When Katie and Michaela Wilder are uprooted from NYC and planted in rural Fir Lake, Katie is horrified by their new surroundings: the too-friendly neighbors, the local uniform of sandals paired with socks, the very idea of milking a cow. Read more...
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When Katie and Michaela Wilder are uprooted from NYC and planted in rural Fir Lake, Katie is horrified by their new surroundings: the too-friendly neighbors, the local uniform of sandals paired with socks, the very idea of milking a cow. But while Katie suffers through shopping withdrawal, Michaela transforms into a small-town social firefly, flirting with the hot quarterback and soaking up nature with her new hick-town friends. As in, people who think camping is *fun*. Does Katie even know her sister anymore? And after Michaela hides a jaw-dropping secret from her, does Katie even want to?
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 171.
- Review Date: 2008-01-21
- Reviewer: Staff
Two city-slicker sisters who live and breathe ballet must adapt to the country in Friedman's (South Beach) happy confection. Fourteen-year-old Katie Wilder's spirits plummet when her best friend and older sister, Michaela, informs her of their parents' plans to transplant the family from Manhattan to tiny rural Fir Lake, upstate. But things get even worse for Katie when Michaela, secretly delighted to be spared the rigors of ballet training and the enormous expectations of her, immediately adjusts to their new hometown. She finds a boyfriend and even gets elected homecoming queen, leaving Katie feeling abandoned and bewildered. Readers will want to overlook various gaps in logic, particularly in the ballet plot line, because of Friedman's fresh and funny approach to classic themes—the fish out of water, sibling rivalries and jealousy. Katie finds herself hiking up a mountain and alarmingly near a cow, and discovers she can handle both situations with grace. A fashionista, she observes her new classmates' flannel shirts and sensible shoes with curiosity; later, she says, “Despite the overalls Autumn is wearing, and despite her belonging to the Camping Club, knowing that she's probably my first friend in Fir Lake makes me grin.” Friedman deftly demonstrates the positives of moving forward and not clinging to the past; she also presents a sister dynamic that many girls—particularly younger sisters—will recognize. Ages 12-up. (Jan.)
Country mouse, city mouse
The Wilder sisters love ballet. They lug their Capezio tote bags through the subway system to get to the Anna Pavlova Academy of Ballet, near Lincoln Center, to work up a sweat with pirouettes and arabesques. Their New York City lives are wrapped up in fashion, Starbucks lattes and their family's tiny apartment. But when Katie's older sister Michaela informs her that the family will be packing up for Fir Lake in rural upstate New York, the younger city girl is less than thrilled. Will there even be electricity in this Podunk town?
The Year My Sister Got Lucky is told in Katie's candid 14-year-old voice. She recounts how her overalls-wearing Fir Lake High School classmates perceive herdecked out in a stylish blazer and bubble skirton her first day of school in the new town. Making new friends is difficult for Katie, who misses her life back in the Big Apple, but Michaela is adjusting just fine: She instantly falls in with the popular group, takes up smoking, begins dating quarterback Anders Swensen and is crowned Homecoming Queen.
Katie barely recognizes this new Michaela, and she misses the old days of heart-to-heart chats and dreaming about Julliardwhich Michaela hasn't even mentioned since the move to Fir Lake. The elder sister seems to have traded in her leotard and tights for parties with her new friends and dates with Anders. When Katie does a little snooping in Michaela's room, she learns a secret about her sister that makes her question the value of their relationship and just who this new version of her sister really is.
Teens will relate to Aimee Friedman's funny and believable story and the universal problems she presents: fitting into a new school, boys, an evolving sibling relationship, boys and what to do with the secrets you discover. The sisters make difficult choices that are not always right, but both adjust and Katie eventually finds that the move to Fir Lake may not have completely ruined her life after all.
Katie Lewis remains a wanna-be ballerinaif only in her head.