Brother/Sister by Sean Olin
Librarything / Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Received for review from Puffin

Rating: 4 stars
Pages: 256

Summary: Will and Asheley have a troubled past. Their father left them when they were little, and their mother has just been carted off to an alcohol treatment center. Now, they have the house to themselves, and an endless California summer stretching out before them. Through alternating perspectives, they tell the story of how and why their lives spun violently out of control – right up to the impossibly shocking conclusion you’ll have to read for yourself to believe.

Thoughts: I really really enjoyed this book.  I mean, really enjoyed it.  Or maybe I loved it.  Now that I think about it, I think I did kind of love it. Loved it like you love your best friend even after they’ve killed their father…

Where was I?  Oh yes, Brother/Sister.

This book is dark – very dark.  It has the magical trio that would make it great source material for an HBO show: great characters, bloody deaths and incest (albeit, there’s not that much incest).  The novel jumps between two main characters, siblings Will and Asheley, as they recount their story to the police.  Even though they were telling the same story, the differences between their accounts were fantastic.  You know how they say no two people see the same thing?  Well, that is exactly what Brother/Sister plays on.  I was never sure which of them was the stable one…

Neither of the siblings have had any stability outside each other.  Their father abandoned them, their mother is a violent alcoholic, and their school mates are all self-centred, abusive and petty children.  That this turned Will and Asheley into less-than-stable individuals is not surprising.  That I liked them and rooted for them anyways, well, that was rather surprising.

But while the characters and their ultra-realistic world were excellent, it was the mystery and suspense kept me reading.  I thought I knew where the book was going, but half way through Olin took it to a whole new level.  Most novels have 1 twist, Brother/Sister must have had 50.  Hell, there were twists within the twists.

And the ending… just, wow.  The ending made this book for me.  Just when I thought things were winding down, BAM.  Olin brings in yet another plot twist out of left field.

Bottom line?  Brother/Sister is unexpected.  Unexpectedly good, thrilling, disturbing… just unexpected.  Read it if you’re starting to tire of the cookie-cutter YA that has been clogging the shelves.

Regarding release dates: This book is currently out in hardback in the US, but UK readers will have to wait until August 4th to get their paperback copy.

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