Wednesday 6 July 2011

Brother/Sister - Sean Olin

Brother/Sister – Sean Olin

Pages: 242 (ARC)
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Release Date: 4th August 2011

Other Titles by this Author: Killing Britney

Sensational and compelling

How many times do I have to say it? Yes, I see the picture. It’s a body, obviously. It’s a dead body.

You have to understand, I love my brother. I’m scared of him too, but...regardless of what he has or hasn’t done, I feel for him, you know.

I don’t care what happens to me, really, I don’t. But Asheley...she had nothing to do with any of this.

It’s not like it sounds. He had a good heart. He trusted me. And I always did the best I could to help him.

It’s not her fault. None of it. Okay then. The guy in the photo. I killed him...but I had to. I had no choice. Why? That’s complicated. That’ll take a while.

I hadn’t read a single review of Brother/Sister before picking it up. I went solely on the very intriguing premise...

Both Asheley and Will change dramatically change throughout the course of the novel. Will began as a volatile and angry boy who seemed to be bordering autistic, but essentially, kind-hearted even though we’re told in the summary that he had murdered someone, he developed a sense of mania and danger. Asheley is a normal girl from an extraordinary family. She wants exactly what every other girl wants from high school: friends, a social life and a good relationship with her boyfriend. Instead gets a brother who the whole school thinks is a freak, an alcoholic mum and a dad who walked out on them when she was very little. But I was fascinated by how differently they saw themselves to how the other saw them. Sometimes the differences were staggering.

The second person, direct address that Brother/Sister is written in so unusual that it immediately grabbed my attention. In both perspectives of the dual narrative, our protagonists, Asheley and Will, are telling their story directly to us which I love. But as the story started to gain momentum I began to see how differently Asheley and Will saw and recorded their story. By the end of the novel I knew I had two unreliable narrators on my hands and with the final line, which I read about four times over trying to get it straight in my mind, I wasn’t completely sure of what did and didn’t happen.

I don't quite know what I was expecting from Brother/Sister¸ but what I definitely wasn’t expecting was the uncertainty. With the two unreliable narrators, the misrepresentations of each other and such unpredictable characters, I often had no idea at all where Sean Olin was taking me. This surprised me as the story was so clearly set up in the summary and the initial few chapters, but Brother/Sister continually threw me off which shocking events and revelations.

Brother/Sister is just as compelling and fascinating as it proclaims in the synopsis and I’m very excited for more people to discover it.

Thanks to Razorbill for sending me a copy to review.



  1. This sounds SO FREAKING GOOD. Great review!!!

  2. Unreliable characters? Wow. I've never read anything like that before. This sounds really awesome; thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. That is one fantastic review. Thank you. I am not sure if it would be suitable for my library but think I am going to try to get it anyway :D

  4. Thanks for this really intriguing review!

  5. Just finished reading this today. As you said, the unreliable narration really throws you off, but it was amazing for it. Especially because, at the beginning, it didn't occur to me that I COULDN'T believe what was being said. As time passed, it was more Will's POV I began not to trust.

    And, well. Loved this book. ;)

  6. The last forty or so pages boggled my mind - in a good way. I found Will's POV more reliable as - even though his paranoia was slowly driving him mad - you could see his motivations and pick out the threads of truth within his account. Asheley, on the other hand - is she as remorseful as she claims? Or does she wish to appear the innocent victim and exaggerates her version to glean sympathy? Whatever your interpretation, a definite must-read and I say that as someone who stumbled on it by mere chance!

  7. Looking at the synopsis above really made me curious to read a full story of the novel. It could be a little bit horrible I guess if the story linked to a suicide case. But still nice instead. How can I get this book ? I am far away leaving from your country..


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