My Sister (Real & Fictional) by Jillian Cantor

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My novel, The September Sisters, is about what happens to 13-year-old Abby after her younger sister disappears. There’s a lot in the book about the two sisters, and people have been asking me how much of it is based on my own experience, growing up with a younger sister.

No, my sister didn’t disappear! But some of the details of the sister relationship in the book are similar to my own experience. My sister and I used to fight a lot when we were kids. She’s three years younger than me, but ever since I can remember she’s also been a lot taller and stronger than me, so usually I was the one losing in physical fights. (I was always better at winning the verbal ones, though. Go figure!) There’s a scene in the first chapter of The September Sisters when Becky (the younger sister) pushes Abby out of an inner tube that they both wanted and then holds her head under water. This was a common occurrence for me and my sister. (And I was always the one getting pushed out of the inner tube or whatever it was we were fighting over on that particular day!)


Another similarity: In The September Sisters, Abby and Becky are 2 years and 1 day apart – both born in September. Well, in real life, my sister and I are 3 years and 1 day apart (although we were both born in June). My birthday is first, so when we were younger, my sister would spend the entire day of my birthday talking about how many hours it was until her birthday (the next day) – just like Becky does in the book. It was so annoying. I used to hate this!!


In The September Sisters, Abby’s mother is always telling the girls that when they grow up they’ll appreciate having a sister, and when I was growing up, my grandmother always used to say this to me and my sister. (We totally didn’t believe her!)


But, she turned out to be right. Unlike Abby and Becky, my sister and I grew up completely uneventfully in the suburbs with two normal parents. Then, when I was a senior in college and she was a freshman, we were away from home, at college, together. And for some reason, I’m not even sure why, we started hanging out. We would study together and go out to lunch, and within a year we went from mortal enemies to best friends.


Now we live 3000 miles away from each other, but we still talk on the phone all the time, and we always try to spend our birthdays together. It’s funny how the thing I hated most about having a sister when I was growing up, is the thing I love most now. It’s so fun to have someone, a friend, to celebrate my birthday with every year. (Although, my sister still jokingly holds her birthday countdown on my birthday every year!)


If you want to read more about Abby and Becky, The September Sisters will be out on February 24, 2009 and is available for pre-order on Amazon now!

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As someone who has a younger sister, I can so relate to this blog. Thanks for Jillian for doing an amazing guest blog! =)

21 comments:

Rachel said...

As Jillian's sister, I can personally remember many of these moments. The inner tube incidents happened often on those hot summer nights swimming before we went to bed. Now, looking back those are some of my fondest memories! The September Sisters is a must read for anyone that has a sister as the book really gets to the heart of the special relationship that only sisters can share. Thanks for finding a way to capture some of those moments for other sisters to share!!

Kelsey said...

Haha...I wish I had a sister. I have a brother who is like 17 months and 20 days older then me. He's a bully. Brother's don't know anything. At least with sisters you went through the same thing and everything.

And I must agree with Jillian's sister. This book is a much read. It was phenomenal. I just read it on Sunday. I would definitely pre-order it so it get's here ASAP!

YA Book Realm said...

Rachel- That's exactly why I LOVED Jillian's book and initially want to read the book soooo much!

I was able to relate to it so much (expect about the disappearance, fortunately). I remember my sister and I would always fight about stupid, little, petty things when we were younger but now we're like BEST friends, and I hope we remain that way.

Kelsey- I'm so glad you got a chance to read the book (makes me giddy when someone feels the same way about a book as me!)

And I so know what you mean about brothers. I have one who is 4 years older then me and he's the exact same way. But trust me, you'll miss him when/if he goes away in college. lol

Simply_Megan said...

I have a younger sister, too, and we argue all the time. Everyone always says that once I go away to college (since I'm older) we'll get along better. I agree with this but my sister doesn't (of course she doesn't lol). Anyway, this is true for my one friend who hated her sister until she went away to college, and now they're best friends.

Sarahbear9789 said...

I have a older and younger sister. I get along with the older one more, because she isn't always in my hair. I care for both of them very much.

Yan said...

I have an older brother ;P Let's just say that when we were younger say about 5 years ago or so we constantly argue, fought and blamed each other. I still remember one time when my mom was working and we left alone, he pissed my off so bad that I threatened to kill him this a butcher knife. I had it in my hand (I was still a tween back then) and was shaking it in his face. And you know what? He was LAUGHING! Yeah, but nowadays we tolerate but don't tell him this but I love him (sometimes...)as his sister. He isn't AWFUL ALL the time. lol

Laina said...

Remind me of my cousins. I don't have siblings, though. Lol

Wrighty - said...

I have two younger brothers and went through the same love/hate situation. The brother that is closest in age (2 years) bugged the crap out of me when we were kids. We almost killed each other over a Pop Tart once! As soon as I left for college things improved. When we were both old enough to go to bars we even bought each other drinks. Now our stories are great fun to tell and I am very close to both brothers. Our kids are very close also. And although I didn't have sisters I was fortunate enough to be blessed with special sister-in-laws. And my kids now bug the crap out of each other. The cycle continues.

Senfaye said...

I have an older sister and a younger sister. I get along better with my younger sister because she is nice and sweet while my older sister is occasionally nice to me. But I love them both equally!

-Senfaye :)

Amy said...

my personal experience with my sisters is that they are the only ones who can really get my riled up becuase they know just how to push my buttons. One time, i was 7 and my sister lied saying i was hitting her(it was a light tap...c'mon) and i got in trouble. I then proceeded to crunch cornflakes in my fists and my sisters havn't let me live it down since!
theodoragroger@yahoo.com

Lalaland said...

My siblings push me to the limit a lot. It's so annoying. We fought over everything. I hate it when they gang up on me, even though when I'm the one that's right. I learned that the best way to get away from punishment is to start crying and saying it's not your fault. It works. The worst thing about having a sibling is that they compare them with you. Grades, looks, attitude, everything. I don't think that my relationship would ever change with them.

Valorie said...

My sister is my best friend. We understand each other without having to give explanations or excuses. We can laugh together, we can pour out all of our dirty secrets, and we never judge each other. It's a really special thing to have a sister, I think. Of course, we fought like animals as kids! She tried to stab me! Now we laugh about it.

Nora said...

I have an older brother, and he's my best friend.Growing up I always wished that there were more of us so I could have more friends like him.

minishoes said...

I am the youngest of 4 sisters and 1 brother. My sisters are alot older then me and they all had moved out by the time i turned 8. Its not like we did stuff together or hung around, and me and my brother were never close. I had always wished i had sisters closer to my age. thanks

Paradox said...

I can relate to some of your sister stories. The part about being enemies... Sometimes.

Liyana said...

I have a younger sister who's 13 this year. Everyone used to tell me the same thing too: "You'll appreciate having a sister" but I always thought she was a pain.

The one event which made me realise how much I valued her was when we were queueing up for a concert a few years ago (She was 8 and I was 13) and a trio of tween guys started bullying her.

I got so mad that I went up them and punched the leader. Needless to say, they kept far away after that. I don't regret doing that, even though in hindsight I could have handled the situation better.

But whatever. She's my sister and I'd gladly do that for her again, no hesitation.

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