The Almost Sisters
With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy--an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother's affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she's pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she's got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie's been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family's freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.

The Almost Sisters Details

TitleThe Almost Sisters
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherWilliam Morrow
ISBN006210571X
ISBN-139780062105714
Number of pages352 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit, American, Southern, Adult, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Adult Fiction, Family

The Almost Sisters Review

  • Will Byrnes
    February 2, 2017
    My whole life I’d seen only one. I loved my South, though I could see how it was broken, plagued still with the legacies of slavery and war and segregation, history and a thousand unseen walls divided up the territory so that we had a black Baptist church and a white one, and the narrow aisle between the color-coded lunch tables at the high school was invisibly a chasm filled with dragons. Still, I always thought my homeland was a single place. I was wrong. The South was like that optical ill My whole life I’d seen only one. I loved my South, though I could see how it was broken, plagued still with the legacies of slavery and war and segregation, history and a thousand unseen walls divided up the territory so that we had a black Baptist church and a white one, and the narrow aisle between the color-coded lunch tables at the high school was invisibly a chasm filled with dragons. Still, I always thought my homeland was a single place. I was wrong. The South was like that optical illusion drawing of the duck that is at the same time a rabbit. I’d always see the duck first, his round eye cheery and his bill seeming to smile. But if I shifted my gaze, the duck’s bill morphed into flattened, worried ears. The cheery eye, reversed, held fear, and I could see only a stolen rabbit. The Souths were like that drawing, both existed themselves, but they were so merged that I could shift from one and find myself inside the other without moving, Leia Birch Briggs, 38, single, living in Norfolk, VA, is a comic book artist with a Dark Horse contract to write an origin story for her successful graphic novel. She learns that her grandmother, the family matriarch lovingly known as Birchie, showed that she had lost a few marbles at a church event when she made a public comment about some private, and illicit goings on in the choir robe room. Just a teency bit out of character for the very proper grande dame of the Alabama town that had been established by her grandfather. This makes it a big week for Leia, who has just learned that that Dark Knight with whom she had somewhat drunkenly hooked up at an Atlanta Comic convention had given her another origin story to think about, a bi-racial one. And her step-sister has just thrown her husband out of their home. Leia heads to Birchville to see to granny, get the old house cleared out and Birchie placed where she can be looked after. But things get complicated when a long locked trunk is opened and an ancient secret comes to light. Have a nice day. Joshlyn Jackson’s The Almost Sisters uses a few biological/emotional pairings to highlight the underlying dichotomy of the South, a place that can offer the comforting warmth of caring community atop an undertow of ancient bigotry. Leia and her step-sister Rachel struggle with their competitiveness, forged very early when Leia’s mother married Rachel’s father. Leia’s father had met an untimely end, a victim of a DUI. 90-year-old Birchie is bound at the hip to her lifelong bff, Wattie Price, the daughter of a family servant, but the best and closest friend Birchie has ever had. There are other bits of mirroring as well, fiscally dubious heads of household faring poorly in the managing of their family’s finances, for example. And much more is to be seen through Leia’s work.Joshilyn Jackson - from Atlanta MagazineThroughout the novel, Leia struggles to concoct an origin story for her Violence in Violet graphic novel. The insights Leia gains, to her relationship with her step-sister, to her relationship with her expected arrival, to the fetus’s baby-daddy, and to her appreciation for the contradictions within her beloved South find an outlet in her drawing. Each relationship has an origin story, and in looking at the individual tales Jackson compiles a portrait of a place, a time, and how it got to be the way it is. Both the hominess of this small Southern town and the darkness of some of the underlying attitudes offer a challenge for Leia as she uses her insight to the place to maneuver her way through the sundry challenges she faces.In her recent novel about racism, Small Great Things, Jodi Picoult went with a full-on courtroom drama to cast a spotlight on what racism looks like. Joshilyn Jackson was born and raised there and lives there today. She knows it well. Her approach is to offer a very smart look at the layers that co-exist there, using very relatable people dealing with their family problems. And not only are the layers considered, but one’s ability to perceive what is right there is called into question. There is drama, to be sure, but it is not of the ripped-from-the-headlines sort. Readers of Jackson’s earlier work know that she has a fondness for blended families and will not be disappointed here as she does mix-and-match, putting together pieces of families to make a functional whole. It works well, as it has in her earlier novels. She also has a affection for adolescent female characters and includes one here, as well as looking back at the past of some who are long past their teens. Faith usually provides one of the pillars of Jackson novels. There is certainly some of that here, but it seems that it is more in the communal aspect of faith, the public, rather than the contemplative element. The two old ladies belong to two town churches, one primarily black and one primarily white. Differing beliefs do not much enter into things, but social separations do. Leia has it in mind that the old South will give way to a newer, more inclusive, more blended version. We can only hope she is right. Joshilyn Jackson has once again written a moving novel, one that engages with wonderfully-drawn characters and informs with astute and sensitive observation of a complex culture. Whether you originated in the South or somewhere else, this trip to Birchville, where the old South is facing up to the New South, is one that is very much worth taking. Review posted – 2/3/17Publication date – 7/11/17=============================EXTRA STUFFLinks to the author’s personal, Twitter, and FB pagesReviews of other Jackson work-----Someone Else's Love Story-----The Opposite of Everyone
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  • Diane S ☔
    April 21, 2017
    I adore this author, will read anything she writes. How many author can combine the grace and elegance of the south while deftly showing many of the issues that are still apparent underneath the charming veneer. Can combine the devastating effects of lewey bodies, Batman, sex crazed rabbits, a graphic artist, old bones and a church supper where the wrong food is served with humorous results and make it all work. I laughed so hard and will never look at salmon quite the same way again. She uses a I adore this author, will read anything she writes. How many author can combine the grace and elegance of the south while deftly showing many of the issues that are still apparent underneath the charming veneer. Can combine the devastating effects of lewey bodies, Batman, sex crazed rabbits, a graphic artist, old bones and a church supper where the wrong food is served with humorous results and make it all work. I laughed so hard and will never look at salmon quite the same way again. She uses a light, gentle tone, a great deal of humor while dealing with some very real issues. Sisterhood, bigotry, family and fatherhood, in all its permutations, are the underlying themes. Weighty subjects, all handled with humor and a great deal of tenderness and love. The characters are wonderful, worm their way into your heart, unforgettable. Entertainment and realism side by side, so well done. The ending, maybe a little schmaltzy, but for me it was apropos and while there was an ending, there was also a beginning. ARC from publisher.Releases July 11th from William Morris.
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    June 29, 2017
    I have been eagerly anticipating a new JJ book for what feels like eternity and I'm finally reading it! Cue the Kleenex and the cheezits; here I come. ❤ I have been eagerly anticipating a new JJ book for what feels like eternity and I'm finally reading it! Cue the Kleenex and the cheezits; here I come. ❤️
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  • Joshilyn Jackson
    November 23, 2016
    With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.
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  • Lori
    June 3, 2017
    I have wanted to read Joshilyn Jackson for awhile now and was thrilled to get my hands on her newest novel. There were aspects of this I enjoyed; the feisty southern ladies, the quaint southern town and the mystery of the bones. The comic book part, however, for me just didn't fit in the story. Overall, 3.5 stars.
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  • Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
    January 15, 2017
    FULL REVIEW COMING IN JULY.An excerpt from my review is below:"THE ALMOST SISTERS is a touching, endearing book about family.I would recommend THE ALMOST SISTERS to readers who enjoy Southern living and adorable characters you wish you could spend some time with and will miss once you turn the last page." FULL REVIEW COMING IN JULY.An excerpt from my review is below:"THE ALMOST SISTERS is a touching, endearing book about family.I would ​recommend THE ALMOST SISTERS to readers who enjoy Southern living and adorable characters you wish you could spend some time with and will miss once you turn the last page."
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  • Patty
    January 3, 2017
    What it's all about...Leia has a complicated relationship with her perfect stepsister Rachel. I think it would seriously spoil this incredible book if I gave potential readers any serious details. Just know that Leia's life changes after meeting someone at a comic festival and Rachel's life changes because of her husband. They both end up in Birchville, Alabama at Leia's grandmother's house. Birchville and Leia's grandmother and Leia's grandmother's best friend Wattie are the heart of this story What it's all about...Leia has a complicated relationship with her perfect stepsister Rachel. I think it would seriously spoil this incredible book if I gave potential readers any serious details. Just know that Leia's life changes after meeting someone at a comic festival and Rachel's life changes because of her husband. They both end up in Birchville, Alabama at Leia's grandmother's house. Birchville and Leia's grandmother and Leia's grandmother's best friend Wattie are the heart of this story. Why I wanted to read it...I love this author's work and this book sounded really great. What made me truly enjoy this book...The writing, the complex issues, the characters, the town...all of these made this book truly wonderful.Why you should read it, too...Readers who are familiar with this author and enjoy her writing will love this book. New readers of this author can easily start with this book and love her work. I am going back to find some of her books that I missed! I can't wait!
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  • Lolly K Dandeneau
    June 26, 2017
    via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“Up until now she’d been so protected; she hadn’t known that no one grew up without collecting dings ad broken edges. I hated standing witness to this first hard blow, hated hearing the shiver and crack of her faith.”Much like what her niece Lavender is now facing, Leia Birch Briggs has been subjected to life’s many dings and fractures, of family, of friendship and now of her grandma Birchie’s mind. Channeling her life experiences through her su via my blog: https://bookstalkerblog.wordpress.com/“Up until now she’d been so protected; she hadn’t known that no one grew up without collecting dings ad broken edges. I hated standing witness to this first hard blow, hated hearing the shiver and crack of her faith.”Much like what her niece Lavender is now facing, Leia Birch Briggs has been subjected to life’s many dings and fractures, of family, of friendship and now of her grandma Birchie’s mind. Channeling her life experiences through her successfully popular comic book character (because certainly her family life offers much food for comic book creations) she should be on top of the world. So it is with a smitten fan dressed as Batman that she has a wild night, one that has left her ‘knocked up’. Just how will she tell her ‘Southern’ family that she is having a biracial baby? Rachel’s (her step-sister) marriage is crumbling, their relationship is strained at best so she can’t quite come sweeping in to save the day. JJ has betrayed Rachel, but years ago he betrayed Leia first, by changing, by forgetting how much he meant to her. He isn’t the only obstacle that has stood between the sisters for years. The competition to be loved by their mother and Keith (Rachel’s father) is a crack in the family home. This very family structure, feeling like the less stable sister, not as beautiful nor as popular, her comic book character has been a way to create a different self. A purging of the emotional chaos through art, Leia has been borrowing from her life, bleeding wounds become colorful saturated characters that live far better lives than she. Embracing her inner nerd as Rachel already nailed glamour and stability she is stunned by the collapse of perfect Rachel’s marriage. Despite the resentment, Rachel is still family and her niece Lavender needs her. Leia will be the one stable adult in the stinking mess JJ and Rachel have made, even if it means reluctantly dragging her niece along toward the madness that awaits them in Alabama.Off she and Lavender go, back to Leia’s family home. Leia’s grandma Birchie is losing her mind, living with her beloved best friend Wattie whose family had been their servants. But Wattie is family, hiding how bad things have gotten, trying to keep both she and Birchie’s head above water. Leia thinks she is coming to put things in order, just as her own life is chaos. Nothing could prepare her for the real monsters in the attic! In the grand family home, even well to do, prominent families have skeletons. Just how long can darkness hide from the light of exposure? Just how much truth can Leia handle? How is she to tell her family about her own secrets, track down her baby’s daddy (does she even want to) when Birchie’s secrets threaten to swallow the entire town? Could be in trouble with the law? Just how does her teenage niece become the sole person she is opening herself up to, sorting through her very adult problems?This south is still split between it’s racist past and it’s changing future. In the deep, sisterly bond Wattie (black) and Birchie (white) share their skin color shouldn’t matter but it always has been a divide in their lives. Black and white, meant to be separate yet living parallel lives, shamed by the things fathers do, born on the side of ‘superiority’ or not, some people chose for themselves to see a different world, and to love as they will, rules be damned. That to this day, Leia has to think about what having a biracial baby means, more an issue for others, is a shame that shadows the beauty of the south. The novel reaches into race issues of the past, and the present but it’s also a dissection of families that are thrown together. It’s about the strong bonds of sisterhood that aren’t always created through blood, as with Wattie and Birchie. Rachel and Leia’s relationship needs just as much love and care but insecurities and needs somehow became a vast distance neither could cross, until now. Sometimes it takes ruptures in one’s world to see how much you mean to each other.Will Leia be reunited with Batman? Will Lavender be able to glue her parents back together? Will Birchie just become another mad old southern woman, or worse be forced into an old folks home? Will Birchie and Wattie tell their decades old secret once and for all? Well you have to read. Dark and heavy at times, silly and fun, it’s everything,Publication Date: July 11, 2017Harper CollinsWilliam Morrow
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  • Thea Fransen
    May 24, 2017
    What fun! This is my first book by Joshilyn Jackson and I'm putting her on "my shelf" of go-to authors. The ones who can write a story that grabs you from the first page, maintain loveable characters and good quality writing in a fast read. Can't wait to go back and read her others.
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  • Jenny
    April 25, 2017
    Beautifully crafted and heart-piercingly poignant. THE ALMOST SISTERS is Joshilyn Jackson at the height of her literary powers. A must-read.
  • Charlotte Lynn
    June 26, 2017
    WOW! We start with Leia finding out she got pregnant after one night with Batman. Yeah, Batman. That is just the first part of The Almost Sisters. There are a few different storylines intertwined, yet it all comes together perfectly. Leia returns to Alabama to help her Grandmother, who has been hiding her Alzheimer’s, get her life in order and be sure she is safe. When she arrives at her Grandmother’s house she finds more than what she expected. She finds her grandmother and her best friend have WOW! We start with Leia finding out she got pregnant after one night with Batman. Yeah, Batman. That is just the first part of The Almost Sisters. There are a few different storylines intertwined, yet it all comes together perfectly. Leia returns to Alabama to help her Grandmother, who has been hiding her Alzheimer’s, get her life in order and be sure she is safe. When she arrives at her Grandmother’s house she finds more than what she expected. She finds her grandmother and her best friend have been keeping secrets for years from her. Add to this that her step-sister, Rachel, is having problems with her husband. Oh, and don’t forget she is still pregnant by Batman. I should mention that Batman is black and Leia is white. One of Leia’s fears is raising a mixed race baby in the south. While in this small town she sees how big the racial divide really is and it brings her fear of raising her baby in the south. Joshilyn Jackson is a go-to author for me. With The Almost Sisters I was not disappointed. I cannot wait for more from her.
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  • Melanie Johnson
    April 16, 2017
    I love all of Joshilyn Jackson's books, and this one is no exception. It is hard to describe this book without giving too much away, but it is a Southern novel with real world problems. As a true Southern Belle myself, I read a lot of Southern chick-lit and most of it is pretty light reading, i.e., crotchety older "grandma" type, sweet Southern girl, family drama, lots of food, Southern slang and a nice tidy ending. Joshilyn adds all of those things into her novels because she IS Southern, but t I love all of Joshilyn Jackson's books, and this one is no exception. It is hard to describe this book without giving too much away, but it is a Southern novel with real world problems. As a true Southern Belle myself, I read a lot of Southern chick-lit and most of it is pretty light reading, i.e., crotchety older "grandma" type, sweet Southern girl, family drama, lots of food, Southern slang and a nice tidy ending. Joshilyn adds all of those things into her novels because she IS Southern, but they don't define the book. This book touches on race and in the South, this is many times the elephant in the room. She talks about the two Souths: the idyllic one that many of us think we live in and the one that has the dark undercurrent of Civil War wounds that haven't healed. A great novel and one I've looked forward to for months. Thanks to Library Thing for the Advanced Copy!
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  • Jamie
    June 29, 2017
    I’ve been trying to write this review for days. Usually I can get my thoughts together and have something ready to go, but not the case with this one. I think I’m still trying to figure out how exactly I felt about this book. I guess I just need to give it a go…I will start with this. The narrator was really funny. She had quite a few hilarious lines and the ways she processed things made me chuckle on more than one occasion. I love a funny narrator. I appreciated the unique aspects of the story I’ve been trying to write this review for days. Usually I can get my thoughts together and have something ready to go, but not the case with this one. I think I’m still trying to figure out how exactly I felt about this book. I guess I just need to give it a go…I will start with this. The narrator was really funny. She had quite a few hilarious lines and the ways she processed things made me chuckle on more than one occasion. I love a funny narrator. I appreciated the unique aspects of the story (even if I thought her comic book story was added more than necessary, as it broke up the flow for me).But even with its unique bits, there were too many pieces that when all was revealed, I wasn’t impressed. I get what the author was working towards (and the issues she wanted to deal with), but I struggled. Maybe it was how the issues, like race, were dealt with, but overall I wasn’t much of a fan. I also know that’s vague, but don’t want to spoil anything.Have you read any of Jackson’s books?(Heads up: Adult themes and minor language)(This was a Summer pick for SheReads.org. Thank you to She Reads and William Morrow for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)Originally posted at: http://booksandbeverages.org/2017/06/...
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  • Belinda
    June 8, 2017
    This book was worth the sleep I lost staying up to finish it. Jackson is one of my favorite authors and it is because of her ability to entertain while tackling tough and relevant issues. In a discussion at the ALA Midwinter conference in Atlanta, Jackson said that this books was for all the geeks and fan-girls out there, those of us with Buffy the Vampire slayer ringtones and Wonder Wonder capes. She delivered on that, but she gave us so much more.I am a Georgia girl, born and bred. I have a lo This book was worth the sleep I lost staying up to finish it. Jackson is one of my favorite authors and it is because of her ability to entertain while tackling tough and relevant issues. In a discussion at the ALA Midwinter conference in Atlanta, Jackson said that this books was for all the geeks and fan-girls out there, those of us with Buffy the Vampire slayer ringtones and Wonder Wonder capes. She delivered on that, but she gave us so much more.I am a Georgia girl, born and bred. I have a lot of pride in my heritage, but there is a lot of shame intermingled with that pride. Jackson, with her discussion of two Souths, hits the nail squarely on the head of what it is like to be torn between two worlds, to simultaneously love something and know that it desperately needs to change. She hit on what is like to be the care-taker for aging and prideful family members, to be the black sheep in a family of perfection, and trying to cope when life throws us a curve-ball we weren't expecting. All wrapped up in a little mystery of bones in a trunk.
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  • Nise'
    May 21, 2017
    Leia Birch Briggs's life is upside down. She has contracted to write a prequel of her popular graphic novel and has absolutely no ideas. The reports she is getting about her Grandmother are distressing. Leia is on her way to get things in order to move her grandmother to assisted living. On top of all this she is pregnant from a one night stand and has no idea how to contact the baby's father or tell her family. Because her stepsister's marriage is falling apart, Leia finds her 13 year old niece Leia Birch Briggs's life is upside down. She has contracted to write a prequel of her popular graphic novel and has absolutely no ideas. The reports she is getting about her Grandmother are distressing. Leia is on her way to get things in order to move her grandmother to assisted living. On top of all this she is pregnant from a one night stand and has no idea how to contact the baby's father or tell her family. Because her stepsister's marriage is falling apart, Leia finds her 13 year old niece Lavender coming along to with her. When she arrives she finds Birchie and her long time friend Wattie determined to fight her all the way on leaving the family home. Birchie and Wattie become desperate and try to escape, but a discovery sets off a chain of events that can't be stopped. Birchie and Wattie' story, at times heartbreaking, is told with humor and honesty. This author always delivers a great story with characters that you know are going to pull your heartstrings.
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  • Kay
    February 15, 2017
    I was lucky enough to get an advance reader copy of "The Almost Sisters". I saved it for a bit because I knew, that as in Joshilyn's other novels, I would get sucked in immediately and would want to have time to stay with it. It was a wonderful story with complex and likeable characters with layers of history and those emotional/psychological hang-ups that possess most of us from our childhood's naïveté and haunt us into adulthood. It's plots and sub-plots were rife with Southern charm and South I was lucky enough to get an advance reader copy of "The Almost Sisters". I saved it for a bit because I knew, that as in Joshilyn's other novels, I would get sucked in immediately and would want to have time to stay with it. It was a wonderful story with complex and likeable characters with layers of history and those emotional/psychological hang-ups that possess most of us from our childhood's naïveté and haunt us into adulthood. It's plots and sub-plots were rife with Southern charm and Southern realities that still today call us to pause and think of man's inhumanity."Sisters" was funny, tragic and satisfying as a novel. It had mystery, murder and love all set against small town dynamics and modern city super heroes. I learned about the phenomenon of "Fan Con," popular with those much younger than I, which I knew nothing about. I picked up some new words as well. Always a good thing. This may be Joshilyn's best book to date. I have read them all and I loved this one. This novel will leave you thinking about it days after you finish it and will probably call you to read it again.
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  • Kathryn
    June 25, 2017
    Review to follow
  • Beth Mcintyre
    February 19, 2017
    Flannery O'Connor in a Wonder Woman suit...one of the blurbs on the ARC calls her this, but I could have come up with it. Really! Okay, I might have said Olive Ann Burnes. But you get the picture. I've read a lot of fiction lately that has racism as a main theme. The Almost Sisters is the most realistic by far. It accurately portrays the Souths, both of them. Because they are the Souths I know, the Souths in which I grew up.
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  • Tracy
    May 21, 2017
    4.5. I'll have to listen to the audio when it's out, as I love Joshilyn's narration. I could hear her voice as I read, both in how she sounds but also in her unique writing style. It's rare to find writing so smart and beautiful and with such depth to the characters that I feel like I know them. She has a talent for bringing me into the world she's created like few other authors. I've loved Joshilyn's work from the beginning, and yet The Almost Sisters still amazed me with its thoughtful conside 4.5. I'll have to listen to the audio when it's out, as I love Joshilyn's narration. I could hear her voice as I read, both in how she sounds but also in her unique writing style. It's rare to find writing so smart and beautiful and with such depth to the characters that I feel like I know them. She has a talent for bringing me into the world she's created like few other authors. I've loved Joshilyn's work from the beginning, and yet The Almost Sisters still amazed me with its thoughtful consideration of the importance race plays in modern life, especially in the South. Leia has an interesting mix of acceptance and acknowledgement of her own point of view versus that of those around her. And speaking of those around her, Leia also vacillates in her feelings towards her step-sister, Rachel. They share a long and complicated history as all sisters do, but their differences frequently keep them on opposite sides. Yet the real almost sisters referenced in the title are Leia's grandmother Birchie and Birchie's, well, everything, Wattie. Best friends since they were little, Birchie and Wattie now live together, protecting each others as sisters would do. That relationship is drawn to be one of the loveliest I've seen in a long time.As I expected, these are people and a place I didn't want to leave. Those who love fully-fleshed, multi-leveled, neither good nor bad characters who, like the rest of us, are a bit of both, will love the honesty that Joshilyn uncovers in how we think about who we are and what we do.
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  • Adrien Fisher
    June 22, 2017
    Leia is a 38 year old, single comic book artist from Virginia. She has drawn for DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse. Recently she self-published her first full comic book in her own name, and now has a strong fanbase. Currently she has a substantial offer from Dark Horse to come up with a sequel, but Leia doesn’t know where to begin with a new story. Her family, however, does not understand or appreciate her career. Especially not her perfect step-sister, Rachel. Step-sisters since age three, Rachel is Leia is a 38 year old, single comic book artist from Virginia. She has drawn for DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse. Recently she self-published her first full comic book in her own name, and now has a strong fanbase. Currently she has a substantial offer from Dark Horse to come up with a sequel, but Leia doesn’t know where to begin with a new story. Her family, however, does not understand or appreciate her career. Especially not her perfect step-sister, Rachel. Step-sisters since age three, Rachel is pretty, tall, thin, and married to Leia's childhood best-friend. At "fancon" in Atlanta Leia gets drunk, hooks-up, and ends up pregnant from a black man dressed as Batman. She doesn't remember his real name, or even what he looks like without the mask on. She finally decides to tell her family when she reaches her second trimester. But when she shows up at her sister's house for dinner, she finds Rachel kicking her husband out of the house. As Leia is trying to deal with this crisis, she receives multiple phone calls and texts from Alabama. Something has happened with Leia's grandmother Birchie and her grandmother's lifelong best friend, Wattie in the small town of Birchville, AL. Quickly Leia loads up her 13 year-old niece Lavender and heads to Alabama to try and see what is going on. Before long Rachel joins them for the summer and all the women must come together in their times of need. The book also includes a great deal of commentary on race relations in the South. Oh, and there is a dead body in a trunk in the attic.
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  • Mainlinebooker
    May 4, 2017
    I had not read her previous book ,The Gods of Alabama, but that is a case that will soon be rectified. What a beautiful voice Jackson gives to her characters, each with their clearly distinct personalities,which made me smile the whole way through. Quirky humor lends itself to every page, which belie the seriousness of some of the issues raised. Leia, a highly regarded comic artist has a one night stand leading to a pregnancy with a biracial child. Just as she discovers this, her step-sister's m I had not read her previous book ,The Gods of Alabama, but that is a case that will soon be rectified. What a beautiful voice Jackson gives to her characters, each with their clearly distinct personalities,which made me smile the whole way through. Quirky humor lends itself to every page, which belie the seriousness of some of the issues raised. Leia, a highly regarded comic artist has a one night stand leading to a pregnancy with a biracial child. Just as she discovers this, her step-sister's marriage unravels. To complicate matters further, her deeply adored grandmother,Birchie,begins a downward spiral of dementia.As she travels south to help her Grandmother, a new mystery unfolds that threatens the families stature in town. With abundant humor, all issues are tackled but underneath the carpet are issues of privilege, racial bias, rules of the old South, and small town politics. I would have given this a 5 star rating but the ending fell flat for me and felt a bit too rushed. Otherwise, this is guaranteed enjoyment!!
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  • Laura Hanby
    June 5, 2017
    Okay, as my earlier progress report would suggest, I had my doubts about this book and the abundance of issues that the characters were dealing with, but I have to admit, the author really pulled it all together. The murder mystery angle (Leia's grandmother was hiding a trunk with human bones in her attic) actually drew focus to the issue of racial relations in the South, that main character, Leia, now has to think about, since she is pregnant with a baby who will be mixed race. It was interesti Okay, as my earlier progress report would suggest, I had my doubts about this book and the abundance of issues that the characters were dealing with, but I have to admit, the author really pulled it all together. The murder mystery angle (Leia's grandmother was hiding a trunk with human bones in her attic) actually drew focus to the issue of racial relations in the South, that main character, Leia, now has to think about, since she is pregnant with a baby who will be mixed race. It was interesting seeing Leia have to contemplate the dangers that her baby would have to grow up with, that she never had to think about as a child.I also have to mention that I love the character of Sel Martin, the baby's father, also known as Batman. He was an incredibly sweet character, who I wish I could of spent more time with. I also wish the book had spent more time on the relationship between Leia and her step-sister Rachel. For a book called Almost Sister's this important sister relationship felt very secondary.
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  • Alicia
    June 10, 2017
    http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2017/06...OMG, did Joshilyn Jackson write her latest book targeting it directly at me, or what? I love all her complicated-Southern-family books, but the protagonist of this one is a woman who makes a living as a comic book artist/graphic novelist, and also has weekly board game nights (Jackson doesn't entirely nail comic book culture but I had no major complaints). Things start with the protagonist discovering she's pregnant, the result of a one night stand at a co http://wordnerdy.blogspot.com/2017/06...OMG, did Joshilyn Jackson write her latest book targeting it directly at me, or what? I love all her complicated-Southern-family books, but the protagonist of this one is a woman who makes a living as a comic book artist/graphic novelist, and also has weekly board game nights (Jackson doesn't entirely nail comic book culture but I had no major complaints). Things start with the protagonist discovering she's pregnant, the result of a one night stand at a comic book con with a guy dressed as Batman (omg), but things get more complicated when she discovers her grandmother has dementia and has to suddenly head down to Alabama. I liked the family stuff here a lot-- interesting characters and dynamics and secrets-- but there is a lot of like white lady thinking about race and trying to solve racism stuff going on (the baby she's carrying is biracial). I liked it a lot despite all that. A-.__A review copy was provided by the publisher. This book will be released in July.
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  • Susan
    June 12, 2017
    I was sent an ARC by the publisher and was tickled pink to receive it! Joshilyn Jackson is at the top of my must read authors. This one could have been a toss up, but she manages to take on the serious subjects of single parenting, divorcing parents, biracial babies, and racism with grit and charm.Leia Birch is a comic book graphic artist who finds herself pregnant after a tequila soaked one night stand with BATMAN. I love it! My husband thinks he is BATMAN. I can relate to this on so many level I was sent an ARC by the publisher and was tickled pink to receive it! Joshilyn Jackson is at the top of my must read authors. This one could have been a toss up, but she manages to take on the serious subjects of single parenting, divorcing parents, biracial babies, and racism with grit and charm.Leia Birch is a comic book graphic artist who finds herself pregnant after a tequila soaked one night stand with BATMAN. I love it! My husband thinks he is BATMAN. I can relate to this on so many levels. (Ahem.) Meanwhile, she discovers that her beloved ninety year old Grandmother has been keeping her dementia a secret with the help of her best friend. Oh, and her perfect sister's marriage has fallen apart. Of course it has. Let the mayhem and unique voice of Joshilyn Jackson ring out with madness, joy, honesty and downright familial love and honor. This book has it all. Sit back and enjoy the ride. It is a feel good read!
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  • Alice Bash
    June 19, 2017
    I received this book as an Advanced Reader's Edition in exchange for an honest review. I do give it 3 1/2 stars. It is hard to describe this book without giving too much away. It is a Southern novel with many real world problems. It begins with Leia Birch's (she is a comic book artist) one night stand with Batman at a ComicCon. This book refers to many superhero characters that are lost on me, but I am sure younger readers will love them. Leia returns to Birchville, Alabama to help her beloved g I received this book as an Advanced Reader's Edition in exchange for an honest review. I do give it 3 1/2 stars. It is hard to describe this book without giving too much away. It is a Southern novel with many real world problems. It begins with Leia Birch's (she is a comic book artist) one night stand with Batman at a ComicCon. This book refers to many superhero characters that are lost on me, but I am sure younger readers will love them. Leia returns to Birchville, Alabama to help her beloved grandmother, Birchie, put her affairs in order. Leia soon learns that dementia is not the only secret that Birchie has been hiding. Birchville is a small idyllic Southern town with a dark undercurrent. I really liked that this novel has romance, mystery, and comedy all woven together into several different story lines. It is funny, sad and very real, with very likable characters. I look forward to reading more books by this author! Thank you to Goodreads for the giveaway!
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  • Deb Carpenter
    May 26, 2017
    The Almost SistersBy Joshilyn JacksonJackson takes her artistry to a new level in "The Almost Sisters." The female lead, Leia Birch Briggs, illustrates graphic novels and has found a measure of fame with her superhero character, Violence in Violet.But the main character Leia is not the only one who can wield a pencil and bring superheroes to life. Author Jackson develops this story of depth and promise by sketching a living family tree—the Birches—and shades the tree in its entirety, acknowledgi The Almost SistersBy Joshilyn JacksonJackson takes her artistry to a new level in "The Almost Sisters." The female lead, Leia Birch Briggs, illustrates graphic novels and has found a measure of fame with her superhero character, Violence in Violet.But the main character Leia is not the only one who can wield a pencil and bring superheroes to life. Author Jackson develops this story of depth and promise by sketching a living family tree—the Birches—and shades the tree in its entirety, acknowledging the gnarled roots, entitled trunks, branches bent with strange fruit, or pruned, or grafted, or possibly just waiting for a tire swing that will some day entertain a little boy."The Almost Sisters" illustrates how two symbiotic halves may exist-- the tree and the shadow, the protector and the protected, the sibling and the near sibling— the almost sisters.Deb Carpenter-Nolting
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  • Kerri
    March 17, 2017
    This book touched me in a way that I did not at all expect. It has all the juicy guilty-pleasures of a spicy summer novel without compromising the very serious and pertinent subjects that the book also addresses.What I love most about this novel by Joshilyn Jackson is that while it is a romance novel, a mystery, a social commentary, and a bit of a comedy, Jackson is able to fluidly weave her words into and out of these categories with ease. She can elegantly introduce tragedy while you're still This book touched me in a way that I did not at all expect. It has all the juicy guilty-pleasures of a spicy summer novel without compromising the very serious and pertinent subjects that the book also addresses.What I love most about this novel by Joshilyn Jackson is that while it is a romance novel, a mystery, a social commentary, and a bit of a comedy, Jackson is able to fluidly weave her words into and out of these categories with ease. She can elegantly introduce tragedy while you're still chuckling over a pithy comment Leia has made regarding the value of a colorful scarf or some batman ears.Speaking of Leia, she is so much of what I love in a female lead. Though Leia is "nerd-famous" she remains relatable in the most delightful of ways without pandering to the commonalities that every reader shares. Put a simpler way: you will definitely like Leia even though you might not be like Leia (though you've most likely thought many of her thoughts). In fact, all of Jackson's characters are very real. They are not real because she hyper-explains each and every node of their personality and mannerisms, hopes and dreams. No, they are real because of the few tidbits she allows us along the way. Relationships that play key parts in the book feel as if you've known their dynamics for years, and not as if they were just explained to you pages before.This novel calls out the ugliness of the South while still retaining a painful love for the region, like the honest mother of a wayward child. The novel itself is an ataractic balm on a wound that I -- and I believe many others -- have been trying my best to live with for years.
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  • Allison
    May 20, 2017
    A new book from my favorite author! I love the main character in this book. Leia is a comic book artist who wrote her own graphic novel, and now has to create an origin story for the character. She delves deep into the character and starts learning about herself and her relationship with others, particularly her sister. During this time, Leia also finds out that her grandmother’s mind is deteriorating quickly, so she has to go back to Alabama to help out. Not to mention, she’s pregnant from a on A new book from my favorite author! I love the main character in this book. Leia is a comic book artist who wrote her own graphic novel, and now has to create an origin story for the character. She delves deep into the character and starts learning about herself and her relationship with others, particularly her sister. During this time, Leia also finds out that her grandmother’s mind is deteriorating quickly, so she has to go back to Alabama to help out. Not to mention, she’s pregnant from a one night stand, her brother-in-law left his family, and her niece is growing up too fast. There is so much going on in this book, but it’s woven together perfectly, and isn’t too over-the-top in the drama department. Jackson’s writing is gorgeous as always, and her characters come to life so much that I’m still thinking of them.
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  • Rebecca
    May 21, 2017
    I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, via LibraryThing, in exchange for an honest review. I loved Leia as a person. She would fit right in to my nerd troupe, and I really felt connected to her. I also lost both of my grandmothers to dementia, and parts of the novel really hit me in the gut. The mystery weaved through the novel kept me reading at a furious pace.On another note: Digby? Seriously? You want to call you son Digby? My generation is saddling kids with some outrageousl I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, via LibraryThing, in exchange for an honest review. I loved Leia as a person. She would fit right in to my nerd troupe, and I really felt connected to her. I also lost both of my grandmothers to dementia, and parts of the novel really hit me in the gut. The mystery weaved through the novel kept me reading at a furious pace.On another note: Digby? Seriously? You want to call you son Digby? My generation is saddling kids with some outrageously stupid names, but Digby is is so embarrassing. I feel bad for the poor kid, and he's not even real. This will probably appeal to readers of family-drama type books, though I could certainly see it having a wide appeal to all kinds of readers. Right on time for lazy summer reading.
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  • Kathryn
    June 27, 2017
    I won this book but I am not certain from where. I didn't receive an email like Goodreads sends nor was there any correspondence included with the book. Oh well, it was still fun receiving it. This story was light in places, heavy in places, sad in places and there were places where I just wanted to jump in the book and shake Leia. I must admit I don't read comic books or do on-line gaming so that side of the story just didn't do it for me. The ending was a bit of surprise, I thought one directi I won this book but I am not certain from where. I didn't receive an email like Goodreads sends nor was there any correspondence included with the book. Oh well, it was still fun receiving it. This story was light in places, heavy in places, sad in places and there were places where I just wanted to jump in the book and shake Leia. I must admit I don't read comic books or do on-line gaming so that side of the story just didn't do it for me. The ending was a bit of surprise, I thought one direction and it went another. I love that when that happens. If you are a southern fiction lover this is definitely a book for you.
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