures of the Reel sisters. I'd love to watch them continue to grow, and I'd follow their stories all the way through high school.

Related Posts at Bildungsroman:
Interview: Megan McDonald

Related Booklists:
But I Don't Want to Be Famous!
But I DO Want to Be Famous!
Tags: books, reviews, series

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