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Books for very young children, children’s picture books & activity books


by Larbalestier, Justine

MY SISTER ROSA is a masterfully chilling read, one that will haunt you long after you've turned the last page. Larbalestier weaves together the unquestionably familiar and the unthinkably horrible in this contemporary story of familial rifts, divided loyalties, and what we're willing to put on the line to take care of our own.

Forced to move with his family from his native Australia to New York City, 17-year-old Che Taylor is having a rough time adjusting. He loves his little sister, Rosa, but he's also certain she's a psychopath: literally, clinically, diagnostically. She hasn't hurt anyone yet, but her clever manipulations have Che convinced that it's only a matter of time.

It doesn't help his case that his parents refuse to admit that there's anything wrong with Rosa. Her masterful manipulations have long turned them off her scent. Che finds little solace in his friends back in Sydney, feeling instead the growing disconnect between his old self and the person he could become in New York. Despite his mounting anxiety at having to manage Rosa, Che tries to lose himself to his martial arts training, the one thing that grounds him, makes him feel like himself. At his new gym, he is introduced to and immediately falls for Sojourner, a formidably talented fighter whose religious convictions threaten to quash their relationship before it has even begun. Ever persistent, Che continues to fall, fight, and stave off the dread of what Rosa might be up to next.

Meanwhile, Rosa is making friends. She's always been a charmer, with a way of making her friends do things they normally wouldn't. At the family's previous home in Bangkok, Rosa manipulated her best friend into killing a beloved pet. Che's worst fear is that one day she'll scale up to something bigger than pets.But Rosa has promised Che that she'll never kill anyone. And while Rosa lies to everyone else, so far she's kept all her promises to Che. Unfortunately, she's also very good at finding loopholes...

Until now he has always protected Rosa from the world. But as Rosa's complex and disturbing games ratchet up in their foreign home, he must act to protect the world from her.

Justine Larbalestier's RAZORHURST was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Prize for Young Adult Writing. Her previous novel LIAR won the Davitt Award for best Young Adult Crime Novel, the WA Premier's Literary Award Young Adult Prize, and the Christina Stead Award. It received four starred reviews, was shortlisted for 11 awards, and was a best book of the year for YALSA (Young Adult Library Association), School Library Journal, Bank Street Books and the International Youth Library's The White Ravens. She is the author of the MAGIC OR MADNESS trilogy (Penguin US and Australia 2005-07) and HOW TO DITCH YOUR FAIRY (Bloomsbury 2008, Allen & Unwin 2009), the editor with Holly Black of ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS (Margaret K. McElderry Books 2010), and co-writer with Sara Rees-Brennan of TEAM HUMAN (HarperTeen 2012). She was born and raised in Sydney, Australia, and she and her husband split their time between Sydney and New York City.

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Haunting is the best way to describe Larbalestier's latest home run... I loved the hidden depth of the secondary characters and found the complexity of the family dynamics familiar and fascinating.

Review: RT Book Reviews, starred review

The plot is devilishly clever, with clues that point to without giving away the surprise twists... even those with no prior experience of [Larbalestier’s] craftiness will find Che’s helplessness in the face of Rosa’s casual cruelty absolutely chilling.

Review: BCCB *Starred Review*

Outstanding...This is a subtle but completely unsettling examination of how evil is born and how it is often found in the most unsuspecting places. MY SISTER ROSA is tough to put down and even more difficult to forget.

Review: New Mystery Reader

Starred by both Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, young adult readers won’t want to miss Justine Larbalestier’s chilling novel.

Review: Bookish

Larbalestier reminds readers of her masterful gift for slippery, unreliable characters... thriller fans will devour this suspenseful, chilling meditation on the roles of nature and nurture in creating dangerous criminals.

Review: Shelf Awareness *Starred Review*

Author's great article forBustleabout Alice in Wonderland and psychopaths!

Quote: Grinberg

MYSISTERROSA by Justine Larbalestier is aKirkusBest YA of 2016, aShelf AwarenessBest Book of 2015, and aPWBest Book of 2016!

Quote: Grinberg

A chilling contemplation on human morality—Che’s physical sparring in the ring has nothing on his go-arounds with Rosa... incorporating sharp commentary on privilege, faith, gender identity, and race. The tension of wondering where and how Rosa will strike next will keep readers riveted from start to finish.

Review: Publishers Weekly *Starred Review*

...strangely compelling...The interaction is spot on and I felt like the unsuspecting victim when it suddenly unleashed a torrent of mayhem in waves that made this book insanely addictive to read.

Review: Bibliophilia

...a psychological thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat, reading from start to finish this morning because I had to know what happened until I finished less than an hour ago...My Sister Rosa is an excellent psychological thriller featuring diverse characters...Highly recommended.

Review: Dark Matter Zine was immediately appealing to me because of the subject matter -- a teenage boy desperately trying to protect and be in fear of his younger sister, already displaying antisocial personality disorder tendencies at the tender age of ten -- and did it ever deliver. It's heartbreaking, thrilling, nuanced, all of it, and ever more relevant post-election.

Quote: Sarah Weinman, The Crime Lady Blog

The evil in the room across the hall, the evil in the flowery party dress, the evil who just wants a bedtime story—Rosa is more frightening and more adorable than any villain you have yet met. Larbalestier is at her tricky, terrifying best in this novel.

Quote: E. Lockhart, author

Not one to shy away from tough subject matter, Larbalestier addresses issues related to gender, sexual orientation, religion, identity, and race with tact... This dark thriller is the 1956 film The Bad Seed meets 2016; readers will be simultaneously terrified when Rosa's present and afraid to let her out of their sight.

Review: Kirkus, *Starred Review*

A toe-curling psychological thriller.

Review: The Sydney Morning Herald

...a very satisfying (and chilling re ad) with a great ending.

Review: The Melbourne Review of Books

A tense, thrilling rumination on the psychology of evil, this work manages to keep a suspenseful tone while also showcasing a burgeoning romantic relationship. There are also a wide variety of nuanced and complex diverse characters in Che’s New York City neighborhood. Rosa is a truly chilling figure, seemingly unpredictable in her violence yet methodical in her manipulations of those around her.

Review: School Library Journal *Starred Review*

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