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September Sisters by Jillian Cantor

September Sisters
y Jillian Cantor

Publishing Information: HarperTeen: New York, 2009
ISBN: 9780061686481 / 9780061767470 (eBook)
: 368 p.
Ages: 12 & Up

A teenage girl tries to keep her family and herself together after the disappearance of her younger sister.

Book Talk:
Abigail Reed and her younger sister Becky are always at each others throats. Their mother calls them The September Sisters, because their birthdays are only two years plus a day apart and she pretends that they’re best friends. But really, they delight in making each other miserable. Then Becky disappears in the middle of the night, and a torn gold chain with a sapphire heart charm is the only clue to the mystery of her kidnapping. Abby struggles to cope with her own feelings of guilt and loss as she tries to keep her family together. When her world is at its bleakest, Abby meets a new neighbor, Tommy, who is dealing with his own loss, and the two of them discover that love can bloom, even when it's surrounded by thorns.

Subject Headings & Major Themes:

Missing Children
Sibling Rivalry

Awards & Reviews:
Booklist, February 1, 2009
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, April 1, 2009
Horn Book
, October, 1, 2009
Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2009
Publishers Weekly, March 30, 2009
School Library Journal, June 1, 2009
VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates, June 1, 2009

Discussion Questions and Ideas:

  1. What did you enjoy about this book?
  2. What are some of the major themes of this book?
  3. Why do Abby and Becky fight all the time?
  4. The Sapphire necklace is important. Why? What does it represent?
  5. How does each person in the family deal with Becky’s disappearance?  
  6. Why is Abby’s mother act the way she does? Does she change during the story? How so?
  7. Do the characters seem real and believable? Can you relate to their predicaments? To what extent do they remind you of yourself or someone you know?
  8. What would the story be like if the main character was a boy? Would he react the same way about his missing sister? Why or why not?
  9. Was the ending realistic? Why or why not?
  10.  What do you think happens to the characters after the book ends? 

Related Websites:
Author’s website -
Missing Children: -
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children -

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Willow by Julia Hoban, 2009
by E.R. Frank, 2005
The Year Without Michael by Susan Beth Pfeffer, 1991

Other Books by the Author:
The Life of Glass
, 2010
The Transformation of Things, 2010

About the Author:
Jillian Cantor has a BA in English from Penn State University. She received her MFA from The University of Arizona and was the recipient of the national Jacob K. Javits fellowship. Her first novel, THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS, was called "memorable" and "startlingly real" by Publishers Weekly and was nominated as a YALSA Best Book For Young Adults. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

| ©2004 - Rhode Island Teen Book Award Committee | Aaron Coutu, Chair