To Read or Not to Read?

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

Note: I received a free advanced copy of My Sister Rosa from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. And then I forgot to send it to my Kindle and eventually checked it out from my library nearly a year later. So yes, I’m completely failing at actually reading my NetGalley books before they’re published. Probably defeats the purpose of getting an advanced copy. Maybe one day I’ll get better at this.

Since I waited so long to actually getting around to reading it I’d had a chance to hear lots of good things about My Sister Rosa. And I’d already been really intrigued by it. A male Australian narrator with a younger sister who he’s pretty certain is a psychopath? It sounded interesting and kind of terrifying! Only, it wasn’t.

Che was a decent enough narrator. I liked seeing his inner thoughts and confusion and the mixed feelings of “I hate my family” and “I must protect my family at all costs.” That seemed normal in a less than normal household. But the writing style was slow and languid. I honestly felt like not much happened even once I hit the ending and everything was going on at once.

Yes, Rosa did some very bad things and more or less acted like a robot with no emotions of feelings most of the time but I didn’t feel the sense of horror that I was expecting. When a book description contains phrases like “what if the most terrifying person you know is your ten-year-old sister?” I expect to feel terrified. I figured the narrator was going to feel terrified and that would leak over to me. Instead Che, and I, just felt resigned. Like “well she’s crazy and even my family doesn’t see it so whatever.”

It was just not what I was expecting.



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