Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry is not what I expected but it had me sobbing, smiling, and WTF-ing the whole time I read. It’s about sisters and struggle and getting by but also…GHOSTS!
I’m so happy to be a part of this blog tour! Alright, let’s get to the review!
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.
You know when you start a book and about 1/3 of the way through you realize it is NOT the book you thought it was? Yeah, that’s Tigers, Not Daughters. Maybe I didn’t read the whole synopsis or maybe I blocked something from my mind (wouldn’t be the first time), but I went into this book thinking it was just about sisters. Which…it is but it is also so much more than that. It’s also a ghost story and about sisters taking back their lives.
Let’s talk characters.
The sisters are so different in so many ways and yet, while I related to one more than the others, I loved them all equally in the end.
First is Jessica. She is the protector now that she’s the oldest since Ana died. Or at least she tries to protest the younger too, but it turns out she need protection too. Her boyfriend is a controlling asshole and she tries her best to get by while working at the local grocery store until she can get out of this town. She also takes the brunt of the awfulness that is their father.
Then there is Iridian, probably my favorite if I have to choose. She writes romance novels in her spare time. What’s not to love? But she’s also been through some shit and I don’t just mean the loss of her sister. Something happened at school and she hasn’t been back since. Iridian is the character that hit me in my soul. And the way she responds to Ana’s ghost is exactly what I would do. Stay away from the affected area and sleep on the couch. My kind of plan lol. I also love the way she is shown literally clinging to her stories. That particular moment (no spoilers) had be sobbing at 2 AM.
Rosa is…I don’t know how to describe Rosa. She walks around at night looking for animals and sits in the backyard waiting for some kind of sign, but also…will hit a dude with a lamp when necessary. You might see her as sweet and full of imagination but that is not all she is. She is one of the main reasons I CANNOT pick a favorite sister because yes, I love Iridian, but Rosa is also incredible but I like Jessica too!
Let’s talk structure!
As y’all know…I LOVE a multiple POV book. It is my favorite way for a story to be set up. This one is split into the three POVs of the sisters and it’s done incredibly well. We get to see who each sister is but also how they respond to the haunting in their home. It’s perfect!
The bond between the sisters is beautiful. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a sister, but I seem to be drawn to sister books because of how they show women/girls bonding and fighting for each other so fiercely. Makes me weepy every time.
I mean…what says I love you more than anything than going after a dude with a lamp?!?!?! That’s some devotion (and obviously one of my favorite scenes).
Tigers, Not Daughters is so freaking brilliant. If you like sister books, emotional YA, or are just looking for a beautifully written story, I highly recommend this. I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars!
Tigers. Not Daughters is available now!
samantha was born four days before the death of john lennon. she grew up in dallas, playing bass guitar along to vinyl records in her bedroom after school, writing fan letters to rock stars, doodling song lyrics into notebooks, and reading big, big books.
in college at southern methodist university, she majored in english literature, minored in spanish, and studied latin and classics. after that, she went on to receive a master’s degree in english from boston college.
these days, she teaches at a community college and spends as much time as possible in the west texas desert.