cover image Bad Sister

Bad Sister

Charise Mericle Harper, illus. by Rory Lucey. First Second, $19.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-21906-0

The layered and heartfelt vignettes comprising this graphic memoir depict the delights and burdens of older siblinghood, with each section dedicated to a different sisterly superpower. Drawn with blonde bangs, Charise, who has prosopagnosia and sometimes struggles with social cues, leads little brother Daniel on adventures that (along with the fashion, furniture, and cars shown throughout) indicate a pre-helicopter-parent childhood. The two wrestle and tumble, roll an inclusive set of neighborhood kids around in a giant inner tube, and search for treasure in local dumpsters. But Daniel is often the victim of Charise’s impulsiveness and power grabs, and she experiences a mix of guilt, envy, and frustration as a result of her actions. When Charise accidentally knocks Daniel’s tooth out during a rough game of field hockey, his off-color replacement tooth becomes “proof I was bad.” Resolution arrives in a subtle, realistic form, as Charise realizes her “power to lead” and keep Daniel safe. Just as importantly, it becomes clear that her intuitive, gregarious brother has talents of his own. “Daniel’s greatest power was unspoken,” Charise concludes—“the power of forgiveness.” Paired with Lucey’s playful Sunday comics–style illustrations, the story takes a resonant dive into the insular world of children, especially siblings. Ages 8–12. [em]Author’s agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt. Illustrator’s agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (July) [/em]