Names My Sisters Call Me by Megan Crane

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 321 pages, 2008

Rating: 9/10

Reason for Reading: I already read and enjoyed two of the three of Crane’s previous novels, Everyone Else’s Girl and Frenemies.

Synopsis: Courtney Cassel has just gotten engaged to the most wonderful, just-right-for-her man in the world – now if only she could force her family to be equally wonderful. Her mother lives in her own world, her sister Norah is a control freak who’s been in a rage since their middle sister, Raine, ruined her wedding and fled for California – six years ago – and hasn’t been in contact since. Courtney decides to confront the past in hopes of making her wedding truly about family, but to top off all of the sisterly trouble, there’s another issue with facing her first love…

Why you should read this book: With Names My Sisters Call Me, Crane manages to pull another layer deeper into the chick-lit genre: family, and more specifically, sisterhood. Our family is, after all, a big part of how we define ourselves, and ignoring it beyond the casual ‘pushy mother’ stereotype seems a little silly in a genre where the characters are so set on (re)defining and (re)discovering themselves. There’s a nice strand of humour stringing the more serious topics of the book together, making it both a fun and thoughtful book that will make a lot of readers very happy that Crane’s fourth book is on their nightstand – presuming they can resist reading it in one sitting.

Why you should avoid this book: The story of the sisters takes precedence over the love-interest angle, so save this one for another time if you’re looking for a single-girl on the prowl, dating disasters sort of story.

Opening paragraph:

When Lucas went down, right there on the sidewalk outside my sister’s place in Chestnut Hill, my first thought was: ice.

Fabulous quotes:

It occurred to me in the taxi across the hilly, windy city that I hadn’t exactly planned what I wanted to say. I’d convinced myself that even though I couldn’t manage to string sentences together to make a decent letter, I would be inspired when Raine swung open her door. Seeing her would cause the perfect words to appear on my tongue like magic. My belief that this was so had carried me across the country, and it completely deserted me as I sat, terrified, in the back of that taxi.
I was an idiot.
Norah was right – this was a stupid thing to do, and Verena was right, I was going to get hurt.
What could I possibly have been thinking?

My body – which I had never taken the time to catalogue in quite so comprehensive a fashion before – decided after about five minutes of Bronwen’s yoga death march that it would prefer staging a civil war to any further yoga attempts. It decided this on its own, right about the time I attempted to perform a headstand.
A headstand.
The last headstand I had attempted to perform had been an abject failure in my sixth-grade gymnasium. It was not coincidental that I’d become a cellist. When I said I had no other skills, I meant no other skills, including those most children seemed to possess naturally.

Also recommended: Miss Understanding by Stephanie Lessing; The Girls by Lori Lansens; Case Histories by Kate Atkinson; Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes.

Also by this author: English as a Second Language; Everyone Else’s Girl; Frenemies.

Author’s website: megancrane.com

Fun tidbit: Crane has a PhD it literature and wrote her doctoral dissertation on AIDS literature.

Would I read more by this author? Dibs on all future books, yep.

&#169 Lisa Yanaky 2003-2008


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