My Sister Jodie by Jacqueline Wilson

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My Sister Jodie by Jacqueline Wilson

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Bookbag could cheerfully read Jacqueline Wilson's kind, sharply observed kitchen sink dramas all day every day. This one explores the relationships between sisters and between teens and parents.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 399 Date: March 2008
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 0385610122

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Pearl is small for her age. She's tiny, flat-chested, quiet and studious. She likes making up stories. She does what her parents tell her and she's in awe of her big sister Jodie. Jodie is everything that Pearl is not. She's self-confident, she's outspoken, and she's not afraid of being in trouble. And in trouble Jodie often is. She's got in with a bad crowd at school - she bunks off, she snogs boys, she's even come home drunk. For Jodie's mother, it's all too much. She came from a neglectful home and she's done everything she can to give her girls a better start in life. From Jodie's behaviour, however, it seems as though it hasn't been enough.

Something Must Be Done.

And so, Pearl's family ups sticks and move to the countryside. Her parents have found jobs at a posh private school. Her mother's the cook and her father's the caretaker. As part of the package, Pearl and Jodie will receive a private education their parents could never otherwise afford. Far from turning Jodie around though, it seems to make her worse. Pearl thrives; she finds friends and she loves the lessons. Jodie simply rebels. She simply doesn't fit in.

I could read Jacqueline Wilson's simple, direct, emotionally honest kitchen sink dramas all day. It matters not a jot that they're intended for readers thirty years my junior. They're just so truthful and open. The observation is always wonderful and there are immediately recognisable vignettes of contemporary family life on page after page. Deep feelings are never far from the surface. Wilson's heroines run through the gamut of childhood emotions and it is this genuine engagement with the audience that has gathered her such an enormous fanbase.

Here, in My Sister Jodie, we are looking at the special relationship between sisters. Pearl hero worships Jodie and yet, for all the adulation, it's probably Pearl who sees her sister most clearly. Because of course, Jodie's brashness and cheek is all a front, disguising deep insecurity and an even deeper level of sibling rivalry of which she is ashamed. We're also looking at the way in which teen-parent relationships can disintegrate to a state in which the protagonists talk at each other, never to each other. The mother in this story is doing her best for her children, but to them she seems over-protective, snobbish, and judgemental. Yet to the boarding school children, sent away from home, she seems like a treasure of a mother.

As ever, Wilson's kindly eye doesn't shy away from unhappiness. There is a great crisis in this book, and its fallout causes unimaginable pain. But pain is a part of life and you can't pretend it doesn't exist. I love Wilson for never trying to pretend. And I love her too for trying to show that there is always a path through, no matter how hard things seem.

Highly recommended for all girls aged nine or ten to early teens.

The siblings in The Exiles by Hilary McKay are also beautifully observed.

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Hollie Kelk said:

I absoloutley love My sister Jodie it's such a Warm hearted story ,I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good read. You get so attached to the book it's hard to come away from it !!

Laxmi Mall said:

I think My Sister Jodie is a brilliant story about 2 sisters who are really different from each other but adore each other. I will recommend to any girl who has a bigger sister although I dont have a bigger sister! 5/5 rating!!!