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Welcome to my blog! My name is Kim and I write young adult paranormal, mysteries, and thrillers. This blog enables me to share the two things I love: Books and the craft of writing.

Ask the Girl is my debut novel. Murdered in 1925, Kate must seek the help of Lila and her sister to save her from her demon prison.

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Unveiling "SISTER SABOTAGE (The Second Favorite Daughters Club #1)": A Fresh Take on Sibling Rivalry | Book Review

Welcome to the lively world of SISTER SABOTAGE (The Second Favorite Daughters Club #1), by Colleen Oakes published by Pixel+Ink and featured on a virtual book tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Dive into my detailed review of this captivating middle-grade novel that deftly explores sibling rivalry with humor and heart. Don’t miss out on our exclusive giveaway at the end—your chance to win a copy and join Santana and Casey in their mischievous adventures!

Book Banner "Sister Sabotage"


My Review


In the intricate dance of sibling rivalry and familial dynamics, Colleen Oakes's middle-grade debut, Sister Sabotage, sets the stage with a whimsical yet poignant exploration of being perennially second-best. For readers who relish the heartfelt drama of Netflix’s The Baby-sitter’s Club or the complexities of sisterhood depicted in Sisters, Oakes's novel promises an interesting addition but leaves a trace of yearning for just a tad more sparkle in its step.

The story orbits around Santana Barnes and Casey Hammond, two characters sculpted with depth and authenticity rare in middle-grade fiction. Santana, forever in the shadow of her ballet-dancing, honor-student sister Victoria, pairs brilliantly with Casey, who grapples with living up to the charm of her adventurous younger sister, Sage. It's in the hallowed halls of their middle school library that these girls find their kinship, birthing the "Second Favorite Daughters Club" with a mission to tip the scales of parental favoritism in their favor.

Oakes’s narrative thrives on the vibrant internal monologues of Santana and Casey, each chapter a window into their tangled emotions and cunning schemes. The author’s flair for witty dialogue shines, especially in exchanges that crackle with the intensity of middle school drama yet resonate with the wisdom of a seasoned storyteller.

However, despite these strengths, there remains an elusive something that seems just out of reach. As a reader, you might find yourself craving a deeper dive into the emotional reservoirs of its characters. The plot, while innovative and engaging, occasionally skirts the edges of deeper themes such as self-identity and the impact of sibling rivalry on self-esteem. The journey is delightful, yet one can't help but desire a path that ventures into more emotionally challenging territories, perhaps giving Santana and Casey more room to grow not just in cunning but in understanding.

Moreover, the climax, though satisfying, feels somewhat preordained. The resolution, intended to underscore the novel’s moral—that the limelight isn’t always as fulfilling as it appears—comes off as slightly rushed. The transformation of the characters, and their ultimate realizations about family and self-worth, could have used more pages to breathe, and more moments of introspection that might have provided the narrative richness the story promises.

Nevertheless, Sister Sabotage is undeniably successful in crafting a universe where the underdog feels seen and valued. Oakes' portrayal of middle school as a microcosm of broader societal dynamics is both clever and insightful. The friendship that blossoms between Santana and Casey is beautifully rendered, echoing the truth that sometimes the family you choose holds the key to understanding the family you are given.

In conclusion, while Sister Sabotage hits many high notes with its engaging characters and sharp wit, it leaves one hungry for a few more layers of emotional depth. Awarding this book to a well-earned four stars, it stands as a recommended read for its target audience, who will no doubt see parts of themselves in Santana and Casey. For those of us who've felt overshadowed or underappreciated, Oakes reminds us that the quest for recognition might just lead to unexpected discoveries about ourselves and the ones we love. As for the missing sparkle? Perhaps it’s just a reminder that every story, like every child, shines in its unique way.



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