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Literature / The Sisters Club

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"Sisters, blisters, and tongue-twisters!"

The Sisters Club is a trilogy of children's books written by Megan McDonald of Judy Moody fame. They tell the story of the unique and spunky Reel sisters: Alex, Stevie, and Joey, and how they navigate the challenges of life, including school plays, bake contests, and boy troubles, while also trying to get along with each other.

The books are narrated primarily by middle daughter Stevie, while also weaving in the perspective of Alex through her acting scripts, and Joey's journal entries.

The three books in the series are as follows:

  • 1. The Sisters Club (2008)
  • 2. Rule of Three (2010)
  • 3. Cloudy with a Chance of Boys (2012)

This book trilogy includes examples of:

  • Abridged for Children: Stevie tries to do this in-universe in Rule of Three when reading Little Women to Joey, as she wants to spare Joey from the emotional scenes surrounding Beth's death. At first she tries stalling, and when that stops working, she tries using an abridged edition of the novel that skips over the death scene entirely. Eventually Joey gets suspicious enough to look for the real copy of the book herself and finds out what happens.
  • Alpha Bitch: Alex's rival Jayden Pffeffer has several shades of this. She's notorious for being catty with her costars during productions, and isn't above insulting people who cross her.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Joey comes across as this to her sisters at times.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: During their huge fight in Rule of Three, Alex accuses Stevie of being jealous of her for getting the lead role in "Once Upon a Mattress", and Stevie fires back by saying it's her fault that she didn't get the role since Alex blabbed to Mr. Cannon about Stevie's prior commitment to the bake-off, therefore inadvertently ruining Stevie's chances at getting the part. Needless to say, Alex is stunned and horrified by this accusation, and can only respond with a whispered "You know about that?"
  • Awkward Kiss: Wire Rims (aka Owen) kisses Stevie when they're working on they're working on their science project, and Stevie is so blindsided and mortified by it that she runs off into her house yelling for him to leave her alone. The awkwardness mainly stems from Stevie's own conflicted feelings about Owen and her resistance to growing up.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: For all their squabbles, the Reels sisters love each other dearly and will always come to each other's aid when needed. This is best exemplified in the climax of Rule of Three, where Alex, in a fit of stage fright and guilt, locks herself in the janitor's closet before Act 2 of the school play and refuses to come out. When Stevie goes to coax her back out, Alex tearfully apologizes for her bratty behavior towards Stevie and confesses that she was jealous of her sister for wanting to try out for the musical. Stevie is able to comfort Alex and the girls make up, and the play continues on with the sisters fully reconcilled.
  • Boys Have Cooties: Joey's typical reaction to Alex mooning over Scott, or any mention of kissing, is a disgusted gag and eye roll. In Cloudy with a Chance of Boys, she spends a fair amount of time questioning why Alex is so caught up in wanting to kiss Scott, and argues that kissing a boy is as gross as kissing a frog.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Mrs. Reel has her own cooking show and it's relatively successful, however her experimentations at home with "healthy alternatives" leave much to be desired by her family.
  • The Conscience: Sock Monkey, Alex's childhood plush toy, acts as this to Alex during her script narrations when she voices him.
  • Drama Queen: Alex has her moments, especially when prepping for play auditions.
  • Embarrassing Nickname:
    • Joey hates being called "Duck" by her sisters.
    • Jayden Pffeffer, Alex's Alpha Bitch theatre rival, gets called "Fluffernutter" by her peers due to her unpronounceable last name.
  • First Kiss: One of the driving plots in Cloudy with a Chance of Boys is Alex trying to engineer her first kiss with her crush Scott by trying out for the female lead in Romeo and Juliet. When she doesn't get the part, she's devastated and initially drops out of the production, before returning to substitute for the role of Tybalt. While Alex is helping Scott practice a romantic scene he's struggling with, Scott actually kisses her for real, much to Alex's joy.
  • Gender-Blender Name: The Reel sisters all have masculine-sounding names: Alex, Stevie, and Joey. Stevie explains the reasoning for this in the first book as her mom believing that she was having a boy for each of her pregnancies, and their parents decided to stick with the names.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Alex and Stevie have this dynamic for a majority of the series, with Alex playing the role of the Beautiful Sister while Stevie is the Smart Sister. Alex is popular, pretty, and loves the spotlight, while the more bookish Stevie is more down-to-earth and prefers baking and singing in private.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: In Rule of Three, Alex is furious when she learns that Stevie wants to try out for the lead role in the school play, as her superior singing skills would possibly give her a better shot at getting the part. And when she blabs to Mr. Cannon about Stevie's upcoming participation in the bake-off possibly conflicting with rehearsals, Alex feels overwhelmingly guilty about letting her jealousy get in the way of her relationship with her sister, even though Mr. C insists that Alex's comments had nothing to do with his decision to put Stevie in the chorus.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Stevie frequently struggles with defining her role in the family while being caught in the middle of three sisters. Alex is the pretty, popular actress of the family and Joey is the energetic author and The Baby of the Bunch, while Stevie often feels left out as she doesn't know what her "thing" is.
  • Punny Name: Scott Howell, Alex's crush, has a name that sounds very similar to "Scott towel", which Joey pokes fun at and even calls him Scott Towel. Scott takes the nickname in stride, as he finds it amusing, too.
  • The Show Must Go On: When Alex clams up during her lead song in "Once Upon a Mattress", Stevie has to step in and sing the part instead. But when Alex locks herself in the janitor's closet before Act 2, everyone starts to panic as her alternate isn't available. Thankfully, Stevie is able to coax her sister to come back out after the girls reconcile from their earlier argument and the play goes on without any further issues.
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Alex is head-over-heels for her crush Scott Howell, a fellow actor in her drama group. Many times when she's trying out for plays, she expresses her hope that she'll get to play the lead role alongside him, so they'll have an excuse to kiss.
  • Traumatic Haircut: In Rule of Three, Alex is forced to cut her hair extremely short following a failed attempt by Stevie to iron her hair, which led to the iron being left on for too long and Alex's hair burning.