Friday, August 21, 2009

Enchanting Review: Sisters In Sanity

YA contemporary
Harper Collins
ISBN #978-0-06-088749-0
290 pages
Trade paperback Available now

Rating: 4.5 Enchantments

Sixteen-year-old Brit Hemphill, just wants to play in her band. Life hasn’t been the same since the Step monster joined the family. Brit doesn’t realize how bad things will get until a so-called promised family trip to the Grand Canyon turns into a trip to a remote, all-girl, residential treatment center for troubled teens. Brit is devastated by her father’s betrayal. Once at the center, she finds other inmates’ who become her friends and help try to find a way out of the prison-like institution.

This edgy tale shows the pain and anger of a girl who is tricked by her father into going to a boot camp for out of control teenagers. Brit’s reaction to being in the camp and her refusal to accept the counselor’s diagnosis of her so-called problem rang true. The language at times is raw but also very realistic of what might be the reaction to anyone suddenly locked up in a prison like building. Forman does a great job getting the reader inside and letting us see the horrors of so-called ‘tough’ love. The girls are exposed to harsh criticisms of their so-called problems in order for them to reform. Instead, it only makes them resent not only the camp but their parents as well.

I really liked how Forman doesn’t show the typical stereotypical troubled teen. No,
Brit’s character is not the usual angry punk rocker, but a girl that is struggling with the pain of her father’s betrayal and the fear that she might become like her paranoid schizophrenic mother. Brit learns to open up to some of the other girls at the camp and together they put together a secret sisterhood club in order to survive from the indifferent counselors at the camp. The other girls in the institution are also multilayered. I especially liked how Brit slowly learns to trust and how she decides to take matters into her own hands. Those who loved IMPULSE will also enjoy SISTERS IN SANITY.

Gayle Forman lives in New York City with her husband and daughter. Find out more at

August 2009

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