There’s something indescribably special about the bond between sisters. Having a sister means having a built-in best friend, a second closet to steal (ahem, borrow) clothes from, and someone in your corner who will love and stand up for you. Author Kristan Higgins explores the sisterly bond in her new novel On Second Thought. Here, in honor of her book’s release, she shares her five favorite sister duos in fiction.
Katniss and Primrose Everdeen
“I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!” When Katniss offered herself up for her sister, I got goosebumps. I wanted to be as brave and selfless even in the face of fear. When Katniss befriended sweet Rue, she essentially made the little girl her sister as well, and when that went wrong, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get over it. As the series continues, it’s gratifying to see frightened little Primrose Everdeen grow into someone who also steps up and sacrifices for the safety of others.
Elinor and Marianne Dashwood
The dynamic between these sisters felt so real—the older sister who had to be the sensible one, the rock of the family who was sometimes resentful of her younger sister’s ability to be “eager in everything; her sorrows, her joys, could have no moderation.” Both sisters are utterly fierce when it comes to wanting the best for the other, and yet the occasional friction between them shows just how well Jane Austen understood women.
Laura and Mary Ingalls
What could be sweeter than playing with corn-husk dolls on the sun-drenched prairie, helping Ma with chores and listening to Pa play his fiddle at night? I loved the bond between Laura, the feisty, questioning younger sister, and the calm perfection of Mary, who never seemed to put a toe out of line.
Celie and Nettie
If your heart was not broken and mended a dozen times in this book, you are made of stone. Celie, whose own children are taken from her, survives because of her love for her sister, no matter how horrific her circumstances. Her selfless love and desire to protect Nettie, the way she feels Nettie’s love when they are separated for so long… well, I’m crying just typing this. And their reunion at the end lifted my heart to the highest heavens.
Callie and Jessa
Like The Hunger Games, this is another story of sisters sacrificing for each other. In the brilliant and imaginative first book in this series, older sister Callie is gifted with future memory on her 17th birthday and gets a glimpse of all the things that will happen to her. And instead of becoming a chef, as everyone predicted, she sees herself killing her little sister, Jessa! In order to avoid this horrible future, she’s willing to spend her life in jail, or even commit suicide. The love between Callie and Jessa is so real and tender and continues in the second book of the series, Forget Yesterday, in which Jessa is determined to use her rare talent to bring her sister home. What goes around, comes around.
Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA TODAY bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She has received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, The New York Journal of Books and Kirkus. Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two atypically affectionate children, a neurotic rescue mutt and an occasionally friendly cat.