Wednesday, 10 February 2016

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier
Published January 27, 2016 by Allen & Unwin
Source: the publisher
Rating: 4 stars

From the blurb: Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control.Che's little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che's convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn't hurt anyone yet, but he's certain it's just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world - and the world from Rosa?

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier is set in New York City. Seventeen year old Che Taylor has just moved there with his parents, and his ten year old sister, Rosa. It's been two years since he's been home to Sydney, and five years since they've lived anywhere permanently. Che just wants to go home, hang out with his friends, spar, and find a girlfriend. Unfortunately looking after Rosa keeps him busy. His anxiety about what she'll do next d only increases when they meet the McBrunight family and Rosa sets her sights on the twins, Seimone and Maya.

The characters in this book were so well done, I immediately felt for Che, I could feel the weight of responsibility he shouldered for Rosa. His parents are aware of some of her issues; she was a slow developer, she would tell lies in public to get them in trouble, and she's seen many doctors, but each time Rosa figures out how she should react and her parents believe she's cured. Che holds back so many unspoken words whether it comes to Rosa's actions or his boxing. He really struggles because he loves his sister and wants to believe she can change.

I liked that Che had a hobby that kept him busy, and that he maintained contact with his friends in Sydney via text. He also develops a love interest that brings out his insecurities and shows how kind and caring he is. These aspects made him seem all the more real.

Despite being on his side, there were enough clues that made me wonder if Che was going to turn out to be an unreliable narrator, I started looking for twists and turns, sure that everything I presumed would be wrong. The ending was interesting, but it was not wholly surprising and I think I was expecting a bit more, something bigger and more sinister.

My Sister Rosa is a clever, creepy, and thought-provoking YA thriller.

Thank you to Allen & Unwin for my review copy.

I loved the faded tone of this cover and thought I'd give matching nails a go. I decided to skip the hands and just paint the sparrow.

I started with a white base coat and then sponged on Nail It! Matte Grey. On the top of each nail I sponged on a small amount of China Glaze Elephant Walk.

I used a fine brush and acrylic paint for the sparrow.


  1. I've been wanting to read more thrillers lately Mands so thank you for bringing this one to my attention. I love that it's set in New York, I'm sure reading it will make me feel nostalgic about the city. Oh and your man is fantastic, the detail in the bird is exquisite!! ♥


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