Source: Banned Book Tours
Having grown up with a sister who is just 18 months younger than me, I tend to love and strongly relate to stories that explore that sister relationship--especially because my sister and I have run the gamut in terms of our relationship, from friends to enemies and back again. I really expected to fall head over heels in love with Sass & Serendipity, but I'm sad to say that I was slightly disappointed.
The premise of this novel is intriguing and relatable--one practical sister and one dreamer sister struggle with their personal relationships with friends, boys, and each other. From the start, you know exactly who you are dealing with. Gabby is the ever-practical older sister--the one with the part-time job to help the family, the one who worries about everything, and the one who refuses to fall in love. Daphne is the dreamer--the one who constantly forgets responsibilities, falls in love at first sight, and dreams of the day her prince will swoop in to save her. While I understood the sharp contrast between the girls needed to be front and center, each girl struck me as a bit over-the-top in their actions. Gabby won't relax for a second, not even with her best friend, and Daphne can't take two seconds to think about the reality of their family situation. There were moments in the book when I wanted to reach in a slap each sister silly!
My favorite part of this book was probably watching the minor characters of Mule and Prentiss develop and move slowly into the forefront of the story. I liked watching how they creeped slowly into the lives of each sister and how they changed the girls for the better. There is definitely a lot of growing-up to be done in this novel and Ziegler has really shown the reader the complexities of such a task. I loved the realism that she uses to create the school environment and the real fears and heartache that teenagers can and do experience.
There was a lot of potential in this story, but for me, it simply missed the mark by a little. If the story had focused more on the "growing up" that happens in the second half, I think that I would have enjoyed it more. I would have loved to see the relationships that creep in toward the end fleshed out and explored. Ziegler's writing is realistic and compelling, such that even when you find the characters annoying you keep turning the pages.
(As a side note, I thought I'd mention that this book struck me as a great read for the younger teens. There's no violence or strong language. There's a little kissing but nothing more. I probably wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to the 13-15 age group.)