The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer

On the Docket: The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer

Source: Won from Amy Reads

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery

Publisher’s Plot Blurb:

Abby Goodwin has always covered for her sister. Maya’s screw ups started out ordinary enough: Broken curfews. Failed classes. Hanging out with the wrong crowd. But now Maya’s been accused of murder. And Abby’s not sure she’ll be able to cover for her anymore. Abby’s certain of Maya’s innocence–but she’s the only one. With the police closing in, Abby helps Maya escape…and then starts investigating, hoping to clear her sister’s name. What she finds, though, shows how deadly her sister can truly be. From the author of The School for Dangerous Girls comes a page-turning thriller about the things we do for family–and the limits we can reach.

First Impressions:  After reading this book, I arrived at two conclusions. First, I was thrilled to realize that my instincts are still pretty damned sharp. I can still analyze behaviour, words, and innuendos with efficiency. Age has not hindered – actually, enhanced – my observation skills. Second, I simply do not understand, nor do I have any desire to understand, the 21st century teenage culture. At 28, the generation gap has officially turned into a canyon-sized hole of confusion. I simply don’t get it. At. All. The attitude of both Maya and Abby is out-of-this-world bratty; every character is spoiled rotten, has issues with self-entitlement, and milks his/her parents for all they’re worth. In The Deadly Sister, narcissism is a rampant disease.

Please be advised that this review is full of spoilers!!!

From page one, Abby’s behaviour did not make an ounce of sense. Her dialogue, her actions, the way she interacts with “friends” was off kilter from the moment she stumbled upon Jefferson’s body in the woods. The Deadly Sister is another case of an unreliable narrator. We only have Abby’s perspective, her words, her observations to guide us through the story. It doesn’t take long for the reader to realize that she’s leaving out important information.

I don’t care how intensely you love your family, no one with an ethical head on their shoulders will do what Abby did for Maya, unless there is an underlying reason, something more selfish. Never does the reader truly believe that Abby is helping her sister out of the goodness of her heart. Once she “befriends” Brian, and coldly insinuates herself into his life, that’s just another facet of her sociopathic tendencies.

Once the reader realizes that we have been keeping company with a killer for 310 pages, a variety of frustrations occur: why the hell did so many girls fall for Jefferson, who appeared to have “Douche-bag” written on his forehead from the get-go? And, if Abby is so smart, why did she allow herself to fall for him so pathetically? Okay, so perhaps it was a case of a sociopath attracting one of her own. Jefferson was cold and calculating, demonically charming, too. But, does no one in this town have the ability to see through his facade? Apparently, only one. Abby’s father doesn’t trust him, and rightfully so. But all the teenagers, and Jefferson’s parents, are completely in the dark. How is it that one boy (and I don’t care how hot he is!!) has the ability to be a straight-A student and be a five-star drug dealer, and keep everyone in town convinced? No one is that good of an actor. I suppose it’s the same reason no one could see Abby as the cold, unfeeling, selfish sister that she was so obviously throughout the novel.

Cheyenne is also glaringly different from many characters in this novel. She’s smart, but unnervingly emotional. She changes tracks – from angry to happy to sad – too quickly. She covers herself, and her secrets, well. But it becomes apparent why Cheyenne and Abby are such “best friends” to begin with. They are two peas from the very same pod.

Final Verdict: Either Schrefer has the inside scoop on teenage culture, or he’s extremely imaginative. Regardless, his writing is crisp and clean; his characters are strange but well drawn. I would be tempted to categorize this novel as social commentary. Perhaps The Deadly Sister, aside from its entertainment value, is a report on this new decade in which we find ourselves, one of decadence, technology and narcissistic social media. I was very impressed with the idiosyncrasies he gave his characters, which allowed them to develop into real, damaged, or (obviously) insane people. The ending, however, left much to be desired. It was wrapped up with a pretty little, unrealistic bow. I think Schrefer might have spent too much time unraveling the mystery and only had twenty-or-so pages left to write a conclusion. And, if you’re a stickler for justice, you will be sorely disappointed with Abby’s ending.

27 thoughts on “The Deadly Sister by Eliot Schrefer

  1. Yeah I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. It was entertaining but the characters just didn’t seem very real, you are right. And the ending? What was that? sigh.

  2. I skimmed over the last part since I haven’t read it yet but your reaction to it, I fear, would be my reaction. I wouldn’t understand the behavior of those two either.

  3. Personally, titles like these do not attract me. I pass by them, though sometimes I miss out too. Not that this book would be found in the bookshops I visit, though. Anyway thanks for the review. Love your objectivity.

  4. Pingback: Highway 49: Crash « The Literary Lollipop

    • An argument could be made for jealousy… but I’m more inclined to believe that murder was the result of Abby’s narsicism and, of course, being a sociopath. She’s a very strange and devious character.

      Thanks for visiting Tasha!

  5. Hi, nice review I just finished this book and I have a question. Why is it that Maya seemed so smug in the end? Is it because she thought that Cheyenne would no longer be friends with Abby? I don’t really get that part. Thanks!

    • I think she’s smug because she got away with it; no one has a clue she was behind the murder at all. At least, that’s my interpretation. Not to mention, she’s quite arrogant throughout the novel. I think it’s part of her sociopathic behaviour.

      Thanks for visiting!

  6. No, I meant Maya, the younger sister. Near the end when Abby was visiting Maya in prison, she mentioned that Maya was smiling like she had something on her.

    • My mistake! Yes, I see what you mean. I think Maya reacted that way because, for once, she started to see her sister for who she really is. Perhaps Maya knows how to prove her sister’s guilt and it’s only a matter of time before Abby gets kicked in the butt with karma. Let’s hope so… Also, I think the author is trying to point out that Maya isn’t as co-dependent as the reader realizes, and is smarter than we give her credit for.

      Sorry for the confusion!


      • Sure. When Abby starts to reveal herself to the reader, that was mildly climactic, as well as the point when her sister starts to realize she’s been framed. Also, another element is when we start to understand Abby’s key friendships as sociopathic.

        The Deadly Sister was a touch disappointing, so it’s difficult to say. I hope this is helpful!

        Thanks for visiting my blog!

  7. Pingback: 14 of the Strangest Books I’ve EVER read | The Literary Lollipop

  8. what was the lady’s name that let maya stay with for a little while? Also what was the plaxe where maya was hiding was it on top of a tatoo shop?

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