Title: The Secret of Joy
Author: Melissa Senate
Who Should Read It? Anyone who has a sister they love or has ever dreamed of having a sister; anyone who has ever over-analyzed their relationships.
What I Have to Say: Before reading this book, I had only read one other Melissa Senate book: Mary-Kate and Ashley Sweet 16 Book 5. While I loved that book, it was very much a guilty pleasure, and I wasn't really expecting good things from this one. I was wrong; it was amazing, a big, warm joy of a read.
The Secret of Joy is an incredibly touching story about two sisters who have to learn what it means to be sisters. Or rather, I should say, about two sisters who GET to learn what it means to be sisters. Because there is something amazing and beautiful and wonderful about having a sister. Despite the struggles that face these two sisters in their quest to get to know one another, when one of them doesn't really want to know the other, and despite the awkward circumstances surrounding how they meet, these two girls ARE sisters. And Melissa Senate's beautiful and fluid yet simple writing really allows the reader to feel the greatness of being a sister, of having a sister. The Secret of Joy will make you wish for the sister you never had. Or be more grateful for the sister you do have.
The awkward circumstances of their meeting and the interesting lesser characters (the hottie town carpenter, the Divorced Ladies Club of Wiscasett,. . .)introduced throughout the story turn this serious read into something that is also fun and, occasionally, laugh-out-loud funny.
This book isn't just about the relationship between sisters, though; it's also about relationships in general, and what it means to be there for someone and support them no matter what.
In the end, I think I loved this book so much for three reasons. 1)I am constantly overanalyzing all of the relationships that I have in my life, be it with my friends, my boyfriend, or my family. This book takes a really simplistic approach to stepping back and seeing what is right in front of you. 2)It takes place in the most adorable small-town in Maine. I LOVE Maine, and I dream of living in a cute small town. In a way, it reminded me of Stonybrook, Connecticut, the make-believe town from the Babysitter's Club that has always been the dream town of me and my sister. 3)My sister is one of the most important people in my life. We have worked hard at cultivating a fun, loving relationship, and I have come to learn through her and her awesomeness that NOTHING can replace having a sister. (Sorry to all ya'll out there that don't have one. :-( I will be giving this book to mine for Christmas. Shhhh, don't tell her!)
Summary (from GoodReads):When twenty-something New Yorker Rebecca Strand learns (her father's deathbed confession) that she has a twenty-six-year-old half-sister she never knew existed, she can't wait to meet her. With her lawyer boyfriend's protests ringing in her ears ("She's just going to want her share of his million-dollar estate!"), Rebecca drives to a small coastal town in Maine with the 26 letters her father wrote to Joy every year on her birthday. All alone in the world, Rebecca knocks on Joy Jayhawk's door, having no idea what to expect.
Turns out Joy, the separated mother of a little boy (Rebecca has a nephew!), isn't very interested in the "father" who turned his back on her existence from day one–or her "sister." But Rebecca is so determined to establish family bonds with Joy that she doesn't go home . . . and finds herself being welcomed into small life by some very loveable, quirky characters, including a sexy carpenter named Theo . . .
Disclosure:Thank you to Sarah from Pocket Books for sending me this book to write an honest review.