“A story that broke my heart and put it back together again. You won’t want to let Gem and Dixie go.” —Sarah Dessen, New York Times bestselling author of Saint Anything
From renowned author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr comes a deep, nuanced, and gorgeously written story about the complex relationship between two sisters from a broken home.
Gem has never known what it is to have security. She’s never known an adult she can truly rely on. But the one constant in her life has been Dixie. Gem grew up taking care of her sister when no one else could: not their mother, whose issues make it hard for her to keep food on the table, and definitely not their father, whose intermittent presence is the only thing worse than his frequent absence.
Even as Gem and Dixie have grown apart, they’ve always had each other.
When their dad returns home for the first time in years and tries to insert himself back into their lives, Gem finds herself with an unexpected opportunity: three days with Dixie—on their own in Seattle and beyond.
But this short trip soon becomes something more, as Gem discovers that that to save herself, she may have to sever the one bond she’s tried so hard to keep.
"A complex and gripping story centered around the relationship of two sisters from a broken home. This book was so meaningful and realistic" (from the Brightly.com review, which named Gem and Dixie one of the best books of 2017).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We have it on good authority that author Sara Zarr isn’t actually a teenager, but her astonishing memory for every detail (good and otherwise) from that fraught, hopeful age means Gem & Dixie rings powerfully true. Zarr's sixth YA novel is an achingly beautiful snapshot of two sisters struggling to survive their dysfunctional home life. It crackles with wit, insight, and honesty.
For most of her life, 17-year-old Gem has played parent to her younger sister, Dixie: their mother spends her meager salary on drugs instead of food, and their long-absent father offers no real support. Now that he has unexpectedly returned to their hometown of Seattle, Gem is suspicious of his motives; when she discovers a bag of money he has stashed in their apartment, she hopes to persuade Dixie to ditch their chaotic home life. But the two sisters have grown apart over the years Gem has turned inward while friends and popularity come easily for her sister so it won't be easy. Zarr (The Lucy Variations) movingly explores the effects of neglect on two vulnerable girls relearning how to trust, as they decamp to hotels and a nearby island in an attempt to give themselves a respite from their day-to-day lives. Readers' hearts will ache for Gem, who so desperately wants to follow a different path than her parents, as she tries to carve out a better life for herself and her sister. Ages 14 up.