cover image When My Sister Started Kissing

When My Sister Started Kissing

Helen Frost. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-374-30303-7

In Frost’s contemplative novel in verse, sisters Claire and Abigail have recently gained a stepmother and are soon to have a newborn sibling. Claire, 10, is resistant to these changes and is especially bothered by the growing distance between herself and her older sister, who insists on being called Abi and has “betrayed” her by accepting their stepmother. Last summer, Abi had her first kiss; this summer, she’s torn between two boys. Poems from the perspective of the lake the family has visited for years provide calming, ageless counterpart to the girls’ emotional and immediate concerns. Frost (Applesauce Weather) adeptly uses different poetic forms to differentiate her characters (mostly quatrains for Claire, free verse for Abi), as well as acrostics and concrete verse, lending a sense of movement to poems in which Claire is kayaking. Although both sisters’ perspectives are represented, Claire’s motivations and personality are better established. Readers will easily identify with her efforts to honor her late mother’s memory while accepting her shifting relationships with Abi and her growing affection for the new members of her family. Ages 10–12. [em]Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Mar.) [/em]