Tigers, Not Daughters

288p. Algonquin. Mar. 2020. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781616208967..
Gr 7 Up–Little Women meets The Virgin Suicides with a magical realist twist in this evocative and lovely novel. There used to be four Torres sisters: Ana, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa. Each with a strong individual personality, they captivated the boys of their San Antonio neighborhood with their beauty and ferocity. But when Ana died, falling out of her window, the sisters each reacted to their grief differently. Jessica tried to replace Ana in her old life, Iridian lost herself in books, and spiritual Rosa became preoccupied by looking for signs to explain why this happened. But their memories are tangible as well as mental, as Ana’s ghost haunts them in the form of mysterious occurrences in their house. Much of the plot, told from multiple points of view, examines how the family members balance their personal challenges with their grief. Ultimately, Ana’s ghost is the impetus for the surviving sisters to reconnect and find the strength to move forward, together. Similar to the March sisters, the Bennets in Pride and Prejudice, and the three sisters in King Lear (which inspired this book’s title), Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa have competitive, at times jealousy-tinged, but ultimately loving relationships. Mabry’s lyrical style weaves themes of sisterhood, death, and romance along with Shakespearean inspiration and paranormal elements to create something magical. ­
VERDICT This novel is sure to appeal to fans of Mabry’s other works, and could serve as an introduction to magical realism for those unfamiliar with the genre. An engaging, heartfelt exploration of the multifaceted inner lives of teen girls and sisterhood.

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