Country mouse, city mouse
The Wilder sisters love ballet. They lug their Capezio tote bags through the subway system to get to the Anna Pavlova Academy of Ballet, near Lincoln Center, to work up a sweat with pirouettes and arabesques. Their New York City lives are wrapped up in fashion, Starbucks lattes and their family's tiny apartment. But when Katie's older sister Michaela informs her that the family will be packing up for Fir Lake in rural upstate New York, the younger city girl is less than thrilled. Will there even be electricity in this Podunk town?
The Year My Sister Got Lucky is told in Katie's candid 14-year-old voice. She recounts how her overalls-wearing Fir Lake High School classmates perceive her decked out in a stylish blazer and bubble skirt on her first day of school in the new town. Making new friends is difficult for Katie, who misses her life back in the Big Apple, but Michaela is adjusting just fine: She instantly falls in with the popular group, takes up smoking, begins dating quarterback Anders Swensen and is crowned Homecoming Queen. Katie barely recognizes this new Michaela, and she misses the old days of heart-to-heart chats and dreaming about Julliard which Michaela hasn't even mentioned since the move to Fir Lake. The elder sister seems to have traded in her leotard and tights for parties with her new friends and dates with Anders. When Katie does a little snooping in Michaela's room, she learns a secret about her sister that makes her question the value of their relationship and just who this new version of her sister really is.
Teens will relate to Aimee Friedman's funny and believable story and the universal problems she presents: fitting into a new school, boys, an evolving sibling relationship, boys and what to do with the secrets you discover. The sisters make difficult choices that are not always right, but both adjust and Katie eventually finds that the move to Fir Lake may not have completely ruined her life after all.
Katie Lewis remains a wanna-be ballerina if only in her head.