Title: Gem & Dixie
Author: Sara Zarr
Disclaimer: I received a free copy via Edelweiss for review purposes.
Gem has never had an adult she can rely on. Not her mother, who is neglectful. And certainly not her father, who is not even there. The only constant: her sister Dixie. Being the oldest, Gem has grown up taking care of Dixie. Even as they grow up and grow apart, they always have each other. But when Gem and Dixie’s absent father shows up out of the blue, Gem finds an opportunity. Three uninterrupted days in Seattle with her sister. Gem finds out that in order to save herself, she may have to sever the bond she’s been trying so hard to hold on to.
Gem & Dixie was a book I was looking forward too because I am always on the lookout for books about siblings. I’m also always on the lookout for books that deal with poverty and working class families, because they’re definitely rare in YA. After hearing great things about Sara Zarr as an author, I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this book.
Gem & Dixie, primarily, explores the complex relationship between two sisters: Gem and Dixie, who can only rely upon one another, and how Gem tries to hold on to their relationship through their turbulent upbringing. It also explores neglectful parents, addiction, poverty, and the affect it has on children growing up.
It’s a touching and authentic story. I loved the exploration of Gem and Dixie’s relationship. I think a lot of sisters and siblings will relate to their bond (I didn’t completely — I’m a twin, and our relationship is fairly conflict-free), but I think it’s a genuine portrayal of a complex sibling relationship.
It’s a quick, poignant, and character-driven novel that I think will attract a lot of contemporary readers looking for a more complex look at sibling bonds in a dysfunctional family.
Lauren is a british blogger and book reviewer. She is an avid bookworm, writer and procrastinator extraordinaire. A recent history grad, Lauren is currently grappling with adulthood, finding solace in the written word. As an avid reader of YA literature, she’s a lover of sci-fi, contemporary romance, sister stories, and cute f/f books. Some of her favourite books include Code Name Verity by the incredibly talented Elizabeth Wein, and the soul-crushingly cute The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli.