Skip to main content

Ten Ways to Make My Sister Disappear

Review

Ten Ways to Make My Sister Disappear

It's not easy being a little sister. These days, for 10-year-old Sprig Ewing it’s harder than ever. Her father is headed for Afghanistan, her elderly neighbor had a stroke and the biggest pest at school just may have a crush on her. To make matters worse, her sister Dakota won't stop teasing her. Sprig just wishes she could make Dakota disappear, and to make herself feel better, she imagines how she would do it. Sprig is the sensitive and sweet protagonist of Norma Fox Mazer's TEN WAYS TO MAKE MY SISTER DISAPPEAR.

Sprig imagines Dakota floating away on an Antarctic ice floe, melting into a puddle of water, being crumbled and tossed away like a piece of paper. Still, there is no way to avoid the fact that Dakota is in her life to stay. If only Dakota were a kinder big sister. Instead, Dakota takes a housesitting job that should have been Sprig’s from Miss Ruthie next door and tells their dad all the news before Sprig can get on the phone to talk to him. Plus, Dakota allows snotty friend Krystee to make fun of Sprig without defending her. Sprig wishes she could have Judge Judy throw Dakota in the slammer (#2 on the list of ways to make her sister disappear).

Dakota is not really that bad of a sister at all --- it’s just that, to the Ewing girls, the two years between them seem so vast. By the end of the book, they realize they are both struggling with the same things: concern for their neighbor, negotiating friendships with girls, trying to understand their changing relationships with boys, and especially, missing their father and worrying about his safety. They may not like each other all the time, but Sprig and Dakota love each other and learn they will be there for one another when it counts most.

Mazer's prose has a nice rhythm, and the dialogue feels authentic. Sprig is a gentle character but with a real resilience to her. TEN WAYS TO MAKE MY SISTER DISAPPEAR successfully explores sibling relationships but also touches lightly and earnestly on other topics such as the war in Afghanistan. This short novel is sure to be a comfort to little sisters and an enjoyable story for many young readers.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on September 1, 2007

Ten Ways to Make My Sister Disappear
by Norma Fox Mazer

  • Publication Date: May 1, 2012
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
  • ISBN-10: 043983984X
  • ISBN-13: 9780439839846