The Sister: A psychological thriller with a brilliant twist you won't see coming

The Sister - Louise Jensen This book was recommended by one of my favorite bloggers (the bookgeek) as one of the best thrillers of the year, and it's right up my alley in terms of genre and plot, so I was really excited to read it. Unfortunately, after finishing it last night I have to admit I'm not overly impressed, to put it mildly, and to be honest I'm very disappointed with the book as a whole.

To sum it up very generally and briefly the book is about Grace, a twenty-something who lives with her boyfriend Dan, and is trying to cope with the death of her best friend since childhood, Charlie. The two girls grew up together and were as close as most sisters, closer than some, but Grace finds out that there was quite a bit she didn't know about Charlie after her death and she goes looking for answers which leads her to Anna, Charlie's long lost sister. Here's where the book starts to veer off the path of realistic and believable, in my humble opinion. Grace then invites Anna, a virtual stranger mind you, to move in with her and her boyfriend, Dan, and is completely oblivious to the red flags waiving all around her - from Dan's reaction to, and behavior around, Anna, to the way bad things begin to happen in Grace's life as soon as she invites Anna into it- and any connection between the presence of Anna and the storm of problems that follows her around like a dark cloud and rains down on Grace's life with hurricane force is completely lost to Grace. That was a bit unbelievable for me and as the tension built so did my frustrations with how apparent it was that Anna was a problem and how ignorant Grace remained to the obvious. Furthermore, I can't understand why no one else in Grace's life, particularly Dan, threw her a heads up about hurricane Anna when anyone could see the negative impact she was making on Grace's life even if Grace was to blind (or stupid) to see it herself. I kept saying to myself ...there has got to be a twist or turn coming up at some point, otherwise this is going to be the most obvious, predictable, outcome in the history of EVER...and that's exactly what it was.

Now I usually don't like to include spoilers in my reviews for the simple reason that when I read a review it's usually because I'm trying to gain insight on whether or not a particular book is one that I would enjoy and would want to read, therefore, I prefer reviews that don't contain spoilers. Of course that's not always the case. For example, after I read a book, especially one that I have particularly strong feelings about I always like to peep the response of others to see if they shared my reaction and I've found I gain a lot of insight about a book just from hearing someone else's perspective of it and of course, in that case, spoilers aren't an issue, in fact, I appreciate the dissection of the entire book, including, and often especially, the ending. Anyway, I digress, but my point is that this review contains spoilers so consider yourself warned. I found the climax and conclusion of this story so utterly ridiculous and outrageous, not to mention an insult to the intelligence of the average reader with half a brain, that I can't not mention it in this review. Just the fact that it took so long for Grace to realize that Anna was the reason bad things kept happening to her was frustrating enough, I thought okay, it's so obvious that Anna is the culprit that there's going to be some twist and we'll find out it's actually the boyfriend, or someone else, it CANNOT be that obvious! But it was. Then when Grace finds herself chained to her bed with one remaining handcuff that eventually gets filled when Lexi just happens on up and Anna kidnaps her at knifepoint as well, chaining her next to Grace... at that point I just continued to read on autopilot because the book was almost over (thank God for small mercies). When they were able to pick the locks on the cuffs with a bobby pin, or something of the like, I can't honestly say I was surprised. Of course they did. It was almost comical at that point and if there had been any hope at all of me taking the book even a little bit seriously (which there wasn't) it was gone out the window right then. Now I get that this genre is for entertainment and not known for having profound, thought provoking, intellectually stimulating effects on a reader, and that's fine, but this book had the depth of a kiddie pool and I fear that I might actually be dumber for having read it. Not a good feeling. That might be a bit harsh but I feel that I completely compensate for the harshness by giving The Sister a three star rating which is possibly more than it deserves but I think I'm being fair. And in all fairness, I did enjoy the way the chapters alternated from presant day to before Charlie died allowing the reader to really visualize the relationship Grace and Charlie shared but overall this book left a lot to be desired, in my opinion. The writing itself wasn't horrible and I'd probably give Louise Jensen one more try, but the plot was something I'd expect to come from a high school English student not a published author.