I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All expressed opinions are my own and do not reflect any stance or position held by the author or publisher. This did not affect my rating or review in any way.Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry
Published by Algonquin Young Readers on March 24, 2020
The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say. In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.
You guys? I have a confession to make. I have been in a MAJOR book slump, basically since February. I think I read two books last month and this month isn’t shaping up to look much better. Work has been stressful, life has been stressful, and my brain just won’t let me sit and focus on one thing for very long these days.
That is, until I picked up Tigers, Not Daughters. This book completely sucked me in and didn’t let go and before I knew it, I had actually read a book for the first time in weeks.
Tigers, Not Daughters follows the Torres family — four daughters and their father — who live in San Antonio. When the eldest daughter dies in a tragic accident, the rest of the sisters are left trying to figure out how to survive, recover, and reconnect. It starts out as a story about grief and morphs into a beautifully told ghost story, where we learn more about each sister and their lives in the year since Ana died.
The book is written using three different omniscient third person POVs, meaning that while we technically get POV chapters for each sister, the story isn’t told from their first person perspectives. This writing style made the sisters seem even more distant and almost mystical, but in a good way. In fact, the writing style was what I loved most about this book. The writing was lyrical and beautiful. I loved different things about each sister and how the author slowly revealed different things about each of them.
It’s also important to note that not a single one of these characters is perfect, and I loved that as well. They all have different flaws and regrets and make bad choices sometimes. They hurt each other without meaning to and act basically like real sisters do. Parts of this story are painful and dark, but never overwhelming, which I appreciated.
Overall, I highly recommend this novel. Mabry has written a dark ghost story that manages to feel hopeful more than it really should. She balances the dark with moments of hope and joy and new beginnings. I ended up really loving each sister and cheering for them throughout the story. I really hope you pick this one up! Please note though, that trigger warnings include relationship abuse, emotional abuse, and death of an animal.
What About You?
Is this book on your radar? When you read it, come talk to me about it — it comes out March 24!