Literature: Sisters... No Way!

Sisters... No Way! is a novel by Irish author Siobhán Parkinson. It's told uniquely in the form of two diaries kept by two teenage girls. Cindy is a fifteen-year-old only child whose mother has just died of an illness. She's actually adjusting pretty well to it until her father starts dating one of her teachers. The teacher in question has two daughters of her own, sixteen-year-old Aishling and fourteen-year-old Alva. We read the diaries of Cindy and Aishling and get their views on how their lives change as their parents eventually marry and the families are forced to move in together.

In case you didn't get the parallel with Cindy's name and the plot, it's sort of a modern take on Cinderella, of course, without the poverty and toe-cutting.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Cindy gets drunk during dinner and starts telling stories about the girls in her class. Aishling's narration states that Margaret found these stories very funny, probably because she knew all the girls.
  • Alcoholic Parent: Aishling and Alva's father Philip is implied to be this.
  • Alpha Bitch: Cindy's classmate Emma. She even at one point asks if Margaret sleeps in her mother's bed.
  • Amicable Exes: Margaret and Philip seem to be this at first. But then Philip drunkenly threatens to have Alva taken off her in a custody battle.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Alva, big time. Although Aishling still loves her, sometimes she's exasperated by her bratty behavior.
  • Bitch Alert: Aishling and Alva have this reaction when they first meet Cindy.
  • Blondes Are Evil: Alva, the bratty fourteen-year-old. Averted with Margaret and Aishling, who are also blondes.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Imelda. Since she has no arms, it's easier for her to manage.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Alva, even though she's fourteen.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Alva and Cindy. Averted with Aishling who is a very mature and reasonable sixteen-year-old girl.
  • By the Hair: During an argument at the breakfast table, Aishling grabs Cindy by the hair to calm her down. Cindy does something similar to Emma earlier in the book.
  • Cat Fight: Emma, one of Cindy's classmates, mocks Cindy for Margaret marrying her father. When she asks if Margaret sleeps in her mother's bed, Cindy loses it and attacks her.
  • Christmas Cake: Margaret. Richard is her first actual relationship since she split with Philip who has been with Naomi for at least three years.
  • Cool Big Sister: Richard's sister Imelda, though she's more of this to Cindy.
  • Crocodile Tears: Cindy uses these in her classes to avoid having to do complicated work. This backfires when she gets sent to the guidance counselor, and thus the story begins...
  • Daddy's Girl: Aishling mentions that Alva was this before their parents's divorce.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Cindy and Aishling towards each other. The end of both diaries have them civil enough to each other.
  • The Disease Shall Not Be Named: It's not said what illness Cindy's mother died of.
  • Dramatic Irony: If you read Aishling's diary first, then you'll immediately realize that Robbie, the guy Cindy meets in a bar, is her ex. If you read Cindy's first, then you'll clue in when he phones the house.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Aishling. She's pretty, popular, gets straight As and has a cute boyfriend.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Cindy's best friend Lisa.
  • Idiot Ball: Aishling finds a pregnancy test in the bathroom bin and immediately assumes that it belongs to Alva, her fourteen-year-old sister, as opposed to Margaret, who's in an actual relationship.
  • In-Series Nickname: All the teachers at Cindy's school have them. At first everyone calls Margaret "Milly-Molly-Mandy" and then Cindy starts calling her "The Bay Tree" after her hairstyle.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Aishling and Alva pride themselves on the two kilts they wear to dinner with Cindy and Richard - as well as getting matching pearl earrings with Margaret. Cindy's narration in the diary mocks them for looking silly.
  • Jerkass: Cindy, although her angry and cynical attitude is understandable, sometimes she goes too far and can be very unpleasant.
  • Lady Drunk: Cindy, actually, when she first has dinner with Margaret and her daughters. Cindy actually passes out at the table.
  • The Lost Lenore: Cindy's dead mother for her father.
  • Maybe Ever After: Cindy and Robbie/Bob. They do hit it off and could possibly see each other again. However it's doubtful considering Cindy is living with his ex.
  • Meaningful Name: Cindy - a young girl who gets a stepmother and stepsisters. Her last name is Ellis too. (Cindy Ellis = Cinderella).
  • Missing Mom: Cindy's mother died and the story starts just after her funeral.
  • Not So Above It All: Aishling. She comes off as the mature Nice Girl and Only Sane Woman, especially compared to Alva, but she was actually quite awful to her (ex-)boyfriend Bob, dumping him twice for little to no reason.
  • Perspective Flip: The two diary accounts.
  • Proper Lady: Cindy views Aishling as a modern example, referring to her as "Miss Prim".
  • Punny Name: Margaret Magee - Maggy Magee, Lampshaded by Cindy who wonders why her parents would call her that. Turns out it's her married name.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Discussed by Cindy in her diary. She remarks that once you hear a new word, you start to see it everywhere and wonder how you could possibly have lived without it.
  • Second Love: Richard and Margaret for each other. Also Margaret's ex Philip is now Happily Married to Naomi.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Aishling has this reaction when Cindy comes over to dinner for the second time. The first time she wears jeans and dirty shoes but the second time she wears a dress, does up her hair and puts on a lot of makeup. Ultimately subverted as Aishling thinks she overdid it.
  • She's Got Legs: Aishling has this reaction when Alva wears a short skirt. "[Alva] has a nice figure, she should show it off a bit more".
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Aishling is composed, mature and refined while Alva is loud, obnoxious and a complete brat.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Played with in regards to Bob/Robbie's choice of "snob" Aishling vs "slob" Cindy. Aishling is actually poorer than Cindy but is a lover of classical music and literature while Cindy is a more stereotypical teenager.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Discussed by Cindy. Her mother apparently wanted it to be spelt "Cyndi" but her father stopped her.
  • Territorial Smurfette: Suggested with Cindy towards her father.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Aishling reacts this way to Cindy's make-up at the second dinner. "Her make-up made you want to run for a face cloth".
  • Wedding Day: Richard and Margaret. Cindy doesn't go to the wedding at first but turns up at the end.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The first line of Cindy's diary. She takes offense to someone suggesting that her mother's death was a "happy relief". Her father explains he meant as in a happy release from the pain of her mother's illness but Cindy still finds it rude.
  • When She Smiles: Margaret's smile is her best feature. At one point Aishling notices how old she looks but then Margaret smiles and she relaxes. Cindy remarks "she's not a very attractive woman but she does have a nice smile".
  • Wild Teen Party: Averted. Aishling has a birthday party at the house and it turns out more like a formal ball than anything else.

Alternative Title(s):

Sisters No Way