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Names My Sisters Call Me Paperback – Apr 11 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In this witty novel by the author of Frenemies, Philadelphia cellist Courtney Cassel decides the occasion of her engagement is the perfect time to heal family wounds. Six years ago, wild-child middle sister Raine ruined oldest sister Norah's wedding and ran off with longtime friend Matt Cheney, with whom Courtney was having a secret affair. Accompanying her supportive fiancé, Lucas, on a business trip to San Francisco, Courtney drops in on Raine unannounced and discovers Raine is still with the smoldering, charismatic Matt, whose mere presence can still reduce Courtney to the emotional state of an adolescent. Soon, Courtney's questioning every choice she's made. When Matt and Raine show up for the engagement party, scores are settled, lives are examined and a few secrets about strait-laced Norah come to light. Crane's brisk voice and knack for finding the humor in Courtney's angst keep the mood upbeat all the way to the rosy resolution. (Apr.)
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'Funny, charming, and ultimately touching ... using humor, warmth, and a great eye for the intricacies of life, Crane draws you into this story of being lost in the midst of family confusions, then finding oneself' Heather Swain, author of Luscious Lemon. Heather Swain 'Crane's newest book is just plain fun ... a funny, smart rendering of the exquisite tenderness that sets in once the engagement is announced' Sheila Curran, author of Diana Lively Is Falling Down. Sheila Curran --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
I could not relate to the story line or characters, nor did I really like any of the characters other than her fiancé, and couldn't see for the life of me why she starting questioning her relationship. The plot, although it wrapped up for me in the end and explained the main Courtney's motivations, also fell short for me.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Courtney, the youngest sister, was recently engaged to her long-time boyfriend Lucas. She plays the cello and is very insecure. Nora, the oldest sister, is very bossy and control-oriented. Since the girls' father passed away when they were young, she helped "raise them" as she puts it, since their mother was buried beneath her grief for years. Raine, the middle sister. is very artsy and free-spirited, and she is always looking for a fight with Nora, or so it seems.
Then there is Matt. Matt is Raine's best friend since kindergarten, and they are inseperable. Courtney has had a crush on Matt all through her teenage years, and eventually she and Matt hook up. Until Nora gets married. Raine ruins the reception, and shortly after, Raine and Matt leave for California. No one hears from them for six years. Raines name is avoided at all "family dinners" to keep peace in the family, and it's taken Courtney years to recover from her broken heart.
Then, Courtney decides she doesn't want to get married to Lucas without both of her sisters. So, she and Lucas fly to California, much to Nora's disapproval, to look up her long-lost sister. She didn't expect to find Matt still living with Raine, or the feelings she thought long buried to surface.
Soon after, they fly home, and not far behind is Raine and Matt. They decided to come visit for a month to attend Courtney and Lucas's engagement party. But throwing the three sisters in close proximity has its drawbacks and fireworks!
The characters are so full of depth and emotion, you will cry and laugh with them. As much as there is a lot of sisterly rivalry, there's also a lot of sisterly love and motherly love. Unconditional love. The storyline is solid and kept me turning the pages, craving more of the dysfunctional Cassel family.
I will be lending this one to my sisters, and they better give it back! Best chicklit book I've read in a long time and one I'm sure you will enjoy!
Armchair Interviews agrees.
So I finally decided to forge ahead despite the name-spelling travesty and... Oh, there's one other thing - you already know my name and I also have two sisters, but our birth order is different - I'm the middle sister (that's probably my real problem, right?)... I decided to read this book to see If I could get an "insider's" view on the subject of sisterhood - I wondered if I could get a better understanding of what it's like to be the "oldest" and the "youngest" and Megan Crane delved a bit into the psychology behind sisterhood and gave some rare glimpses into what it's like to perceive yourself in one of these roles.
This story begins on the day that the youngest sister, Courtney, gets engaged. Her and her intended are on their way to a regular family Sunday dinner at big sister (wait for it!) Norah's house - when Lucas drops to his knees in the snow (how romantic!) and proposes to Courtney. After she gives her consent and they stumble inside to her family, somehow the subject of conversation goes from the up-coming nuptials to the disgraceful way that middle sister Raine conducted herself at Norah's (sigh) wedding six years before. Megan Crane is gifted at telling the story not only from Courtney's perspective, but she is adept at giving the other sisters perspectives as well, flawed though they might be.
The reason for all the hub-bub at the family dinner concerns Courtney's decision to invite Raine to her wedding. Norah (see, you can get used to it after a while) is decidedly upset at the prospect. She just can't understand what she sees as Courtney's betrayal at reaching out to Raine. The story gets thicker when we discover that Courtney's old boy-friend Matt is also Raine's best friend and accompanied her when she fled from the wedding and no one has heard from her since. Well, we find out that someone has in fact been keeping in touch with Raine and that discovery leaves both Norah and Courtney feeling slighted. Courtney decides to accompany Luke on a business trip to San Francisco - this is the city that Raine escaped to following that fateful day at Norah's wedding. Not only does Courtney see her sister Raine, but it seems that Matt is living with her! Just seeing him brings back a whole lot of Courtney's insecurities about the past and Raine is treating her like, well, like a little sister. As Courtney is about to leave the legendary city, questions abound - will Raine attend her wedding? If she does, will Raine & Norah go for each other's throats? And what about Matt, are Courtney's feelings for him starting to resurface? What will that mean for her and Luke? Will there even be a wedding??
Megan Crane delivers the answers and gives readers an in-depth look at sisterhood and their different perspectives. This was a great read (despite the name thing) and a well thought out story - I look forward to reading more from this author.
I liked two of the characters - Lucas and Norah. What was great about Lucas was how he really stood up for Courtney and truly supported her when the rest of her life was in turmoil, even when she was less than honest with him about some stuff. And Norah, well, she was definitely annoying and self-centered, but her perfectionist personality reminded myself of me, and also she was really the only member of their family (excluding "outside" members like Lucas and Phil) who was completely honest about her feelings. I felt like Courtney and their mother were always trying to smooth problems over and fix everything, and Raine was always avoiding everything, but Norah was the only one willing to say how angry she was and not willing to sweep problems under the rug. I liked that about her.
The second major thing that I liked about Names My Sisters Call Me was the fact that a chunk of the book took place in San Francisco, my favorite city in the United States (that I've traveled to, at least!). Reading about Courtney's time there made me feel like I was right there with her, gazing out toward Alcatraz Island and walking along the beach, smelling the delicious aroma of the salt water. It was fabulous to read about.
What didn't I like? While parts of the story moved along very quickly, other parts were a little too slow for my liking - what comes to mind first is the middle section after they return from San Francisco. I would have liked more stuff to "happen" during that portion of the story. I also, for some reason, did not feel much sympathy for Courtney. It's strange, because I too have a sister with whom I have a pretty complicated relationship, but something about Courtney's personality did not resonate with me and I didn't much care about her. Don't get me wrong, I was intersted in what happened to her, but she simply didn't click with me for some rason.
I was satisfied, however, with the ending, and with the decisions that the characters ultimately made. I closed the book feeling pleased with it overall. Megan Crane is an author I would pick up again, even though I didn't love my first endeavor into her work.
I absolutely adored Names My Sisters Call Me. I thought it was funny, heartwearming, heartbreaking, and rang completely true. At the beginning, I was frustrated with the way Courtney allowed her sisters to run all over her. I felt like she enabled them by not confronting either of them about their behavior. But as I read and came to know Courtney more, I began to understand that it was much more complicated than that. When Courtney (and I) realized why she acted the way she did, I felt my heart grip and had to blink back tears (and was only mildly successful).
Sound completely cheesy? Well, trust me, I felt cheesy. But Names My Sisters Call Me managed to affect my emotions in a manner that's rare in the world of today's books. Crane's writing is simple, yet powerful. She writes characters that insinuate themselves into the reader's heart, and then uses her writing talent to garner emotion from the reader. It really did surprise me how much I cared for Courtney.
I don't know what else I can say about how much I loved this book. The characters were well-written, the storyline was gripping - I read the entire book in one sitting, needing to know what happened between Courtney, Raine, and Norah. I also liked the way that Norah and Raine were depicted. Of course, they were completely frustrating and entirely unreasonable a lot of the time, but in the end, they were just as vulnerable and lost as Courtney. All around, it really is a wonderful book.
I think that Crane's words really sum it up; in the acknowledgments, she says, "There are a lot of things I could say about my sister. If you said those things, we would be in a fight. And so it goes, the mystery of sisterhood."