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Time changes things. That painful fact of life couldn't be truer for the Sullivan sisters. Once, they used to be close, sharing secrets inside homemade blanket castles. Now, life in the Sullivan house means closed doors and secrets left untold. Fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, is shocked by the death of Siegfried, her pet turtle. Seventeen-year-old Claire is Time changes things. That painful fact of life couldn't be truer for the Sullivan sisters. Once, they used to be close, sharing secrets inside homemade blanket castles. Now, life in the Sullivan house means closed doors and secrets left untold. Fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, is shocked by the death of Siegfried, her pet turtle. Seventeen-year-old Claire is bound for better things than her Oregonian hometown—until she receives a crushing rejection from her dream college. And eighteen-year-old Eileen is nursing a growing addiction in the wake of life-altering news. Then, days before Christmas, a letter arrives, informing the sisters of a dead uncle and an inheritance they knew nothing about. The news forces them to band together in the face of a sinister family mystery…and, possibly, murder.


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Time changes things. That painful fact of life couldn't be truer for the Sullivan sisters. Once, they used to be close, sharing secrets inside homemade blanket castles. Now, life in the Sullivan house means closed doors and secrets left untold. Fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, is shocked by the death of Siegfried, her pet turtle. Seventeen-year-old Claire is Time changes things. That painful fact of life couldn't be truer for the Sullivan sisters. Once, they used to be close, sharing secrets inside homemade blanket castles. Now, life in the Sullivan house means closed doors and secrets left untold. Fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, is shocked by the death of Siegfried, her pet turtle. Seventeen-year-old Claire is bound for better things than her Oregonian hometown—until she receives a crushing rejection from her dream college. And eighteen-year-old Eileen is nursing a growing addiction in the wake of life-altering news. Then, days before Christmas, a letter arrives, informing the sisters of a dead uncle and an inheritance they knew nothing about. The news forces them to band together in the face of a sinister family mystery…and, possibly, murder.

30 review for The Sullivan Sisters

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    Ugh, I gotta be honest y'all. This book was really underwhelming. I've wanted to read something from this author for ages and I'm worried that I may have started with the wrong book :c It had so much potential to be amazing (spooky seaside town! sister bonding! queer characters!), but it just felt like.. nothing happened and I am SAD. I will still go back and read more from Ormsbee's backlist because I did enjoy the writing style, but I can't pretend that the plot as a whole didn't leave a lot t Ugh, I gotta be honest y'all. This book was really underwhelming. I've wanted to read something from this author for ages and I'm worried that I may have started with the wrong book :c It had so much potential to be amazing (spooky seaside town! sister bonding! queer characters!), but it just felt like.. nothing happened and I am SAD. I will still go back and read more from Ormsbee's backlist because I did enjoy the writing style, but I can't pretend that the plot as a whole didn't leave a lot to be desired for me. Womp. TW: animal neglect, death of an animal, alcoholism, underage drinking, terminal illness (cancer), death of a parent

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kayla

    Edit: Happy book birthday to The Sullivan Sisters! Thank you to Simon Teen for the Advanced Readers Copy! All opinions are my own. I thought this was a very fun mystery! I loved how it showed the complex relationships sisters have with each other and I loved how each one had a very distinct voice and they all grow in some way, albeit a bit predictable, in the end. I liked that the mystery aspect was fun but didn’t overshadow the characters which is what I think are the important part of the story Edit: Happy book birthday to The Sullivan Sisters! Thank you to Simon Teen for the Advanced Readers Copy! All opinions are my own. I thought this was a very fun mystery! I loved how it showed the complex relationships sisters have with each other and I loved how each one had a very distinct voice and they all grow in some way, albeit a bit predictable, in the end. I liked that the mystery aspect was fun but didn’t overshadow the characters which is what I think are the important part of the story. This comes out June 23rd and I highly recommend it for anyone who loves books about sisters!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing - Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I heart basically stopped and raced back up again when reading this book. I could not stop. I love the backgrounds of each of the sisters Murphy, Claire and Eileen and how they used to be a close bunch but when each of them experience a "major" crisis, they drift apart and g This book was received as an ARC from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing - Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I heart basically stopped and raced back up again when reading this book. I could not stop. I love the backgrounds of each of the sisters Murphy, Claire and Eileen and how they used to be a close bunch but when each of them experience a "major" crisis, they drift apart and go their separate ways until a letter addressed to the family on the death of their uncle and how he left a major fortune to them, they have to grow closer and be stronger than ever especially when the death is a suspected murder. Every page was a surprise and their was a new twist each chapter. I know our teen book club will absolutely love this book and I can't wait to hear the discussions that arise from it. We will consider adding this title to our YA collection at the library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Bennett

    eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own. If you are looking for a YA mystery/thriller well don’t pick this one up because the labeling of this book is very misleading. There are family secrets laced within the pages and although there is death involve it isn’t shocking and it doesn’t even play a major role. From the premise I thought that this book would be completely different than what I actually read. I couldn’t find myself connecting to any of the siste eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own. If you are looking for a YA mystery/thriller well don’t pick this one up because the labeling of this book is very misleading. There are family secrets laced within the pages and although there is death involve it isn’t shocking and it doesn’t even play a major role. From the premise I thought that this book would be completely different than what I actually read. I couldn’t find myself connecting to any of the sisters and sometimes their voices mumbled together. They were at least diverse in their weaknesses, sexuality, and what they planned to do as they got older. The one thing I did like about this book was the theme of sisterhood and family. Although family wasn’t as big as sisterhood. Sister relationships are very important to me since I have three sisters. I did like that the girls got everything off their chest and worked to better their bond through the experiences they faced with the family mystery. It brought them and even their mom together which was nice to see. The plot, as stated above, was not what I was expecting. There are elements that could make it a mystery but definitely not a thriller. I liked the stories that were told by the townsfolk surrounding the family but other than that there wasn’t much going on. The book seemed to drag on at times and the plot twists that were presented just didn’t surprise me. Overall, it was just okay. I was expecting a lot more.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Having sisters must be wild. In fiction and in reality, there is always a story with sisters. And with The Sullivan Sisters, there certainly is one. And it's changed over the years as the girls have gotten older, developed their own lives, and drifted a bit away from one another. But a chance letter revealing a relative they never knew existed thrusts them back into each other's orbits. I You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight Having sisters must be wild. In fiction and in reality, there is always a story with sisters. And with The Sullivan Sisters, there certainly is one. And it's changed over the years as the girls have gotten older, developed their own lives, and drifted a bit away from one another. But a chance letter revealing a relative they never knew existed thrusts them back into each other's orbits. I absolutely loved that they had this chance to reconnect. There is a lot of love among these young women, of that I had no doubt. But there is also a lot of pain. Their mother works so much to provide that she's basically absent and each sister is on her own. Eileen, the oldest, is a mess, she's become an alcoholic, and sees pretty much no future for herself. Claire tries to overcompensate by being the best at all the things and assumes that she needs to be some perfect version of herself. Murphy, the youngest (and my favorite) is lonely and lost, but such a genuinely delightful character. So off they go to a quaint town on the water to an old, inherited house. The atmosphere of this place is perfect for both a mystery and a rediscovery of sisterhood. As it's a small town, the sisters have little choice but to sort out their problems, and the clues of their ancestors. And while I won't say too much about either journey, it's wonderful to see the parallels between the mystery and their own reconnection. It's obviously a very family-focused story, but also a story about self-discovery too. For the sisters will never be able to properly patch their relationships if they first cannot heal within themselves. Bottom Line: Atmospheric and full of love and heart, this mystery-slash-sisterly love story is one not to be missed!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vee_Bookish // YA Book Blogger

    I am so excited for this? Happy release day!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stella ☆Paper Wings☆

    The author of Tash Hearts Tolstoy wrote an inheritance mystery with THAT cover??? Take my money! The author of Tash Hearts Tolstoy wrote an inheritance mystery with THAT cover??? Take my money!

  8. 5 out of 5

    emily | wiickedreads

    ARC provided by NetGalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review This book was right up my alley. I have a soft spot in my heart for stories about dysfunctional families coming together to work out their differences. Throw in creepy, old Victorian houses over looking the ocean inherited from estranged family members, the Pacific Northwest, and the uncovering of family secrets, you pretty much have a recipe for my next favorite book. All three of the Sullivan Sisters were so differ ARC provided by NetGalley and Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review This book was right up my alley. I have a soft spot in my heart for stories about dysfunctional families coming together to work out their differences. Throw in creepy, old Victorian houses over looking the ocean inherited from estranged family members, the Pacific Northwest, and the uncovering of family secrets, you pretty much have a recipe for my next favorite book. All three of the Sullivan Sisters were so different. They all had completely different hopes, dreams, and personalities from each other which made them really pop into reality fro me. Each one of them had their own kind of secrets that they were carrying and each of them had their own secrets that they were carrying. Those secrets were the driving force behind each of the girls' character arcs through out the book. This book takes place in small town Oregon. The author really captured the feeling of small town hopelessness, especially where Claire is concerned. I wasn't a huge fan of Claire through the first half of the book, but her desperate need to get away from her home town really resonated with me. Small towns are like boxes and when you already feeling the other people in that box with you aren't going to accept you for who you really are that box gets smaller and smaller every day until you can't breathe. I think watching Claire become self aware towards her behavior was one of the most incredible parts of this book. Coming to terms with the fact that you, yourself, might actually be the problem is such a rough thing for a teenager, but that struggle was shown very well on the page in this book. All three of the Sullivan Sisters were incredibly well written. It's rare for me to find a book where all of the characters have such clearly different voices to the point that it would be impossible to ever get them confused. This book is primarily character driven an it's done so well. Each of the girls had their own stories to tell and demons to face within the overall happenings of the book, but never once did I get bored with any of the point of views. I really loved being included on the road trip that changed the Sullivan Sisters' lives. This is a story about three girls who had drifted apart and managed to find their way back to each other. If you like hidden family secrets, sister bonding, small Pacific Northwest towns, and even a little magic this is the book for you.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marie

    Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[drinking, alcoholism, murder, throwing up, mention of leukemia. (hide spoiler)] Diversity: Gay MC, Vietnamese side-character, f/f relationship. This was... not what I expected. I think I expected it to be more of a mystery than it was. It felt more like a slow-paced story focused on sisters and family and family secrets, as a whole. Still enjoyable, but I think I expected a bit more from it. Full review coming soon! Thank you to the publisher for sending me an e-ARC Trigger warnings: (view spoiler)[drinking, alcoholism, murder, throwing up, mention of leukemia. (hide spoiler)] Diversity: Gay MC, Vietnamese side-character, f/f relationship. This was... not what I expected. I think I expected it to be more of a mystery than it was. It felt more like a slow-paced story focused on sisters and family and family secrets, as a whole. Still enjoyable, but I think I expected a bit more from it. Full review coming soon! Thank you to the publisher for sending me an e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating. My Blog - Drizzle & Hurricane Books - Twitter - - Bookstagram - Bloglovin'

  10. 4 out of 5

    JenLovesBooks

    I didn't realize this would turn into a story with lots of heart. At first it seemed to be just a story about three sisters with a not so happy upbringing, but it quickly turned into so much more. There was a connection there I didn't see coming. Especially, when it seemed to involve a good amount of characters. But, I was shown a story of a family, whom a bit lost, could come together in the form of hidden secrets, and stories untold. There was so much of that in here, as the Sullivan sisters s I didn't realize this would turn into a story with lots of heart. At first it seemed to be just a story about three sisters with a not so happy upbringing, but it quickly turned into so much more. There was a connection there I didn't see coming. Especially, when it seemed to involve a good amount of characters. But, I was shown a story of a family, whom a bit lost, could come together in the form of hidden secrets, and stories untold. There was so much of that in here, as the Sullivan sisters started on a journey to find a truth they all needed so badly. It's one that even if at times seemed to be a given, an end the reader saw coming, it still felt genuine and full of emotion. And each sister was a personality all their own, with the words switching between the three very effortlessly. There are times, as mentioned, where some scenarios could be interpreted immediately after being read, situations that were resolved a lot quicker than one would have wished, but it really didn't take away from the Sullivan's and their search for answers. Plus, there is so much that makes up each sister, that one can step away from those moments and continue into the rest. That includes the castle that makes an appearance every Christmas, the time on the road the sisters have, on their way to a home that isn't one to them just yet, the officer that I want to know more about, who is a true friend that's never forgotten, and the moments that bring mother and daughters together, even if under the not so happiest of circumstances. Glad I took a chance on this novel, because it really surprised me. ***I received this copy from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***

  11. 4 out of 5

    Meaghan - H&WR

    DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. EXPECTED JUNE 23RD, 2020 4 STARS A dead turtle right before Christmas doesn’t seem like it belongs in an inheritance story, but here we are. It sounds a little outlandish for a contemporary mystery, but yes, a pet turtle does die only days before Christmas, and yes, his death is a catalyst. You see, the Sullivan sisters used to be close. These days, though, they’re lucky if they look at one another with DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. EXPECTED JUNE 23RD, 2020 4 STARS A dead turtle right before Christmas doesn’t seem like it belongs in an inheritance story, but here we are. It sounds a little outlandish for a contemporary mystery, but yes, a pet turtle does die only days before Christmas, and yes, his death is a catalyst. You see, the Sullivan sisters used to be close. These days, though, they’re lucky if they look at one another without fighting. But when Siegfried kicks the bucket, an inheritance lands in the sisters’ laps, and a midnight road trip goes off the rails, everything is bound to change. Everything. The charm of The Sullivan Sisters lies in absurdity meeting the mundane. At first, the idea of all these major events colliding around Christmas, capped with the sisters’ mom winning a sweepstakes cruise and leaving for the holiday, struck me as far too much. But then again, I don’t often dive into contemporaries. Why not stick around and see how it shakes out? Maybe this is normal as far as contemporaries go. And to tell the truth? I still don’t know if all this qualifies as normal. That said, it absolutely counts as engaging! From the start, I found myself hooked on the sisters’ POVs. Each one has a unique, forceful voice that leaves no doubt as to who’s behind the wheel for each scene, and despite their flaws, I came to love them all. Murphy, I think, is the most endearing. The youngest sister, she can be a little annoying, but that’s what youngest siblings do. What’s more important is that she’s the catalyst behind the change the Sullivan sisters have to face. Sure, outside factors kickstarted their journey, but it’s Murphy that lies at the heart of it, keeping the wheels spinning. Claire, the second sister, was actually my least favorite, but I suspect that’s an intentional choice on Kathryn Ormsbee’s part. After a rejection from her dream college, she spirals a little, desperate to regain control over the direction of her life. Regaining control, though, involves her pushing her sisters to the side, and looking down her nose at them. It makes for a great starting point in terms of her overall character arc, but also makes her the hardest sister to love. And Eileen takes the cake for the most dramatic turnaround, in my eyes. Initially, she seems uncaring, even cold, and she’s an alcoholic in denial. Something she discovered two years ago turned her world upside down, and she withdrew as a result, cutting everyone off. But her growth over the course of the book struck me as truly heartfelt, and even if Murphy was the most endearing, Eileen was the most complicated. The list of where The Sullivan Sisters falls short is, well, short. Really, there were two major areas where I felt something was lacking. The first was the way Claire’s queerness was handled. She’s gay, self-professed, and while I love seeing more queer characters in books, that fact felt like a surface fact. On the one hand, queer characters don’t require romances to be queer. I feel so, so strongly about that. It’s part of the reason I’m looking forward to Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power this year. But on the other, it feels like a shallow declaration sometimes. I can’t tell if I need another reread, more time to think on it, or if this gut feeling is right. The other issue I had, which was truly the larger one, was the reliance on miscommunication. On years of miscommunication. I can see on one hand how that’s the core of the story. Whose family doesn’t miscommunicate? In the case of the Sullivan sisters, it’s pretty extreme, but hey, that’s fiction, the nature of the beast. On the other hand, though, if the sisters and their mother just communicated, so very much of the plot wouldn’t have happened. Hell, the sisters would have never gone on their road trip investigation if they’d simply waited to talk to their mother. Then again, this is in a lot of ways a book about learning to reconnect when you have failed to communicate in the past. That’s not a lesson learned when you communicate well in the first place. As a thematic element, it works quite well. It’s just that I’m personally never fond of miscommunication in such a critical role in a book. Maybe you won’t inherit a rich uncle’s estate, but you might as well join the Sullivan sisters when they inherit theirs! Originally scheduled for a May release, The Sullivan Sisters is now due June 23rd. That leaves plenty of time to place a pre-order, if you’re so inclined, or request it from your local library. I place it solidly in the enjoyable category, worth a read at least once, and I hope you come to feel the same way. It may not be a book to rave about until the end of time, but it’s still one to watch, one to take time to think about. CW: loss of a loved one, alcoholism, animal death, gun violence mention, implied domestic abuse, suicide

  12. 4 out of 5

    I'm All Booked Up YA

    *We received this book in exchange for an honest review.* The Sullivan sisters used to be the best of friends. Eighteen-year-old Eileen was the leader and a budding artist. Seventeen-year-old Claire was the dreamer, set on getting out of her small Oregonian town with the goal of attending Yale. And fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, was the engine of the family. But two years ago, that all changed– the sisters grew apart, their mom became absent, and Eileen stumbled upon a family sec *We received this book in exchange for an honest review.* The Sullivan sisters used to be the best of friends. Eighteen-year-old Eileen was the leader and a budding artist. Seventeen-year-old Claire was the dreamer, set on getting out of her small Oregonian town with the goal of attending Yale. And fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, was the engine of the family. But two years ago, that all changed– the sisters grew apart, their mom became absent, and Eileen stumbled upon a family secret that could change their lives forever. Now, Eileen has turned to drinking to cope with what she has uncovered; Murphy has to bury her pet turtle, Siegfried, alone because her sisters cannot have a conversation without arguing; and Claire has to deal with a crushing rejection from her dream college while navigating her sexuality. The day before Christmas Eve, a letter arrives informing the sisters of a dead uncle and an inheritance they knew nothing about. The letter reveals that when the last Sullivan sister, Murphy, turns 18, the girls will inherit an estate, which they can then sell. After their mom leaves on a Caribbean cruise, the girls band together and investigate. Once there they discover an eerie house and a sinister family mystery. Over the course of two days, the girls piece together the truth of their past, and maybe rediscover their unique bond along the way. We thoroughly enjoyed this book! When we first read the description, we were excited by the premise. A story about sisterly bonds with a touch of mystery? Sign us up! We grew to enjoy the book even more once we realized this was in fact a murder mystery. We don’t want to give too much away, but Ormsbee wove an engaging story full of heart. We were dying to figure out the story behind Uncle Patrick and his brothers. We found ourselves rooting for Murphy, Claire, and Eileen. All three sisters had different personalities, and although Claire could be a bit argumentative at times, we loved how they complimented each other. Even though they had their differences, we particularly enjoyed seeing Claire and Eileen rebuild their relationship. Murphy was the cutest and full of spunk. We wanted to squeeze her! She really was the heart– or engine as they call her– of the family. Though Eileen had her flaws, we were cheering for her and wanted her to confront her demons. The only thing we wish had been different was the pacing of the book. We wanted a few more details about the murder mystery, and we wish the girls had spent more time talking with their mom about her absentee parenting style. We were also hoping for another twist at the end. The setting of this book was perfect for a mystery. The giant Victorian house in the middle-of-nowhere Oregonian town on the coast set the scene nicely. We now find ourselves dying to visit Oregon! Plus, Christy loves old and creepy houses, especially on Halloween! If you’re looking for a mystery, we definitely recommend picking this up on its release date, June 23! Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)

    Review originally posted at between-the-shelves.com! Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this for early review! Even since reading Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee, I've loved her work. This was a different story, but still a thoroughly engaging story. While it's a bit slow moving at first, the story itself is atmospheric and it draws you in quickly. While this book is being pitched as a mystery, it's more of an unraveling of family secrets through th Review originally posted at between-the-shelves.com! Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this for early review! Even since reading Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee, I've loved her work. This was a different story, but still a thoroughly engaging story. While it's a bit slow moving at first, the story itself is atmospheric and it draws you in quickly. While this book is being pitched as a mystery, it's more of an unraveling of family secrets through the voices of the three Sullivan sisters: Murphy, Eileen, and Claire. For the most part, the voices of each of the sisters were unique enough to tell them apart, but at times, they tended to blur together. Out of the three, Murphy might have been my favorite to read just because she had the most engaging voice. There were times, though, where she seemed younger than she was supposed to be. If you're looking for a suspenseful mystery/thriller, this definitely isn't it. There is death mentioned in the book, but it isn't a huge part of the plot line. It's more focused on relationships and the ways that family relationships change. This book will suit those looking for relationship based stories, exploring family histories and family secrets. It is definitely more of a character driven story than a plot driven story. Adding a bit more suspense might have made this book a little more engaging plot wise. Overall, an interesting read featuring strong characters.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Fink

    Won in a GoodReads Giveaway! There were many good and bad things about this book. I want to rate it a 2.5. This is because truly there was no real plot of this book. It felt like it went on for a long time and nothing really ever happened. Being slow paced is something that truly ruins a book for me. Also I don't get how this was a thriller. And to be honest it wasn't even really a Mystery. If your in to cozy mysteries that don't need a lot of thought and you can relax to on the beach then this w Won in a GoodReads Giveaway! There were many good and bad things about this book. I want to rate it a 2.5. This is because truly there was no real plot of this book. It felt like it went on for a long time and nothing really ever happened. Being slow paced is something that truly ruins a book for me. Also I don't get how this was a thriller. And to be honest it wasn't even really a Mystery. If your in to cozy mysteries that don't need a lot of thought and you can relax to on the beach then this would be a good book but I was hoping to get at least a little more from it. I would consider this a contemporary adventure not a mystery thriller. I did decide at the end of the book to up it to a 3 star because the character development was the only thing that truly allowed me to finish this book. The author nicely started the characters on their own journey each having separate problem. But by the end you could see how much they had grown and how their relationship changed. And it wasn't just I want them to suddenly be better and be friends again, it was a natural building back of friendship they once had. So nicely done with the character development, but I did wish the story was more interesting. Overall not my type of book but for someone wanting a fast simple read where you feel good at the end then give it a go.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lynette

    Disappointing, and could have benefitted from more research about how inheritance works. Also, lots of missed opportunities to delve into some really interesting stories. The chapter about the brothers was absolutely pointless.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    this book was kind of all over the place. i don't think it knew what it wanted to be and i was too bored to see if it could figure it out

  17. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Sisters Eileen, Claire, and Murphy used to be close. A visionary, a planner, and a performer respectively the sisters could accomplish amazing things--like making their house feel like a home even with their father dead and their mother increasingly absent. But that was years ago. Now the girls can barely stand to be around each other. At eighteen Eileen has been carrying a potentially dangerous secret for years. She is working a dead end job. She's managed to hide her drinking from her mother so Sisters Eileen, Claire, and Murphy used to be close. A visionary, a planner, and a performer respectively the sisters could accomplish amazing things--like making their house feel like a home even with their father dead and their mother increasingly absent. But that was years ago. Now the girls can barely stand to be around each other. At eighteen Eileen has been carrying a potentially dangerous secret for years. She is working a dead end job. She's managed to hide her drinking from her mother so far. Her sisters aren't as easy to fool. Seventeen-year-old Claire is an Exceller and she is ready to use everything at her disposal to Excel, succeed, get the hell out of her small Oregon town, and find her first girlfriend. With advice from her favorite self-help Youtuber, Claire has done everything right. But she still didn't get into Yale--the only college she applied to. Fourteen-year-old Murphy has always felt like a fifth wheel in her family. She never met her father so she can't miss him. Her mom is never around. Eileen and Claire never have time for her. Luckily, Murphy has her magic tricks to keep her company. She used to also have Siegfried the family turtle. But then she forgot to feed him one too many times. Days before Christmas Eileen receives a letter that could change everything. The sisters have inherited a house from an uncle they've never heard of. A house that could have answers for Eileen, money for Claire to get out of town, and a chance for Murphy to feel like she's part of a family again in The Sullivan Sisters (2020) by Kathryn Ormsbee Find it on Bookshop. The Sullivan Sisters alternates between third person chapters from each sister. Unfortunately, the clinical tone of the narration also makes the sister's blend together. A heavy reliance on quirks to define their personalities doesn't help matters. Your feelings about this book will depend heavily on your expectations going in. If you are looking for a heartfelt story of sisters reconnecting, this is the book for you. If, like me, you came expecting an atmospheric house mystery you will likely be disappointed. Ormsbee tackles a lot in the book and the mystery aspect, such as it is, barely makes the list. What The Sullivan Sisters does well is present three flawed characters (four if you count their mother) who have gotten so used to drifting along that they need a major jolt (like a surprise inheritance) to get back on track. Throughout the book Eileen is forced to confront her alcoholism (she is in AA by the end of the story). Claire has to admit that her self-help idol may not be as helpful as she thought but also it may not be as terrible as Claire thought to be queer in a small town--even without a plan. Murphy is a hard one. She is funny and often the most approachable of the sisters. But she also killed Siegfried the turtle through her own neglect--something that was hard to swallow even with an abundance of remorse on her part. The Sullivan Sisters is a story about connection and secrets. Recommended for readers who enjoy reading about complicated sibling relationships, family secrets, and flawed characters. Possible Pairings: Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett, Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno, Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry, Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford, The Insomniacs by Marit Weisenberg *An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kavanand (Reading for Two)

    Once upon a time, the Sullivan sisters were a close-knit trio, but as the years passed, they've fractured into three distinct units. Eileen once dreamed of being an artist, but now she's given up on art, works a dead end job, and nurses a growing drinking problem. Claire is determined to leave her small Oregon town behind. She's got straight As and a successful small business, but her dream school has just turned her down. Murphy is the youngest, and she's scared of being left behind. It's Chris Once upon a time, the Sullivan sisters were a close-knit trio, but as the years passed, they've fractured into three distinct units. Eileen once dreamed of being an artist, but now she's given up on art, works a dead end job, and nurses a growing drinking problem. Claire is determined to leave her small Oregon town behind. She's got straight As and a successful small business, but her dream school has just turned her down. Murphy is the youngest, and she's scared of being left behind. It's Christmas, the girls are alone because their mother has won a cruise, and Eileen learns that they have an inheritance from an uncle they've never heard of. This leads to the sisters going on a Christmas road trip to visit the old Victorian house they've inherited, and they learn about a murder mystery that involves their family. I'm a sucker for dysfunctional family stories, and this one is the sort of thing I love. The Sullivan family is a mess. Their father died before Murphy was born, and her mother was left with huge medical bills that she's still trying to pay off, 14 years later. She works constantly at a drug store, and the girls have been raising themselves for the last few years. The narration moves among the three sisters, and we see inside their heads. Claire was the most interesting character to me. As a queer teen in a small town, she's just waiting to finish high school and start life over in a new place. She's a devotee of a social media influencer, and her path to success follows the influencer's teaching, which are both depressing and funny. She's built her dream of escape around getting into Yale on early decision admission, and when she's rejected, she's devastated because she didn't apply anywhere else and she feels like her whole future is on the line (I did wonder why she couldn't just apply somewhere else. It's only December, and most regular admissions deadlines are in January as far as I know.). Eileen's narrative was a little hard to read at times. She's had a really rough time, and she's turned to alcohol to ease the pain. She's a mess and much of it has to do with a secret she discovered two years before, which is related to the mystery inheritance. Murphy is a sweetheart. She's 14, and she's taken the fractured relationship the hardest. She just wants her family to go back the way we were (and to become a famous magician). The three voices are very distinctive and the triple narrative structure works really well for the story. The family mystery is an interesting one and it works well as a device to force the sisters to deal with each other. I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes broken family stories. I received a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Amy Norton

    This book was one of those perfect balances of beautiful and interest. More than that, it was easily devoured. I started to read this book hoping that it would lull me to sleep, the way beginnings of books often do. Instead, I was instantly drawn in to the world of the Sullivan Sisters, and I couldn't put the book down. At no point did I feel bored with the characters or frustrated or like I had come to a good pausing point. This book is a whirlwind adventure which really makes the reader's feel This book was one of those perfect balances of beautiful and interest. More than that, it was easily devoured. I started to read this book hoping that it would lull me to sleep, the way beginnings of books often do. Instead, I was instantly drawn in to the world of the Sullivan Sisters, and I couldn't put the book down. At no point did I feel bored with the characters or frustrated or like I had come to a good pausing point. This book is a whirlwind adventure which really makes the reader's feel like a fourth passenger along for the ride. CHARACTERS The characters are the very heart of this story. More than the plot, these three girls: Eileen, Claire, and Murphy, are what keep the reader reading. The thing that I loved was that their sister dynamic was so organic and realistic both when it was functional and dysfunctional. Each sister was entirely unique and had a distinct relationship with each other & their mother as well as to the sisterhood & family as a whole. At times the characters' decisions and revelations and actions felt repetitive, and I found myself saying things like, "We get it Claire's a perfectionist." or "Yes, Eileen is falling apart." but I think rather than a flaw this is very much a product of their humanity. I also really appreciated the dialogue. The characters talked like real people and conversations jumped around the way family conversations often do. It was really well done. Although, some of the lines we're told are "cutting" or "funny" were not particularly so. PLOT If you read books for plot, you might be disappointed. There's not much of a strong plot here, and the mystery is a bit unsatisfactory. The book is really more about the characters and their dynamics. That said, I am more of a plot reader myself, and there is enough of a plot there for you to wonder what comes next and piece together other parts of the story. There's a good amount of dramatic irony as well. WRITING The writing was poignant, sharp, and efficient. The author does a masterful job of turning emotions into words and describing the entirety of a character or their feelings in one sentence. Also the multiple perspectives was a super wise choice and really well done. It was woven together even better in this book than others. All in all, I loved this book and despite the fact that I was given an ARC copy by NetGalley for an honest review, I am fully intending to purchase my own copy when it's released.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amy Norton

    This book was one of those perfect balances of beautiful and interest. More than that, it was easily devoured. I started to read this book hoping that it would lull me to sleep, the way beginnings of books often do. Instead, I was instantly drawn in to the world of the Sullivan Sisters, and I couldn't put the book down. At no point did I feel bored with the characters or frustrated or like I had come to a good pausing point. This book is a whirlwind adventure which really makes the reader's feel This book was one of those perfect balances of beautiful and interest. More than that, it was easily devoured. I started to read this book hoping that it would lull me to sleep, the way beginnings of books often do. Instead, I was instantly drawn in to the world of the Sullivan Sisters, and I couldn't put the book down. At no point did I feel bored with the characters or frustrated or like I had come to a good pausing point. This book is a whirlwind adventure which really makes the reader's feel like a fourth passenger along for the ride. CHARACTERS The characters are the very heart of this story. More than the plot, these three girls: Eileen, Claire, and Murphy, are what keep the reader reading. The thing that I loved was that their sister dynamic was so organic and realistic both when it was functional and dysfunctional. Each sister was entirely unique and had a distinct relationship with each other & their mother as well as to the sisterhood & family as a whole. At times the characters' decisions and revelations and actions felt repetitive, and I found myself saying things like, "We get it Claire's a perfectionist." or "Yes, Eileen is falling apart." but I think rather than a flaw this is very much a product of their humanity. I also really appreciated the dialogue. The characters talked like real people and conversations jumped around the way family conversations often do. It was really well done. Although, some of the lines we're told are "cutting" or "funny" were not particularly so. PLOT If you read books for plot, you might be disappointed. There's not much of a strong plot here, and the mystery is a bit unsatisfactory. The book is really more about the characters and their dynamics. That said, I am more of a plot reader myself, and there is enough of a plot there for you to wonder what comes next and piece together other parts of the story. There's a good amount of dramatic irony as well. WRITING The writing was poignant, sharp, and efficient. The author does a masterful job of turning emotions into words and describing the entirety of a character or their feelings in one sentence. All in all, I loved this book and despite the fact that I was given an ARC copy by NetGalley for an honest review, I am fully intending to purchase my own copy when it's released.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Elsa Munoz

    This book sure knows how to hit you right in the feels. I'm usually a fan of fantasy stories but this book promised mystery and it sure delivered! At it's heart, it's a book about sisters and their complicated relationship. I mean who hasn't fought with their siblings before? Who hasn't said harsh words and later regretting them but not knowing how to apologize? Or even worse thinking they don't want to apologize because what they said was true? Out of all the sisters, I have to say I liked/iden This book sure knows how to hit you right in the feels. I'm usually a fan of fantasy stories but this book promised mystery and it sure delivered! At it's heart, it's a book about sisters and their complicated relationship. I mean who hasn't fought with their siblings before? Who hasn't said harsh words and later regretting them but not knowing how to apologize? Or even worse thinking they don't want to apologize because what they said was true? Out of all the sisters, I have to say I liked/identified the most with Eileen and Murphy. Eileen was going through some tough feelings after finding out that "secret" (that later turns out not to even be true! Major plot twist!) and her response is to shut everyone out and hide her feelings...and honestly? I've done the same thing, I'm not good with feelings and neither was Eileen. And poor Murphy! Feeling like she's invisible! *Cries* Her chapters were some of the toughest to read through. But I like that despite the sisters bickering and having problems that seem unsolvable, they each found their own strength. They pulled themselves together and then banded together as sisters again to find some closure......I will say that Claire kind of got on my nerves....her who "I'm better than you because I'm a Harper Everly follower and everyone else is a Settler" attitude was so annoying. I half expected someone to knock her off her high horse but...she knocked herself off. She found that maybe sometimes not having a strict plan to follow isn't so bad after all. And while that revelation she had was pretty awesome... she's still my least favorite character from the three sisters. All in all this book had some heart wrenching moments, heartfelt, memory making moments and plenty and I mean PLENTY of mystery!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jelke Lenaerts

    I received a galley of this book through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. This book has a content warning for alcoholism. This book was a bit underwhelming to me. I just felt like not a whole lot happened in this book. The main mystery in this book was something I figured out in like the first quarter. For the rest I felt like the sister relationship and the character's developement of this book and honeslty normally I wouldn't be mad about that but there just wasn't a plot and I als I received a galley of this book through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review. This book has a content warning for alcoholism. This book was a bit underwhelming to me. I just felt like not a whole lot happened in this book. The main mystery in this book was something I figured out in like the first quarter. For the rest I felt like the sister relationship and the character's developement of this book and honeslty normally I wouldn't be mad about that but there just wasn't a plot and I also didn't care about 2/3 sisters. Eileen was just dumb and not really that interesting. Claire was super annoying, a know-it-all and just had a whole holier-than-thou attitude. I kept eyerolling at every other line she said. Murphy absolutely broke my heart though. I really felt for her. However, I felt like the story threw her very much into the background in favor of the other two, which just proved the whole way Murphy felt about herself. Either way, I do think this had some great sister dynamics and loved seeing them figure things out between them. I also liked that their relationship with their mother was also a part of this. I don't know. I guess I was just expecting a little bit more from this book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Montague

    I will never look at chocolate morsels the same... First, this cover is absolutely stunning—so intricate and delicate, kind of like the Sullivan family. This family is hanging on by a thread and it all comes to a head on a road trip over Christmas. Eldest sister Eileen's life is in shambles after finding a disturbing family secret two years ago. Uptight middle sister Claire believes her entire life is over after a major college rejection. Baby sister Murphy feels like the "spare tire" in her fami I will never look at chocolate morsels the same... First, this cover is absolutely stunning—so intricate and delicate, kind of like the Sullivan family. This family is hanging on by a thread and it all comes to a head on a road trip over Christmas. Eldest sister Eileen's life is in shambles after finding a disturbing family secret two years ago. Uptight middle sister Claire believes her entire life is over after a major college rejection. Baby sister Murphy feels like the "spare tire" in her family, completely invisible. The three sisters reluctantly find themselves stuck in the abandoned home of a long lost relative where they are forced to learn things about their family they wish they never knew.   This was really good. The story's perspective moved between the sisters while still being told in third person. The summary is a little misleading; while this was a mystery, I didn't find this to be very thrilling. I wish I wouldn't have guessed the twist so quickly, but I still really enjoyed this. Kathryn Ormsbee is a lovely writer and captured the Oregon Coast really well.  ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 4 out of 5

    AnneMarie

    3.5/5 stars This edition was an ARC. I was not provided the ARC by the author or publishing company but rather by the bookstore where I attend a YA book club. First off, I love the cover and its subtle and yet bold use of color. The cover is what first influenced me to choose this book. I would describe The Sullivan Sisters as a coming-of-age story and mystery. It tells the story of 3 sisters, each coping with a loss, and their journey to find meaning and answers while solving a family mystery. Ove 3.5/5 stars This edition was an ARC. I was not provided the ARC by the author or publishing company but rather by the bookstore where I attend a YA book club. First off, I love the cover and its subtle and yet bold use of color. The cover is what first influenced me to choose this book. I would describe The Sullivan Sisters as a coming-of-age story and mystery. It tells the story of 3 sisters, each coping with a loss, and their journey to find meaning and answers while solving a family mystery. Overall, I enjoyed the book. I struggled with the omniscient narration covering each sister’s point POV. I wish each sister’s POV would have been in first person. That said, I did like how the book was broken up into different years, days, and sisters. I found it to be an enjoyable mystery that kept my attention. I also found the characters very relatable and authentic and loved watching their individual journeys. I recommend this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Haley

    I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. So this book is about three sisters, Eileen, Claire, and Murphy who find out that they had a mysterious uncle who died and left them his house. So they decide to go on roadtrip to this house and along the way they discover family secrets. But everything is not as it seems. So I just have to say that I enjoyed this book so much! I loved it more than I thought I would since I don't read many contemporaries. I love the way the sisters are written with th I received this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. So this book is about three sisters, Eileen, Claire, and Murphy who find out that they had a mysterious uncle who died and left them his house. So they decide to go on roadtrip to this house and along the way they discover family secrets. But everything is not as it seems. So I just have to say that I enjoyed this book so much! I loved it more than I thought I would since I don't read many contemporaries. I love the way the sisters are written with three distinct personalities. Eileen is kind of a bitch with a drinking problem, Claire is a typical overachiever, and Murphy is amazed by everything. There were so many good moments in this book that I won't spoil. Towards the end I thought it was going to turn into a teen mystery/thriller and I'm glad it didn't It ended on a very sweet (if not a bit corny) note. Definitely would recommend if you have a sister or if you're just looking for a book that focuses on family dynamics.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

    2.5 stars. What really shines in this book is the sister relationships. Murphy, Claire, and Eileen are all very different from one another, but their interactions, gripes, and love feel very authentic. I also really liked how at each different stage of their lives they really felt those ages; Eileen at 18 is different from Eileen at 11, but are both recognizably Eileen. This part is great. The rest, however, fell flat for me. Both the cover and the description made me think this was going to be 2.5 stars. What really shines in this book is the sister relationships. Murphy, Claire, and Eileen are all very different from one another, but their interactions, gripes, and love feel very authentic. I also really liked how at each different stage of their lives they really felt those ages; Eileen at 18 is different from Eileen at 11, but are both recognizably Eileen. This part is great. The rest, however, fell flat for me. Both the cover and the description made me think this was going to be darker and more suspenseful than it was; I think those who love thrillers will be disappointed. I'm not a huge fan of thrillers so I was left wanting all of the characters and interpersonal relationships without the murder mystery. I think this could have been a really cool realistic fiction story about three sisters reconnecting in the face of a family inheritance, but the murder mystery really detracts from that. Ultimately the tone and the story didn't really jive together.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    A pretty fast read, but a nice take on both the relationship between sisters and the aching way that growing up can take away the things that made your childhood so magical. I also appreciated the portrayal of an exhausted sort of neglect on the part of a parent - a somewhat nuanced portrayal of poor parenting which might be relatable to readers. Each sister's narrative was well-defined and the characters sympathetic and well-rounded, but between the three of them I'm not sure that there was a t A pretty fast read, but a nice take on both the relationship between sisters and the aching way that growing up can take away the things that made your childhood so magical. I also appreciated the portrayal of an exhausted sort of neglect on the part of a parent - a somewhat nuanced portrayal of poor parenting which might be relatable to readers. Each sister's narrative was well-defined and the characters sympathetic and well-rounded, but between the three of them I'm not sure that there was a ton of depth to the problems or solutions. I'm also so-so on how engaging the background "mystery" was, but overall a sweet and well-written family story. (Baffled, btw, that this is coming out in July rather than around Christmas based on both the temporal setting of the story and the theme/tone, but publishers gonna publish I guess?) Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the eARC.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carli

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. This book wasn’t what I expected, but I was hooked until the end. It is good in the three voices of the Sullivan sisters: alcoholic eighteen-year-old Eileen, perfectionist seventeen-year-old Claire, and the fourteen-year-old baby of the family, Murphy. Their mom is checked out, and their dad died years ago. When Eileen receives a letter stating that an uncle is bestowing upon the sisters a house and estate on the Oregon coast, she prepares to check it out. Alone. Cue Claire providing ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. This book wasn’t what I expected, but I was hooked until the end. It is good in the three voices of the Sullivan sisters: alcoholic eighteen-year-old Eileen, perfectionist seventeen-year-old Claire, and the fourteen-year-old baby of the family, Murphy. Their mom is checked out, and their dad died years ago. When Eileen receives a letter stating that an uncle is bestowing upon the sisters a house and estate on the Oregon coast, she prepares to check it out. Alone. Cue Claire providing the gas money she needs, and Murphy stowing away, and the sisters, who have also grown distant from each other, embark on a journey to a family they never knew existed, and the tragedies tied to it. Recommended for grades 8+.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Patrycja

    I am giving 3.5 stars. I won this book through GoodReads Giveaway. This was a good read but I personally found quite predictable. I like the idea of showing the events through each of the sisters eyes. The story was missing action and too be honest not much was going on. You can figure out what will happen, how it ends. Not many twists nor suprises. Also there was too many repetition. I think that teenagers will enjoy this novel. I guess I have outgrown YA novels.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan W. (pnwbookworm)

    I was actually pretty disappointed in this one. I was hoping for a YA mystery or a thriller and what I got was a family saga that focused on the them of sisterhood. I liked the bond between the sisters and the way they grew. I honestly just couldn't get into this one though. The sisters voices muddled together and the pacing seemed to drag a bit in parts. overall this was one was okay but I just enjoy it.

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