My Sister Rosa, by Justine Larbalestier; Soho Press, Inc. (Soho Teen), 2017 Reviewed by Melissa W.
This book has the controversial theme of Nature vs. Nurture.
It’s a conflict that crosses many people’s minds in the case of their upbringing. Were they born the way they are, or did certain people/events make them the way they are? This is also the predicament that seventeen-year-old Che Taylor faces every day when it comes to his ten-year-old psychopathic sister, Rosa.
As their parents’ business takes them from their native Australia to cities like Bangkok and their new hometown, New York City, Che finds himself at odds with his need for a normal, stable life. This includes his need to keep Rosa from harming innocent strangers. But the longer they stay in the city, the more chances arise for Rosa to leave potentially irreparable damage via covert manipulation, little white lies…and even murder. Can Che convince his parents of his sister’s true, demonic nature before it’s too late?
To be honest, I didn’t want to read this book at first because Larbalestier’s depiction of Rosa (“blond ringlets, blue eyes, dimples that she can turn off and on, like pushing a button”) was more than enough to give me a serious case of the creeps. But my curiosity got the better of me in the end, and I will say that My Sister Rosa is a reminder that psychopathy is closer to us than we expect.