The Year My Sister Got Lucky

 
(i)

 

A standard plot strengthened by sisterly bonds.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some of the ballet dancers are so thin that when they walk by, mothers whisper, "eating disorder." A teacher makes inappropriate comments to students. Katie's parents keep secrets from her, and Michaela lies to her parents. Katie snoops through her sister's IM log.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Michaela (17) has sex with her boyfriend using birth control -- not explicitly described. A friend sends her an email: "Congratulations on no longer being a virgin." Katie asks how sex feels and Michaela says, "Kind of weird and scary at first, but then better. It can be special, if you make good decisions." She also offers to educate Katie about condoms: "If I'm not going to give it to you straight, who will?"

Language

Very mild: "pissed off," "bitch."

Consumerism

Many mentions of brand names in fashion, food, perfume, stores, coffee and drink shops, Web sites, electronics, and magazines.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Michaela jokes about spiking hot chocolate with whiskey; before she realizes her sister is kidding, Katie is thrilled by the forbidden but worried about their parents finding out. Michaela starts smoking cigarettes because her friends do; this is presented as rebellious because dancers shouldn't smoke. Their ballet instructor smokes and says "but I'm old."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book features a rather old-fashioned plot, with teen sex serving as a "shocking" secret; smoking is portrayed as a rebellious act. Despite the suggestive title, the sex is pretty tame; Nothing is explicit, they're in a committed relationship, and they use birth control.

What's the story?

Katie, 14, and her 17-year-old sister Michaela thrive in the fast pace of New York City, where they attend a prestigious ballet school. Then their mom's new job requires a sudden move to a rural town. This leaves fashion-plate Katie warily facing a dragonfly (she attempts to annihilate it with bug spray), a deer in her front yard, and a cute boy in her homeroom class. Michaela, in contrast, embraces their new surroundings, befriending the popular crowd and dating the school's hot quarterback. Katie, accustomed to sharing everything with her big sis, feels left out and homesick -- especially when she discovers Michaela is hiding some major secrets.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Readers who prefer the mall to a park may find Katie's small-town travails humorous (she is horrified by the very idea of camping) but for many, her whining will grow tedious. Indeed, a friend tells her, "Your princess act does get a little old after a while." (In a genuine moment, Katie spits back, "It's not an act. This is how I am . . . I don't wear flannel.")

When Katie (the first-person narrator) stops complaining long enough to actually do something, the book zips along more pleasantly. The plot is standard-issue (a teen asserts her independence, a fish out of water realizes her new home isn't so bad after all, a little sister discovers the big sister she worships isn't perfect), but the sisterly bond is appealing. Michaela offers advice and big-sister sighs as she strives to create her own life, setting boundaries for both her nosy sister and their controlling mother.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Katie and Michaela's family keeps so many secrets. Katie's parents withhold important information from her, supposedly so she won't get upset. How do all these lies and secrets affect their relationships? Families can also discuss how and why a passion (such as Michaela's dancing, or other sports or hobbies) can stop being fun, and what parents can do to help teens feel less pressured.

Book details

Author:Aimee Friedman
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Point
Publication date:January 25, 2008
Number of pages:370
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 14

This review of The Year My Sister Got Lucky was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byxchocolate3 March 31, 2011
 

Perfect for 11 or more years old.

I loved this book!!! :D
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 14 years old Written byOGORMAN May 21, 2010
 

Good for girls with sisters just a few years younger than themselves.

Michaela has sex with her boyfriend, and Katie later finds out after reading her sister's email. There are very mild uses of cussing, but otherwise it should be fine. An older women and some teens smoke cigarettes fairly consistently. The strength of the sisters' bond is tested by many different things that happen in the book. I would especially recommend this story to those girls who have an older or younger sister within a few years of their own age.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byKatherineLovesJake August 12, 2010
 

GREAT book

love it! sex isnt anything anyone older than 10 or 11 doesnt know about! when i was 10, i was mildly curious about the subject,and because my parents didnt want to talk about it, i turned to books. and now, at age 13, im not a virgin, and im very grateful to all the books i read about it in. these kind of books really help ppl understand that sex isnt bad, it just isnt wise to do while youre young. and she used a condom and was on birth control,and shes 17,so she made smart descisions. great role models, great book. - Katherine
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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