Take two, fatherless half-sisters. Make one sister, Sky, an obedient, play-it-safe type. Portray the other, Tara, as a reckless, no-holds-barred younger sister rebel. Reinforce their differences by designating different typeface fonts that reflect the distinct voice of each sister as they narrate this story via alternating, first person points of view and what emerges is A Gift for My Sister by Ann Pearlman (The Christmas Cookie Club), a moving, deeply resonant novel.
The story begins with Sky, a happily married lawyer with a young daughter who resides in a California beachfront condo. Beyond her seemingly idyllic life, 30-something Sky is riddled with bitterness and worry incurred from a past marred by challenges and loss--the death of her father when she was a teenager, miscarriages and the passing of her best friend. Tara, on the other hand, is a free spirit whose father abandoned her. In high school, she entered into an interracial romance with an ex-juvenile prison inmate and became pregnant. With beau and baby in tow, Troy took off to pursue her dreams of becoming a musician and is now on the verge rap music superstardom.
When tragedy strikes, Sky and Tara are forced to reunite. By rendering shared experiences via their opposing personalities and viewpoints, Pearlman skillfully evokes empathy on both sides. Resentment, rivalry, fear of love and loss and the idea of forgiveness infuse what ultimately becomes a road-trip novel--from California to Michigan--where the sisters try to understand each other, the complications of their own lives and the larger ramifications of family.
Atria/Emily Bestler Books, $24.99, Hardcover, 9781439159491, 288 pp
Publication Date: May 1, 2012