Pure Evil


My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

Summary from Netgalley:

What if the most terrifying person you know is your ten-year-old sister?
Seventeen-year-old Aussie Che Taylor loves his younger sister, Rosa. But he’s also certain that she’s a psychopath—clinically, threateningly, dangerously. Recently Rosa has been making trouble, hurting things. Che is the only one who knows; he’s the only one his sister trusts. Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and very good at hiding what she is and the manipulation she’s capable of.

Their parents, whose business takes the family from place to place, brush off the warning signs as Rosa’s “acting out.” Now that they have moved again—from Bangkok to New York City—their new hometown provides far too many opportunities for Rosa to play her increasingly complex and disturbing games. Che’s always been Rosa’s rock, protecting her from the world. Now, the world might need protection from her.


So I don’t know if this is a trend or an omen of sorts, but this is the third book in a month I’ve read with a butterfly on the cover. I wonder what it means…

This is a truly disturbing story, with some nice moments thrown in.  The nice part is his relationship with Sid, the girl he meets at the boxing gym. They have a great relationship that is mature and realistic. I also liked the times he is hanging out with his friends.  But his sister Rosa, always crops up in his thoughts, even during some of the nicer and funnier parts of the story.  She is truly creepy, and she really keeps the reader on their toes wondering what she might do to Che, to Sid, maybe their parents, or her best friend’s twin sister.

The story is told completely from Che’s point of view.  Which makes you see Rosa through his eyes, and sometimes you wonder whether or not he is a completely reliable narrator.  At times you can see how Rosa manipulates him, and you have to wonder how he doesn’t see it as well. You also wonder through out the book how the parents do not see Rosa for what she is, or are they really in denial about it.

Lots of twists and turns in the story, which keeps you guessing.  There are some surprises at the end of the story as well, which were not totally foreseeable, but with hindsight you hit your head with your hand and exclaim, “Of Course!”  A very gripping but disturbing read.


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