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Book: Missing Sisters

Author: Gregory Maguire

Published: 1994

Book summary: “Twelve-year-old Alice, an orphan who has never been adopted because of her physical handicap and difficult personality, is shocked to discover she has an identical twin sister living nearby,” from

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars



What this book did well

Immediately, the book starts off with a bang, which quickly pulls readers into the story. The beginning of the book also establishes the love and appreciation an orphan girl named Alice has for a nun named Sister Vincent de Paul, who later becomes a key player in helping Alice change a viewpoint about her life. Without the establishment of Alice’s love for this nun, the ending of the book wouldn’t make sense nor would it be as fulfilling.

The rest of the book is a light, easy read. It brings some interesting insights to orphans living under the direction of Catholic nuns, along with children dealing with hearing and speaking disabilities.

What this book could improve upon

Many of the ideas about adoption briefly mentioned or touched upon in this book needed to be expounded upon greatly to earn a higher ranking. The adoption process and why it’s such a big deal to orphans like Alice isn’t really explained, which would’ve helped readers connect better to Alice and understand her actions. For example, when the Harrigans decide not to adopt Alice, they are able to quickly move on and pick another child to adopt. This part felt rushed and unrealistic to the detailed process one must go through when adopting someone. Helping readers understand the adoption process is also important because it would’ve shared some light on how adoption works for children living in a nunnery.

Instead, the adoption process takes a backseat to Alice finding out she has a twin. This plot was predictable and had the vibe of the movie “Parent Trap.” The book even mentions this movie, but it doesn’t add any interesting spins to the similar story lines, besides the main place of events taking place at a nunnery and both twins being adopted. This causes the book to fall flat.

There are other ways the book could improve as well, such as being more clear about point-of-view shifts throughout paragraphs, having less characters’ names to keep track of and making better use of all the characters throughout the book.

Who should read this book

Anyone looking for a quick, sweet read could read this story, except for those who have read Gregory Maguire’s more popular book “Wicked,” since they may find themselves feeling disappointed. Those who enjoy “Parent Trap” may find themselves enjoying this book, too.

Children who are adopted may be able to relate to Alice and the ending of this book. However, they would need to look to other sources to understand the basics of the adoption process and how it impacts the people looking to adopt them. This narrative would be a great, simple bedtime story for children to listen to as they fall asleep.

More adoption book reviews by Brynne Adamson:

“Forever, or a Long, Long Time” – Adoption Book Review


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