This novel tells the story of four sisters who lose their mother at a young age and who have grown up with an unstable, mercurial father. When the eldest sister dies (this happens in the very beginning of the book, so it’s not technically a spoiler), the remaining three sisters are left behind trying to deal with the loss. Instead of this book being solely about grief and the struggle that comes with being a teenager, there’s a wonderful thread of magical realism that runs throughout (including the addition of some paranormal forces).
“Tigers, Not Daughters” was written with such rich language that I often forgot it was supposed to be in the YA genre. There are thankfully no YA tropes in sight, which made the text feel original and fresh. I loved how each chapter is told from a different sister’s point of view, with some sections being told from neighborhood boys who admire the sisters from afar. I loved getting different perspectives on the same events – this allowed the book to feel really mature and developed (even though the majority of the characters are all teenagers).
The only downside was that the pacing felt a little off to me. The book starts off with a bang but then loses a little steam about halfway through. I also wished for an ending that was a little more thorough. It felt kind of rushed, which left me wanting to learn more about the sisters’ future.
I would definitely recommend this to readers who are interested in a haunting story about the desire to break free from unhealthy environments. I think it’d be great for YA readers who want a story with a little more substance to it and that don’t mind some pretty dark subject matter.
*Free ARC provided by Netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review*