Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron

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Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron

Buy Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Highly emotional, engaging sci-fi family drama - this story has a little bit of everything, and caught me up from the very start!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: May 2022
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781788953917

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After Isla's older sister Flora dies, her family struggle to find a way forward. In particular, Isla's mum who can't seem to be able to let her daughter go. When Isla passes her mum’s details onto a support group she finds online, she thinks they might be able to help. But actually, it turns out they are part of an experimental company who offer the family the chance to have Flora back again, in robot form. But this won't just be a look-a-like. They use all of Flora's online history, and interviews with family and friends, and through this data they will recreate Flora as closely as possible. But what will it really mean for the family, to have Flora back? And is it really Flora at all?

Whilst the premise of this seems very sci-fi, the story itself is written in a really accessible way. It's a family drama, and it just so happens that some of the drama is coming from this new robot who has come to live with the family. Obviously, a focus of the book is the theme of grief, and we witness this from multiple points of view - a mother's grief, a father, the sisters, but also friends and extended family. Indeed, because the family live on a small Scottish island, and because the project is top secret, everyone on the island has been involved in a confidentiality agreement around the robot, and the idea of an entire community being bought into silence is fascinating. It's definitely thought-provoking, the idea of being able to bring someone back who you thought was lost forever. And it was also really interesting to think about what that would mean for the robot, with regards to who they actually are, whether they are an entirely new person, and what rights do they have because of that?

You can probably guess already that things don't go quite according to plan, and that there are difficulties when the new Flora arrives. There is a sense of threat, because someone on the island seems unhappy about Flora's presence. This adds a mystery element to the book, because Isla is trying to figure out who could possibly be threatening the family, and how far will they go? The dilemma that Isla faces too, of desperately wanting her big sister back, but then dealing with someone who is almost her sister, but not quite, is difficult. And of course, the new Flora is a robot, and so although she's been created to eat a little bit, she can’t eat normally and has a weird cleaning process to clear food out of her system. And whilst she looks incredibly lifelike, she still has a port to connect to her system and recharge. It's a lot to deal with, when Isla is already dealing with a lot of different emotions.

Through the story, we also get to see Isla developing a crush on a new girl on her football team. I really liked the way this was written, and watching Holly and Isla fall for each other is really sweetly done. It also adds to the way this book has so many layers of so many different things, weaving science fiction into family grief into LGBT+ fiction into teenage drama. It is multiple things, all at once, and it is told so well that you’re not really thinking of genre at all as you read, just of the fact that it's a good story. Isla finds herself stuck, experiencing a huge emotional rollercoaster with the arrival of new Flora, and struggling with the threats to her family, but she's unable to share any of this with Holly because Holly lives on the mainland, so has no idea about the robot, or what's happening for Isla at home.

I couldn't imagine where the book would end up, but I really liked the way the resolution was handled. There is some suspension of belief required, but mostly I was just caught up in what was happening, wondering how it would end. I really liked Isla as a character, and her group of friends are fun and interesting. The relationship Isla has with her younger sister is sweet too, and I enjoyed seeing the family dealing with this enormous futuristic event. I enjoyed watching what happens with new Flora, and the development of her character. Everyone feels very real, and I found it easy to imagine their house on the island as it's really well written. It's an emotional story, and heartwarming too. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Another story about dealing with grief that you might like to read is My Brother's Shadow by Tom Avery and for a different robot story try Robot Girl by Malorie Blackman

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Buy Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron at Amazon You could get a free audio download of Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.
Buy Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron at Amazon.com.

Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron Check prices, read reviews or buy from Foyles. Foyles currently charges £2.99 (first class £3.99) for orders under £25, over which delivery is free. You may also click and collect from a Foyles bookshop at no charge.

Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron Check prices, read reviews or buy from Waterstones. Waterstones currently charges from £2.75 for orders under £20, over which delivery is free. You may also click and collect from a Waterstones bookshop at no charge.


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