A Kirkus Reviews Best Young Adult Book of 2020
A SLJ Best Book of 2020
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of 2020
A 2020 BCCB Blue Ribbon List title
“Move over, Louisa May Alcott! Samantha Mabry has written her very own magical Little Women for our times.” —Julia Alvarez, author of How the García Girls Lost Their Accents
The first time Ana Torres came back as a ghost, her sisters weren't there.
A year after Ana’s death, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, still consumed by grief and haunted by her memory, start noticing strange things around the house: laughter without a voice, shadows cast by nothing, writing on the walls. None of them have seen Ana, but they know she’s trying to send them a message—or maybe it’s a warning.
In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award-longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Samantha Mabry’s story of trauma and the paranormal redefines the idea of what it means to be haunted. After their older sister, Ana, falls out of a window and dies, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa feel heartbroken and hopeless. Between their cruel and unstable widower father and their stifling San Antonio neighborhood, these young women can’t imagine life ever changing for the better. But when objects start moving and voices begin calling from other rooms, the sisters start to suspect that Ana has returned to help them. In its realistic, unpretentious depiction of a flawed, dysfunctional family, Tigers, Not Daughters bursts with raw and honest emotion. Mabry’s magic-realism flourishes and ability to craft nail-biting suspense make this a gripping read, but what really stuck with us was her young heroines’ undying will to survive.
Not long after she and her sisters tried to run away during San Antonio's Fiesta celebration, Ana Torres, 17, fell from her bedroom window and died. A year later, her largely absent father, Rafe, has descended into grief, leaving his other daughters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, to clean up his messes. Each sister copes differently with Ana's death: Jessica, involved with Ana's abusive former boyfriend, simmers with barely restrained anger; Iridian internalizes her pain and finds solace in reading and writing; and Rosa, who has an uncanny connection to the natural world and its creatures, seeks a hyena escaped from the zoo that she believes may be connected to Ana. When strange things start happening, the sisters think that Ana's angry ghost may want something from them. Mabry (All the Wind in the World) peppers a few gut punches throughout a story largely grounded in the ordinary, and the stark contrasts highlight the eerie power of the otherworldly events. Leading up to the slightly ambiguous ending, the Latinx sisters' multiple narratives read more like a series of vignettes than a cohesive whole. Still, Mabry speaks gracefully to the transformative power of grief and the often messy (even violent) road to letting go. Ages 14 up.
I don’t know exactly what it was about this story that hit just right. The characters were well developed and relatable, the narration was brilliant and beautiful, and the magical realism in the story worked perfectly to show how grief disconnects people from reality and from the world that continues to spin around them like normal. I think it’s also a great intro to magical realism for YA audiences.
People keep relating this story to others like “Little Women” and other stories, but I think it stands well on its own.
I’d love to see more Latinx fiction from Samantha Mabry in the future!
A must read!
There is something so special about Samantha Mabry’s Tigers, Not Daughters. I’ve been a huge fan of Mabry’s prose since her debut, A Fierce and Subtle Poison. Her books are spare yet immersive, and this one deftly explores grief and sisterhood through flawed, complicated characters that feel entirely teenage.