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The Year My Sister Got Lucky

Review

The Year My Sister Got Lucky

Fourteen-year-old Katie Wilder lives in the heart of New York City with her mom, a college professor; her dad, a writer; and her older sister, Michaela. Residing there offers everything she holds dear, including the bustling streets, the high-class fashions, the fast-paced lifestyle, the cozy apartment she’s inhabited since birth, and the swanky ballet studio where she and her sister spend every spare moment.

Both Katie and Michaela love ballet, and have been studying the graceful dance since they were toddlers. Katie knows that she doesn’t really have the ingrained talent or the ideal dancer’s body to go all the way, but she practices hard and longs for the day she will advance into toe shoes. Michaela, on the other hand, does have the hardcore talent and everything else she needs to become a professional. She is planning to audition at Juilliard in the spring, and her future promises a distinguished dancing career. Neither has time for a social life outside the ballet studio. They have some close ballet friends, but other than that, Katie and Michaela are each other’s best friends. They share a bedroom and all their secrets --- at least they did, up until now.

Katie knows something is up, as Michaela has been acting strangely. Late one night, she urges Michaela to share, and then the huge announcement spills out into the open --- the Wilder family is moving to the country! At first, Katie can’t believe that her sister kept such a life-changing event a secret, but soon the bigger picture takes over. In mere weeks, they pack up and move to upstate New York, to a town with only 2,000 residents, fewer than the population at the high school where Katie was to start in the fall. And there are cows and mountains, and even wild deer browsing in their backyard. Katie is freaking out, but Michaela appears to take it all in stride. In fact, Michaela seems to enjoy their new circumstances. And the changes are just beginning.

The local ballet class is nowhere near the standards Michaela needs, so her parents install a mirror and barre in the attic so she can practice on her own. But she rarely goes up there. Michaela makes new friends on the first day of school and quickly jumps into a whirlwind of social activities. Meanwhile, Katie has trouble adjusting and doesn’t want to meld into this country living idea. But the worst part is when Michaela begins to push Katie aside and doesn’t share secrets anymore. And Michaela has accumulated a bunch of huge secrets. Katie feels lonely and lost without her best friend, and it seems that their new country life will never quite fit this city girl.

THE YEAR MY SISTER GOT LUCKY grabs readers and pulls them straight through the engaging plotline, visiting the importance of friendships, family, self and adaptations to life’s unending directional shifts. The characters are colorful and lifelike, facing real challenges. Ballet lovers will especially find this book endearing, with many references to the dancing world. But non-dancers need not worry about missing out; this charming story will appeal to most everyone.

Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman on January 1, 2008

The Year My Sister Got Lucky
by Aimee Friedman

  • Publication Date: June 1, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Point
  • ISBN-10: 0439922291
  • ISBN-13: 9780439922296