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  • Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you, and why? See all answers
    • Sisterhood Everlasting by Sarah Dessen
    • Hmm, that's a good quote! I like it :) As for books that "bite and sting me," I think the last one that did that to me was Sisterhood Everlasting by Sarah Dessen.

      I had loved that series ever since I read the first book as a seventh-grader. Of course, being only 13, I hadn't understood most of it at the time, but I recently read through them again and was so excited to discover there was an ending for my favorite four girls.

      Something felt wrong though, even from the beginning. This book wasn't about carefree summers and boy drama; it was much worse. The Sisterhood was all grown up, and they had grown apart. Bee, Carma, and Len hadn't seen Tib for months, since she moved to Austrailia. She hadn't been in contact with them in months, which struck me as odd. I guess that was the first warning sign, but I'd ignored it, desperate to find the good that had always been in the other four books.

      A little farther through the book, the four of them had decided to meet up at Len's grandmother's house in Oia. I was relieved, and things finally seemed to get back on track. The earth was spinning the corrrect direction again.
      It stopped just as soon as it started. Tibby never arrived to pick them up at the airport, and I felt my dread growing with the other three as she never showed up. She never would again, because she'd drowned earlier in the day, and it was assumed she'd killed herself.

      At this point the book was biting and stinging me like there was no tomorrow. It was earth-shattering, and I simply sat there and read the same sentence over and over for what felt like hours. Tibby couldn't be dead. She just couldn't. Without her, the Sisterhood would fall apart, like a puzzle with one piece missing. The four of them felt like my sisters, and to lose one of them like this felt like I was losing someone for real.

      I got angry at Tibby, so angry. Angry at the whole Sisterhood, actually. And I know that sounds stupid because they're fictional. But the whole time I'd been reading these books, I'd secretly wanted to be part of a Sisterhood like that myself. Tibby had crushed that dream, took away all hope I had of the four of them ever being themselves again. How could she have been so selfish? She had Brian, and Len and Carma and Bee to think about. She'd had a child, for God's sake! Did she really hate her life so much she was willing to give them all up? I wrote her an angry letter, then ripped it to shreads. I knew I probably wasn't thinking rationally, but who does when it's two in the morning and they'be just read the unthinkable?

      Through the rest of the book though, as the other girls struggled with their grief and tried to move on, I finally began to understand. It wasn't until Brian explained everything at the end that I finally felt some sense of peace. Tibby hadn't killed herself, but actually had a terminal disease. Her stubborn pride kept her from telling the other three, and she'd been planning to do it at Oia. She had gone for a swim when she was waiting for them, but had been weaker than she thought and drowned.

      She had known she was going to die, which was why she bought a farmhouse in the states for Brian and the rest of the Sisterhood to live at. A place where they could always go to be together, where she lived on in her daughter, Bailey.

      Most importantly, Tibby lived on in the three of them. Because honestly, who could have a lifelong friendship like that and not remain unchanged?

      ^So that was a big chunk of my goodread review, to kind of help explain how this book has me feeling. It pulled and hurt me in ways I thought unimaginable, but it also brought a great deal of peace. Now I don't have to wonder what happened to them anymore. I can only hope that with time, I'll be able to impact someone else out there like this with my own writing.

      As a friend once said to me, " In a world of constant death, writers give birth to something that can never die."

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