“This is the year we are haunted. What? This is the year, as any other, in which we are friendless, necessary only to ourselves,” (Johnson 5).
Sisters July and September are as close as can be. Born ten months apart they do everything together, depend on one another, will do anything for the other. After a bullying incident at their school the girls move away with their single mother to a faraway home that belongs to their long dead father’s family. Isolated and in a new area and feeling detached from their mother, July finds the connection she and September share change in unsettling ways as revelations of their past and future come to light.
Sisters was a very fast read. It’s light horror, not a lot of terrifying things happen but Johnson does an excellent job building an uneasy atmosphere during the book. It’s a true haunted house narrative and I actually liked how it wasn’t full out chills and creeps, just subtle and slow and eerie. Aside from the perfectly eerie atmosphere Johnson included, I also really enjoyed the characters. July and September have such a messed up dynamic and Johnson shows an unsettling portrayal of a toxic codependent relationship and I thought it was interesting to see shown through siblings. I loved July as a character and with certain revelations in the story it really does leave a sick feeling in your gut once you finish reading it that is truly tragic. I just wish there was more time for readers to sit on what happens before the story ends.
That being said it wasn’t a perfect read. For whatever reason Johnson includes some chapters from the mother’s perspective that really didn’t fit in a book focusing on two sisters, they weren’t bad or anything and they didn’t feel out of place, it just doesn’t make sense to include in the middle of the story. I’ll also say that my main criticism is that any story with sisters in a codependent relationship seems to end the same way. That’s not to say that the revelation isn’t well executed, Johnson does include another twist I wasn’t really expecting in the end. I was just looking for a little more.
Sisters is a quick read and a great haunted house narrative that makes reader’s feel the wrongness of the house, but I do wish books about sisters had some different endings than the ones audiences always see
Publication: August 25th 2020
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Pages: 224 pages (Hardcover)
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Horror, Gothic
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤
“Born just ten months apart, July and September are thick as thieves, never needing anyone but each other. Now, following a case of school bullying, the teens have moved away with their single mother to a long-abandoned family home near the shore. In their new, isolated life, July finds that the deep bond she has always shared with September is shifting in ways she cannot entirely understand. A creeping sense of dread and unease descends inside the house. Meanwhile, outside, the sisters push boundaries of behavior—until a series of shocking encounters tests the limits of their shared experience, and forces shocking revelations about the girls’ past and future.”