Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters, by Natalie Standiford

Natalie Standiford's Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters seems like it's one of the many trashy thrillers out there about wealthy, pretty kids behaving badly, but the plot summary and glossy cover art are misleading. I'm not sure what I could compare this story to, but it's definitely no Gossip Girl rip-off.

When Louisa “Almighty” Beckendorf, the matriarch of an old-money Baltimore clan, announces that she is cutting her son and his children out of her will, the Sullivans are left reeling. The Almighty informs them that one of her six grandchildren has grievously offended her, and unless the (unnamed) guilty party provides her with a written confession and apology, she intends to donate her estate to her favorite charity, which provides underprivileged dogs with rain ponchos. All three of the Sullivan sisters have recently upset their grandmother—17-year-old Norrie has fallen in love with an older man, 16-year-old Jane has created a scandalous website about the family's past, and 15-year-old Sassy has decided she's immortal—so the girls embark on full confessions of their crimes.

I enjoyed reading this book, but it's rare to encounter a teen novel that features such off-kilter emotional beats. Am I supposed to root for Norrie's love affair? Because a 25-year-old grad student hitting on a teenage girl is actually pretty gross. What does Jane hope to accomplish by exposing her family's dirty laundry? Is Sassy a lovable space cadet, or genuinely mentally ill? All three of Standiford's heroines are interesting and compelling narrators, but I frequently found myself wondering what emotion the author was trying to elicit with their stories, which wobbled in a confusing but entertaining way between a “poor little rich girls” story and an offbeat near-parody of the Baltimore high life.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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