Sister Mine Reviews

Sister Mine, cover“Bitterly poignant in places, Sister Mine is also a rollicking good read, and Shae-Lynn’s richly drawn character resonates long after her final wisecrack.”
–People Magazine

“Shae-Lynn, plain-spoken and foul-mouthed funny, is a woman about town and that town is a place where “we do what we should in order to survive the world we’ve been given.” They’re good people, except when they’re not and either way you want to know more.”
New York Daily News

Sister Mine is packed with flawed characters formed by violence and neglect who quickly become embedded in the reader’s heart. O’Dell sketches her characters with telling details and cop-shop crackling dialogue . . . Amid chick lit and knit lit and Brit lit, Sister Mine rates as true-grit lit.”
–USA Today

“Tawni O’Dell keeps a steady grip on both her plot and the flawed but funny Shae-Lynn … O’Dell hits her stride here; one hopes this is not the last we’ll hear from her punch-packing, pink-Stetson-wearing heroine.”
–Entertainment Weekly, Top Fiction Pick

“There is much to recommend Sister Mine. The strength of O’Dell’s narrative is that she dances around the main questions and lets her characters tell the story. Shae-Lynn’s voice is entrancing in its honesty, and O’Dell’s ability to continue to freshly capture her mining communities is impressive.”
The Denver Post

“Tawni O’Dell’s energy bursts off the page. Sister Mine is one of those novels that insist on being read, front to back, as fast as possible.”
–The Boston Globe

“With genuine, fully developed characters and abundant humor, it’s easy to fall into this exceptional story and never want to leave. This superb novel is perfect for book groups.”
Susan Wasson, “Galley Talk,” Publishers Weekly

“You become mesmerized by the characters, the crackling dialogue, the description of the skin of a miner looking as if pencil points have lodged beneath it, the pathos of good people facing futures that are certain to be hard and cheap and yet doing so with grace and optimism and whip-smart banter … Sister Mine is the story of (a woman who) rescues a few folks, sleeps with a few more and fights even more than that. Even so, she gets a happy ending of sorts, and O’Dell never makes that ending seem forced. That’s her gift.”
The Lexington Herald-Leader

“The plot, while compelling, is more vehicle than destination, carrying the reader deep into a tour de force of literary muscle that demands a cliché: you simply cannot put it down. … After two critical and commercial home runs, this is a novel for people who devour good writing and craft-intensive story-telling, who savor the haven, both safe and fraught with danger, of a world in which fiction becomes the kind of truth that sets you free. Or, at the very least, makes your laugh, and think, and wish you’d discovered Tawni O’Dell before now.”
The Portland Oregonian

“O’Dell has the literary elan of say, Sue Miller, but it’s accompanied by the wit of a Janet Evanovich. Her characters are always real, always smart, always identifiable as people you’ve met — or as people you’d like to have met . . . From the moment I read her first novel, Back Roads, I’ve been a rabid Tawni O’Dell fan.”
–Victoria Skurnick, Editor-in-Chief, Book-of-the-Month Club

“Dark, funny, and very Elmore Leonard in its way.”
Cincinnati Enquirer

“O’Dell looks like a winner again with her latest, Sister Mine.” –
Seattle Times

“O’Dell’s simultaneously sad and humorous chronicle of Shae-Lynn, her dysfunctional family and her newfound but tenuous love life keeps the reader rooting for her all the way to the last page…and beyond.”

“A masterfully unfolded, absolutely engrossing story as smart and sassy as it is wise…love [is] at the heart of it all, in crisp, insightful prose that sweeps the reader along. A knockout.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Narrator Shae-Lynn Penrose, the author’s first female protagonist, is a ballsy, sassy delight…Many wonderful scenes bear witness for people too often left voiceless in American Literature.”

“O’Dell, whose debut, Back Roads, was an Oprah pick, returns with a terrific third novel set in a Pennsylvania coal country of broken families, altercations and smalltown coping…O’Dell demonstrates her mastery of set-piece dialogue, reeling off stingingly acute encounters that are as funny as they can be crushingly sad… crackles with conflict and a deep understanding of the complications and burdens that follow attachment, sex, love and kinship.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Tawni O’Dell is a great American storyteller. Sister Mine is hilarious and poignant, the details glitter like King Cole from a writer who knows it well. This is a story of family, friendship, and how secrets can bury us or redeem us . . . in the gifted hands of Tawni O’Dell, you can bet on redemption.”
–Adriana Trigiani, author of Home to Big Stone Gap

“Be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster ride with this latest from O’Dell. . . O’Dell successfully combines the story of negligent coal-mine owners and unfortunate, disabled, or dead miners with Shae-Lynn’s own troubled past in this intense, racy, raucous, and often hilarious novel . . . she also packs this gripping tale with loads of action, intrigue, and suspense.”
Library Journal

“I really like novels like this one. I like the fact that author O’Dell doesn’t give everything up early on and that she offers little plot surprises all the way to the end of her book. I liked that the main character is someone you’d want in your corner, and that she’s flawed a little, which makes her even more appealing. And I truly enjoyed O’Dell’s writing: the vivid descriptions of Pennsylvania coal-mining regions, the unapologetic brutality of the life she depicts, and the confusion of someone who loves deeply but hates that she does. If you’re looking for a novel that you won’t want to put down, dig this one up. You’re definitely going to want to make “Sister Mine” yours.”
Parhump Valley Times