In a similar vein as The Good Son and Stephen King’s works but more subtle and psychological (meaning creepier), My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalester is creepily brilliant.
The story follows Che whose top priority is controlling his 10 year old sister Rosa. He has concluded that she’s a psychopath due to her disturbing behaviour like laughing at a friend crying over killing their pet…
It frustrates Che that his parents don’t seem to care or believe that there’s anything wrong with Rosa. Plus he wants to be a normal teenage boy and do normal teenage things. But he can’t have that as Rosa keeps intervening, much to her pleasure.
How can he pursue the normal like making friends and hooking up with a girl when Rosa wants to be everyone’s “best friend” and wonders what would it be like to push Che’s girlfriend down the stairs and wishes those close to the family dead? And all the parentals can say is that she’s just going through a “childhood phase”?
I’ve never hated a kid as much as I hate Rosa. Seriously, I want to throw her into a bonfire! [hugs Che]
My Sister Rosa is well-written and you can tell that a lot of careful research has been done and intertwined with the story. Each sentence (especially the last lines of each chapter) heightens up the tension and gives you palpitations and goosebumps. Each chapter reveals a mindblowing detail, building up to the ultimate plot twist. I didn’t see the twist coming – it was enough to cause my stomach to twist itself.
Thankfully there are moments that are normal and happy…only to be torn down by Rosa moments. You can feel Che’s frustration. The ending isn’t closed, making you even more frustrated. Being reminded that sometimes protagonists can’t win really hurts.
I recommend this book if you love creepy stories, if you’re a parent and interested in childhood behaviours, if you don’t want to have kids and seek another reason not to have one, or if you need a reminder/warning that psychopaths can be appear normal – charming, beautiful, talkative, smart (smart enough to wrap people around their fingers and manipulate them.