Verdict: Funny and beautiful, strange and sad, THE SUNGOD'S SISTER is the sort of YA novel that adults would enjoy just as much as their younger counterparts.
Mary could not be much more different from her older sister. A small, strange precocious child with a gift for art, she loves her pet turtle and making superhero and supervillain action figures make peace with one another. Teenage Seren is a wild child, with a love of various narcotics and a penchant for getting thrown out of school. Almost no one in the world understands these two girls, except one another. Together they form an intense empathic bond with Ulysses, Mary’s pet turtle, and confront a neighborhood creep.
D McLaren’s THE SUNGOD’S SISTER doesn’t really have a plot per se, and that’s just fine. Mary and Seren are great characters, and theirs is a genuinely beautiful story. The book is mostly from their point of view, and their worlds are both great places to inhabit. Mary’s world is one of a simple but beautiful mythology, paired with a constant curiosity about the world and informed by apparent psychic communications with her turtle: “With Ulysses, there’s no before,” she says. “There’s no after. It’s all forever.” Seren, about a decade older, is cynical and world-weary, but in many ways no less clever, even as she constantly embroils herself in all kinds of trouble.
This book is very much a slice-of-life kind of story. The sisters’ interactions with their parents, friends, and the Catholic school they attend, making for a rich and rewarding reading experience. The girls are both very funny people, and reading about their exploits one cannot help but feel they are family. THE SUNGOD’S SISTER is much like the protagonists’ pet turtle: mysterious and ineffable, seemingly inert, but actually filled with a strange and subtle kind of magic.
Funny and beautiful, strange and sad, THE SUNGOD’S SISTER is the sort of YA novel that adults would enjoy just as much as their younger counterparts.
~Charles Baker for IndieReader