Sister, Sister ISBN: 9780192738134
Published by Oxford University Press, 2015
Lies and secrets have brought Willow and her mother into a strange situation that threatens their relationship as well as the life of another child. Thirteen year old Willow has always believed that she was the result of her mother having IVF via a sperm donor, and this bothers her not at all. But when strange letters begin to arrive at the house, she becomes suspicious and opens one. Best friends and twins, Stella and Jarvis, egg her on to do this, but when she does, she finds the letter so mysterious that her 'crime' seems to have been for naught. It is only when her mum and gran decide she must be told the truth that she learns she was the product of an eight year relationship between her mum and an old boyfriend. That boyfriend, who is now married with two children, has been writing her mum trying to get her agreement to Willow's being tested a a match for his eleven year old daughter who has aplastic anaemia. Unless she has a bone marrow transplant, she will die. Mum and Anthony, Willow's dad, had decided to have nothing to do with each other after Willow's birth, and he had never seen her or had anything to do with her other than sending money. Willow is quite rightly furious with both of her parents and feels betrayed and that Anthony has come to visit her for no other reason than that Bella needs a bone marrow match desperately. At first Willow wants nothing to do with the situation, and when she meets Bella, who hates her because she has not known of her existence before and feels that Willow may take her place in their dad's affections, she is even less inclined to help. This situation, brought about by two people making the wrong decision about what they believed was right at the time, brings about huge emotions for all concerned. The follow-up is all too realistic, and while there is a happy ending, the feelings of both Willow and Bella are depicted in the strongest and most believable ways. Willow develops a huge problem with nightmares. Always fearful of needles and the idea of being operated on, she begins to have an obsession with them, and it takes serious time with a psychiatrist, as well as a suggestion from best friend Stella to get her through. Well written and powerful, with moments of humour, this is a story that will appeal to girls particularly.