Review

The Geometry of Sisters

by Luanne Rice

Everybody knows that sisters have a special bond. Beck Shaw
knows this, because she and her older sister Carrie had a great
relationship. Travis, the middle child, knows this because he has
seen that there are some things about Carrie that she would only
tell their little sister and not him. But Carrie has run away, and
that means bonds in the family have been broken.

Maura, their mother, has her own sister to think about, because
they’ve been estranged for years. She is distressed about her
daughter and has done everything she can to get her back. Carrie
ran away after being involved in the same accident that killed
Maura’s husband, Andy. Finally she decides to move her family
from Ohio to Rhode Island, where she will become a teacher at her
former school.

Newport Academy is a strange experience, not only for Maura, who
keeps running into people connected with those she used to know,
but also for Beck, who is just starting high school, and Travis,
who is becoming a football star but can’t help feel as if he
is adjusting too much compared to his mother and sister. But slowly
they all do, while feeling haunted by their individual and
collective memories of Carrie and Andy.

Beck becomes a math star, and she and a new friend spend hours
trying to find the secret to infinity. Both girls who have lost
fathers, they believe this is a way of getting back to them, when
in reality it may just be their way of grieving. In addition, Beck
investigates an old school mystery regarding a rich student who
died in a terrible accident. Mary, the ghost of Newport Academy,
also had a sister, and Beck finds solace in reading their shared
journals. Her math teacher, Stephen Campbell, develops a
relationship with Maura, who feels troubled about an old love
affair she had with a man who still lives in Newport --- and who is
friends with Stephen. She has a deep, dark, 18-year-old secret,
which in turn is a part of Carrie’s reason for running
away.

THE GEOMETRY OF SISTERS is, fittingly, as complicated a tale as
geometry itself, with interwoven stories and strange connections
between people. In that way it reads almost like a thriller, or a
movie. However, at its core are emotion and family ties. Sisterhood
plays into dozens of relationships and conflicts within the story.
Luanne Rice examines how sisterhoods evolve through time and how
they can be torn apart.

At times the novel seems too easy --- less literary and more
like chick lit. But it manages to stay away from that because of
its scope. Constantly changing points of view, it takes us from
Beck’s view of her mother and then to her mother’s view
of Beck; later we learn what Travis thinks, and how Carrie is
functioning without her family. Maybe a bit too jumpy, THE GEOMETRY
OF SISTERS is ultimately richer because of its ability to look at
the same family from a variety of angles.

This is a good weekend read, because it begs not to be put down
until finished. It flows easily and cleverly places suspense and
romance throughout to catch a variety of readers. The book is
perhaps simple in its writing, but it’s still worth a
read.

Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gómez (hannahgomez@gmail.com) on January 22, 2011

The Geometry of Sisters
by Luanne Rice

  • Publication Date: March 23, 2010
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam
  • ISBN-10: 0553589776
  • ISBN-13: 9780553589771