When My Sister Started Kissing, March 14, 2017
Margaret Ferguson Books, FSG, MacMillan


Early reviews:


A young girl and her sister share a pivotal summer at the lake with their family. Following on Applesauce Weather (2016), her recent book for young middle graders, Frost again explores familial intimacy from a number of revealing perspectives. In poems told mostly from 10-year-old Claire's vantage, her 13-year-old sister, Abigail, negotiates her budding adolescence and feelings for two boys at the lake where the white family vacations each summer. Claire marvels at Abigail's transformation into "Abi," the "queen / of Eastside Beach," who's developed a "whole new talking-to-boys voice." Both girls also reckon with the infusion of their new stepmother and a baby on the way into the family dynamic they've known with their father since their mother died suddenly when Claire was an infant. Frost deftly shows the value of openness to compassion and personal growth among parent, child, and sibling, using her mastery of poetic form to subtly introduce differences of voice in the poems of Claire, Abi, and the somewhat omniscient perspective of the lake itself. With her signature formalist touch, Frost plays with acrostics and other forms, occasionally embedding well-known lines of famous poems into her own; notes to these are in the backmatter. Frost pulls out all the stops in this heartwarming tale of family in the remaking: everything a novel-in-poems should be. (Verse fiction. 10-16)

And a great review from School Library Journal:

Gr 5-7–Claire, 11, and her older sister Abigail, 13, have always been close. Their mother died when the girls were young, but their father made sure they had a happy childhood. An important part of their family history has been the month they spend each year at their cabin at Heartstone Lake. Although it was the site of their mother’s death, Claire and Abigail love it because their mom loved it, and they feel connected to their mother through their shared experiences on the lake. This summer, however, the girls have a new stepmother and a baby brother on the way. When Abigail, now “Abi,” starts spending time with a boyfriend rather than with her sister, Claire feels isolated from everyone in her family. The story unfolds in a series of quatrain, free verse, and acrostic poems that present the perspectives of Claire, Abi, and the lake itself. Each new image adds to the last, creating a complete mosaic by the end of the month at the lake. Some of the poems contain both text and a subtext so that readers can decode added meaning through certain words or letters in bold type. Frost, the author of Keesha’s House and Salt, uses the verse format effectively, showing the development of each of the characters in brief, well-chosen vignettes. VERDICT An insightful portrayal of a family in transition. For tween readers who appreciate lyrical writing and coming-of-age tales.–Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher’s School, Richmond, VA