I discovered this book through the whatshouldireadnext website, having typed in Gone Girl as a previous read. This website was recommended to me a few years ago by my A-Level English teacher, and I use it quite frequently to decide what to read next (as the website’s name would suggest). On paper, Sister fulfilled all the criteria of a book I would enjoy, but still I did have some reservations about the book before I started reading, but only because I had never head of the author, Rosamund Lupton, before, though that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
At first, I wasn’t sure whether I liked the narrator, and not because she was designed to be disliked- I simply found her irritating. However, I think this was more out of not really understanding her situation for the first couple of pages, and once I had, she ceased to bother me- I think anyone can be forgiven for being a little annoying after finding out that their sister has disappeared. In fact, I soon became completely invested in Beatrice’s character, actually able to see parts of myself in her, being driven and very close to my two sisters myself. This sort of bond that I established with Beatrice early on in the narrative meant that I was rooting for her in all of the difficult encounters she experiences in the process of unveiling the truth behind her sister’s disappearance- even when other characters try to frame her as mentally unstable, and when she is perhaps unfair towards those who care about her.
However, the narrative was richer than simply the story of a girl’s disappearance. The sinister medical trial, and the convenient coincidences of the health care system and hospital staff helps to give the story a lot more structure, as well as forcing the reader to question everyday life- can we really trust the medical system we put our faith in? Is all what is makes out it is?
What I did really love about this book is that I did not see the end coming. In fact, at any point that I thought I had figured out the mystery of the narrative, Lupton managed to introduce another element that brought me back to having no idea. It was this that meant I devoured the book in just a few days- I was so desperate to find out what had actually happened to Tess and who, if anyone, else was involved- and I liked that I didn’t find out until the penultimate paragraph because it kept me interested until the very end. Actually, even by the final word of the book, I was not completely confident in what had happened- but I quite liked that I could decide this for myself.
I also liked the way that Beatrice, the narrator, uses her missing sister as the audience for the narrative. I think this is what meant I could identify with her so well, as I was placed in the position of someone so close to her. This narrative style is also tied up perfectly at the very end of the book, which suggests that the whole point of the book was that Beatrice wished to prove to her sister that she never gave up on her.
I really would find it very hard to criticise this book- it is truthfully one of the best I have read in a while. I felt that all characters were well-developed and there for a purpose, rather than to simply fill a narrative gap. If you are looking for a book that hooks you from the very first pages and continues to surprise you until the end, give Sister a read