Hi guys! I’ve been excited to share this book review. I was fortunate enough to receive a physical ARC of Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry and it’s the prettiest thing ever. Unfortunately, I am away from home in COVID-19 lockdown, so I cannot share a picture with you because it’s at home on my shelf. But here is the magnificent cover.
The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.
In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.
There was so much I wanted to like about this book, and ultimately I think it’s a good read. Parts of it didn’t click with me, but a lot of it did. But there is a lot of excellent still, so here’s a list of things I liked and things that didn’t quite work for me.
WHAT I LIKED
-The characters! All four sisters felt well-developed and unique. Iphigenia is the sweetest, I think, or at least I could relate to her the best. She likes to read and write and always carries around a book with her. Rosa loves animals and spends most of the book looking for a hyena that’s loose in the neighborhood. Jessica is dealing with an abusive boyfriend and a maybe-crush on the one boy who’s nice to her.
-The theme of sisters sticking together. They are all there for each other, and it’s so sweet and supportive. We need more of this in YA, and I’m completely here for it.
-Ana is such an interesting character. The whole book is kind of ABOUT her, but we don’t get to know her very well…which is the point. But I wish it had been explored a bit further!
-The boys next door are such affable dorks. Admittedly, they just go along with bullying, which is completely not cool. But you can tell they’re good kids. They just make some big mistakes.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH
-This is actually a good part of the book, because the writing is so good it makes me HATE the character John with an ALMIGHTY VENGEANCE. He is such a jerk and I am so annoyed.
-Not much actually happens. It’s a quieter book…it’s character-driven rather than plot-driven. Which is completely fine! I just expected more to happen because there’s a literal ghost, but instead the ghost just kinda hangs around and leaves people alone.
-Because not much happens, I got bored sometimes.
Beware, this point has spoilers! -Jessica frustrated me with how unkind she was to her sisters sometimes. And the whole thing with [ her dating John, Ana’s ex, right after Ana died? I would’ve liked to see a little more explored with that. Like, why did she do it? There’s a throwaway line about how she wanted to become her sister…but I would’ve liked to hear more about it. That’s kind of a big deal.
ALL IN ALL
I liked this book enough that I would check out the other things this author has written. If you like quiet, family-driven, kinda spooky books, you should definitely check this one out.
3.5 out of 5 stars = liked it quite a bit