An interesting story of siblings and how a younger brother showed his older sister a few things.
And that is what you are supposed to get from Bad Sister by Charise Mericle Harper. What I got was another poor, put-upon big sister, getting the blame for having an annoying, bratty, spoiled younger sibling (can you guess which one I am with me and my sister?)
Seriously though, both Harper and the world see Charise (the character) as “in the wrong” (and she even goes as far to say from day one she is a “bad sister”) most of the time. They even at one point say, “What is wrong with her?” I interpret it as she is a sibling. She is acting like any other sibling would. She is trying to find her place, she has a minion to follow her around, so she is going to try and be the leader, she is going to learn the power of actions and words. She is growing up. And of course, she is going to do stupid things like “toss the innertube” and ride bikes down the ninety-degree hill and have her brother get hurt. And of course, she is not going to let her younger brother win at their game of hockey. I saw a normal sibling relationship: rivalry and love. Anger and happy. Mean and nice. Sister and brother just figuring thing out as they go along.
Yet, you could interpret it as something else. That she is not a good person, that the accidents that happen could have been prevented. Sure, like most of the accidents I had with my sister could have been avoided if we had thought about it (besides, I only hit her in the head with a softball and pinched her fingers in an old mirror compact. She tried to drown me). But is that not what growing up is all about? Realizing afterwards that throwing an inner tube was not a great idea? That riding your bikes down a steep hill is not the smartest thing? Jumping into garbage bins has its pros and cons? But as I said, this character is up for interpretations. I think kids ages 10 and up could appreciate the dynamics presented and will learn that Sorry can lose its power, and sooner or later little brother is going to start becoming more independent and can teach you a few things.
While it does not say it is based on true events, due to names, I am assuming Harper is telling about their own adventures with their sibling. It would be interesting to see how things worked out. And if you like graphic novels by Shannon Hale, Holm, Terri Libenson and Raina Telgemeier you will probably enjoy this too. It is similar enough to keep the tone of the others, but also has its own voice.
Now, of course since this is a graphic novel, I cannot forget to mention the art by Rory Lucey. They give off vibes of Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm. They are not bold, but not muted. They are not overly colorful, but not dull. There are details but not overwhelming. It is a comfortable book, that has the artwork move the story along. The illustrations are both familiar and new. They set the tone of the book being set in the late 1970s and early 1980s (I would assume).