Rating: ☕️ ☕️
***WARNING: This is not a book I would particularly recommend, so this review contains spoilers. If you would like to read my review on Goodreads where the spoilers are hidden click here. If you do want to read this book you are more than welcome to come back when you’ve finished and compare notes! Basically it’s all up to you, but you’ve been warned about spoilers in this review! Okay…. that’s enough rambling… On to the review.***
This book was a disappointment, but then again when I started reading it I wasn’t expecting something all that great. I think this is definitely a read for younger preteens. I feel like someone who is 12 or 13 would find it a lot more interesting and deep than I did. If I read it when I bought it (which was a LONG time ago) maybe I would have liked it……. but then again, maybe not.
The Year My Sister Got Lucky tells the story of two city girl sisters, Michaela and Katie, who move from New York City to a small town when their mom gets a new job. Katie has difficulty accepting the change and longs for her old life. On the other hand, Michaela fits in beautifully with the popular kids, gets a handsome quarterback boyfriend, and becomes Homecoming Queen. These changes in their lives cause a rift to form between the two sisters and that’s pretty much it.
This book had a promising start with the description of Katie and Michaela’s life in the city and how they were serious dancers studying ballet. I love New York so whenever I read about it I will usually get completely enraptured. I love to imagine what it would be like to live there and this book portrayed a really good picture of life in the city.
HOWEVER, once I really got to know the characters I realized something… I did not like either one of these girls! Katie was a naive and selfish 14 year-old, and 17 year-old Michaela came off as an ungrateful bitch. Sounds harsh, but it’s true! The first time this smacked me in the face was when this little exchange happened:
“‘Katie,’ she says. ‘You’re my other half. My sister. The closest person in the world to me.’
‘Same here,’ I say softening as I smile through my tears […]
‘And you’ll always be my sister,’ Michaela goes on. ‘But… you’re not my friend.’”
Ummmmm…. What?!? Why would you say something like that? Not only does she contradict herself with first saying that Katie her other half and that they’re so close, but she also contradicts what we have seen of her character so far. Sure, we are seeing things through Katie’s naive and biased eyes, but up until then we had NO reason to think that Michaela didn’t value their friendship as much as Katie did. Once they move Michaela completely shuns Katie and cuts her out of her life. Very mean indeed. Michaela also becomes unbelievably annoying. She calls people “babe” (gag) and becomes a stupid girl who will give it up to the first quarterback that comes swaggering on by. There is also an air of “poor little rich girl” surrounding Michaela, although their family is not wealthy. Sure, she is put under enormous amounts of pressure from her mother to become a professional ballerina, BUT she admitted that she loves dancing, she is privileged enough to be trained at a prestigious ballet school and she’s got a true shot at Juilliard. But the moment that dancing becomes “work” she wants to give up and go to a community college. OKAY.
Katie’s naivety also got on my nerves because it really didn’t take a genius to figure out what was going on. First of all the shock that she had when seeing her sister interact with other people made me want to smack her in the face. *GASP* Your sister knows how to talk to guys?!? Really? Your sister is putting on jeans and makeup and hangs out with friends? What is so shocking about all of this? This aspect of Katie’s character goes hand in hand with her complete inability to talk to people and how rude she is. Exhibit A: a cute boy named Sullivan talks to her and helps her up when she trips. What does Katie do? She doesn’t say anything and just WALKS AWAY. Exhibit B: Soon-to-be-friend Autumn is the only nice person to her on her first day of school and asks her if she wants to walk to class together. She says no and WALKS AWAY. Needless to say it’s not hard to see why Katie isn’t adjusting to her new home.
Two other little notes:
1. The parents. I didn’t understand why Michaela felt she needed to keep EVERYTHING from her parents, namely the fact that she had a boyfriend. Yeah, her mom is controlling, but I never got the impression she’d be opposed to her daughters having a love life. As long as they weren’t distracted too much from dancing.
2. Of course when Katie and Michaela return to the city after 3 months Katie realizes the city isn’t as perfect as she remembered it was and somewhat longs for her quieter town and new friends. Please. You spent your entire life in New York with your friends and all it takes is 3 months in the country for you to decide that it’s actually horrible? Take it from a girl who’s moved A LOT. It doesn’t work that way.
The last thing I want to complain about in this book was the feeling that the strings were not completely tied tight enough for my taste. It’s not an open ending or anything like that, but all the little things that were running throughout the novel get solved in the most anti-climactic way possible. Here is a list of all these unsatisfying solutions.
- Katie likes a boy named Jasper. It’s obvious he kind of likes her too. How does is end? “Maybe we could go skating sometime.” “Yeah, maybe” BYE. SEE YA LATER.
- Cute possibility of a relationship between Katie’s neighbour, Emmaline and her gym teacher. Does anything come of it? NOPE.
- Katie finds out that Michaela lost her virginity. Any big confrontation? Do the girls ever talk about it? NOPE. On the last page just “What does sex feel like?” “Umm. Scary and nice and stuff, let’s talk in my room sometime and I’ll teach you all about it!” Okay.
PHEW. So after ALL of that you may be wondering why I didn’t just give this book one teacup and be done with it. The truth is there were a couple things I did like about this book. First, it was extremely readable and it didn’t take me long to finish it. Secondly I did enjoy the character of Emmaline. Emmaline is a young yoga instructor who has travelled a lot and becomes a sort of confidant for Katie. I wish her character was a little more developed and interacted with Katie a little more, but I did really like her. She was the most relatable character in the book for me, even though we don’t really find out all that much about her, and when we do get a little snippet of her history it’s in the last 10 pages…
Finally I already mentioned that I loved the parts of the book that were set in New York. Just the image of ballerinas studying and performing in New York City, living in an apartment in the East Village, ordering Chinese food, and hurrying to catch the subway appealed to my daydream of living as a young woman in the Big Apple. Loved it!
So to end this incredibly long review, I wouldn’t really recommend this book to anyone over the age of 13. Even so I wouldn’t really recommend this to anyone. If you do want to read it, there are some great reviews on Goodreads, but the only thing I can say is that it’s a quick read so thankfully it won’t take you long to get it over with.
You can learn more about Aimee Friedman and her books by visiting her website here –> http://www.aimeefriedmanbooks.com/