Sunday, September 19, 2010

Book Review: Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford


The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . .and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless.

Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes forward with a confession of her (or his) crime, submitted in writing to her lawyer by New Year's Day, she will reinstate the family in her will. Or at least consider it.

And so the confessions begin....


The Short Version:
With three different, well written voices, a flamboyant and entertaining family set up, and confessions that are both amusing and surprising, Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters lays everything of this rich family out for the reader, holding nothing back. Despite the few qualms I had with the ending, the overall feel is a great read with a smooth mixture of depth and lightheartedness. This is not just rich brats throwing a fit, but teens muddling through and balancing a few different things thrown at them, handling it both with fumbles and brawn.

The Long Version:
Quirky and funny, Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters blends a rich lifestyle with humor and teenage realism. With three different perspectives, a certain flamboyance throughout, and an amusing, simplistic premise, it is easy to get into and engaging from the start. Which sister has offended Almighty to the point of no inheritance? What did they do that was so heinous the entire family has been cut out of the will? Interest in piqued from the start and the ultimate answers are not revealed until the end.

Norrie is the oldest of the three, and the first to confess. Many of the family and setting introductions are made in her section, but are blended smoothly and come from her voice, making it more realistic. With an upcoming debutante cotillion looming over her head, pressure to use a grandmother approved escort, and her own fiery romance starting, Norrie has plenty to confess about. She is kind and funny, perceptive and able to piece things together. Norrie thinks things through, and takes her family into consideration often, but she also feels a strong urge to do things her way.

Jane is the middle of the three girls, and the black sheep of the family, so to speak. Her basic reason for confessing is hilarious and plays out in a fantastic way, and her growth as things progress plays out tremendously well. She struggles with her religion and beliefs, struggles with her family, and struggles with her friends. Jane was incredibly authentic, and stood out the most to me.

Sassy had an interesting voice and some amusing beliefs. She has a huge, kind heart, is selfish in the most selfless of ways, and wears many of her feelings right out on her sleeve. Her confession was the most surprising, even if a bit predictable by the time her story came around. She makes her own growth strides, but I felt of the three, hers was the least notable and clear.

The interactions between the sisters was one of the most notable aspects of this book. They got along well, spent quite a bit of time together, and clearly cared deeply for each other, but all three still had their own hobbies and secrets. Another unique aspect of this book was the perspective shifts, getting first all of Norrie's story, then Jane, and finally Sassy. The same time period was told from the different viewpoints, with some variations according to memory of the same events, and new things thrown in that were specific to each girl. This did lead to some repetition and predictability, but it was also interesting to see it in different lights.

Each of the three confessions are both surprising and interesting, making the reader question which one would really upset Almighty that much. The actual confession is unpredictable, and not given until the last few pages of the book. While I did feel the very last little bit was rushed and unexpected, overall, the flow and tie ins were well paced. There are subtle but clear differences in voice between the three girls, and the three sections are written in a way that really does make it seem like the girls have written it, rather than a typical narrative voice.

Source: ARC received for review from publisher/author as part of a promotional tour with The {Teen} Book Scene
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545107105
ISBN-13: 978-0545107105


  1. Wow, this book looks great, and I love the cover! Thanks for the fabulous review! :)

  2. agh! This sounds absolutely fabulous!!!!

  3. Requesting a confession without asking from whom is a quick way to find out everyone's secret. This sounds like a interesing concept. Thanks for the review.

  4. i reckon this would make for a great movie.

    this sounds extremely funny so i will probably pick it up sometime soon

    i wonder if you get the other family members secrets aswell...or just the girls and the final confession

    Great review!