Raina Telgemeier’s Smile was universally loved among my middle school students, and so I was excited to read Sisters, which is billed as a companion graphic novel. Sisters chronicles a family roadtrip in what looks like an old VW Van, and also the relationship of Raina to her younger sister, Amara, who turns out to be quite an interesting personality in her own right. Amara’s fascination with things that Reina deems “gross” along with cramming a large family into a two bedroom apartment cause tensions to rise. Even their mutual love for artwork drives the sisters apart.
The strengths of this graphic novel are the character of Amara, who could carry a book of her own, and Telgemeier’s expressive drawings, which are perfect for the age group of the story. I wanted to know how the difficulties in the parents’ marriage were resolved and found that dropping that bomb in the middle of the story and not following up on it in any way was not satisfying. In all, the themes here are common and relatable, and parents could probably gain an hour or two of peace by purchasing a copy of this novel before hitting the open road. Or maybe two—because no one really likes sharing.