Better Together

St. Martin’s/Wednesday. Jun. 2021. 448p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250760067.
Gr 9 Up–Siri, an 18-year-old ballet dancer, receives the devastating news that a back injury has derailed her career. Jamie, a 20-year-old aspiring stand-up comedian, is unsure about her future after a humiliating performance. Both girls turn to the Rediscover Yourself retreat to refocus their lives. While neither girl attends willingly, both hope the experience will be life-changing. It is, just not in a way either girl imagined. When the two literally run into each other, Jamie recognizes Siri as the sister she has not seen for 14 years, due to their parents’ bitter divorce and custody agreement. After spending the week tentatively reconnecting with Siri, Jamie convinces her to pull a Parent Trap switch. The sisters, with a boost from a magic glitter bomb, swap homes, parents, and personas. But the big reveal falls flat; the pair discovers revenge is unfulfilling and reality is messier than a movie script. With the assistance of a therapist, the sisters examine how their manipulated upbringing shaped their emotional development, and they eventually attain a more satisfying rapprochement with their parents. The overall read is compelling, particularly the after story, as the girls pick up the messy pieces. There is romance for both girls; one is heterosexual and the other is bisexual. The sisters present as white, their love interests are Pakistani and Filipino, and other minor characters vary in race.
VERDICT Both realistic fiction and romance readers will enjoy this updated Parent Trap that focuses on the psychological trauma wreaked by selfish grown-ups.

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