The latest offering from Joshilyn Jackson is a delightful mix of humor, romance, awkward family dynamics, and completely up-to-the-minute social issues. I know it’s early but The Almost Sisters is in the running for one of my favorites of 2017. Leia Birch Briggs is a 38-year-old graphic novelist of midlevel fame. She has a one-night stand at a comic-con with a mysterious and attractive Batman. This results in a little more than morning-after regrets when Leia learns that she is pregnant. While she is deciding best how to break the news of an illegitimate biracial baby to her upstanding Southern family, other more pressing concerns take precedence. Leia learns that her beloved 90-year old-grandmother is suffering from dementia, and covering it up with the help of her best friend, Wattie. Furthermore, Leia’s perfect sister Rachel, is having trouble with her perfect marriage. Things escalate when Leia finds out that her grandmother is hiding a bigger secret in the attic. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, The Almost Sisters is almost perfect.— Sharon K. Nagel
August 2017 Indie Next List
“Leia Birch is pretty much a rock star in the comic world, but her personal life has taken over the drama of her heroines, Violet and Violence. Leia is pregnant with a biracial child after too much tequila and a one-night stand at Comic-Con, her sister's perfect marriage is imploding, and it appears her sweet, proper Southern grandmother has been hiding all kinds of improper things, including advancing dementia. As always, Jackson is witty and charming, and her characters are so wonderfully drawn, it's hard to believe you don't actually know these people. The Almost Sisters is a hopeful book about our ability to preserve the dignity of one another while still helping them grow and change.”
— Susan Thomas, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY
With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.
Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.
It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.
Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.
“Leia, a self-proclaimed superhero-comics dork, narrates this light-dark Southern story of family, race, and belonging with affection, humor, and well-timed profanity, bound to please fans of the best-selling author’s six previous novels.… Both literary and women’s fiction readers will appreciate Leia’s smart/sassy narrative.”
“The Almost Sisters is a book only Joshilyn Jackson could have written… I was swept up by her inimitable voice from the very first page: she deftly combines such unexpected subjects as superheroes, single motherhood, race, and the impact of long-buried secrets.”
“In a story of incredible love and bravery, [Jackson] lasers through the weathered grace and mossy tradition of the contemporary south to explode its comic book dualism with blistering genius…Imagine Flannery O’Connor in a Wonder Woman suit, and you’ll get close to the big heart of this brilliant book.”
“Beautifully written, fascinating and deep, The Opposite of Everyone is another must-read novel by Jackson... Jackson has done a phenomenal job of weaving the past with the present and unfolding the story layer after layer. This is a masterfully written tale that readers cannot put down.”
“Jackson delivers another quirky, Southern-based, character-driven novel that combines exquisite writing, vivid personalities, and imaginative storylines while subtly contemplating race, romance, family, and self. A searing yet ultimately uplifting look at broken people who heal themselves and each other through forgiveness, love, and the power of stories.”
“The unconventional characters in Jackson’s books often provide thought-provoking studies of love and loyalty; this must-read also contemplates the transformative power of storytelling.”
“Witty, cleverly constructed and including a truly surprising twist, Someone Else’s Love Story turns out to be a nuanced exploration of faith, family and the things we do for love.”
“Jackson has written another spirited page-turner… A satisfying, entertaining read from an admired writer who deserves to be a household name. ”
“Only Joshilyn Jackson can present such serious issues with so much humor and humanity, making us consider just how far we might go to protect the ones we love.”
“A vibrant, sharp and humorous read, brimming with relatable subplots, high-energy scenes and overt superhero references... The author deftly succeeds in writing a book within a book, each one beautifully complementing the other.”
“Jackson offers more here than a great plot with relatable, memorable characters and crazy storylines. This cleverly crafted, original tale centers on racism and the dichotomy of the South, as well as complicated familial relationships and elderly care. In other words, she writes fictional tales about real life.”