My Sister Rosa – Justine Larbalestier

My Sister Rosa – Justine Larbalestier

Title: My Sister Rosa
Author: Justine Larbalestier
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Allen&Unwin
Publication Date: 27th January 2016
Pages: 416
Rating: 4/5 stars


‘I promise,’ said Rosa. ‘I won’t kill and I won’t make anyone else kill.’

I can’t see the loophole. Since the guinea pig there’s been nothing. Months now without Rosa killing as much as a mosquito.

As far as I know.

Che Taylor has four items on his list: 1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym. 2. He wants a girlfriend. 3. He wants to go home. 4. He wants to keep Rosa under control.

Che’s little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che’s convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn’t hurt anyone yet, but he’s certain it’s just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world – and the world from Rosa?

My Sister Rosa will have you on the edge of your seat from the very first page to the last.

Have you ever called your siblings ‘evil’? After reading My Sister Rosa, you’ll be very grateful for the brother or sister that you have! Justine Larbalestier has created the perfect evil sibling in Rosa, a psychopathic ten-year-old.

Seventeen-year-old Che and his family (including the scary Rosa) have just moved to New York. Originally Australian, they have lived all over the world for their parents’ many new businesses.

Rosa is intelligent and beautiful, and she knows it. She can switch on the charm, and she has convinced everyone around her that she is normal. Except for Che – her big brother is her sounding board; it was kind of cute that Rosa would go to Che with all her questions about normal people, but then again also SUPER CREEPY! (Plus, she watches him sleep at one point…..)

The novel is full of diverse characters. At his boxing gym, Che befriends Sojourner, an African-American girl, one of whose two mothers is a pastor at a very inclusive church. Che also gets to know Leilani, the daughter of his parents’ ridiculously wealthy best friends. The family are Korean-American. Leilani is a fashion blogger, and she is dating an aspiring actress whose closest friend is Elon, a character who refuses to be categorised as either boy or girl. Elon is just Elon. Also, Che’s parents are total hippies – the kids call their parents by their first names, Sally and David, and they are given A LOT of independence (almost too much for a brand new city…..).

While Che is trying to live a normal life, he still needs to keep an eye on Rosa, who is devoted to getting between Leilani’s twin sisters. There are so many twists and turns, it becomes a real thriller towards the end of the book.

My only complaint is that some sections felt a little bit too long, and Che was massively preoccupied with being fit – I liked the boxing scenes but wasn’t excited about the total obsessiveness.

My Sister Rosa is a fantastically creepy novel which could very well keep you up at night. (I couldn’t go to bed until I had finished the whole thing!) It was really nice to a new kind of young adult novel, and I loved the weird-as-hell family dynamic going on in this book. I got really attached to these characters and want to make sure they’re all OK after such a HUGE climactic moment.

Do you like creepy books? Are there any you have LOVED?


One thought on “My Sister Rosa – Justine Larbalestier

  1. I ADORED THIS BOOK, OMG. It was seriously one of my favourites of the year. *flails around it* I thought Rosa was intensely creepy…and I loved Che. He was so sweet. (Did that plot twist with the brain scans throw you though?! I was SO SHOCKED. XD)

    As for books that have creeped me out…probably Michael Grant’s Gone series? They might not scare me anymore, but I read them a few years back and UGH. *shudders*

    Thanks for stopping by @ Paper Fury!

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