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Tearjerker / Smile Sisters Duology

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Smile

  • Whenever Raina's "friends" (sans Jane and to a lesser extent Melissa) mistreat or tease her. It's clear that her insecurities get worse and worse whenever they're around (a good example is how at the end of the first chapter, Emily tells her that her ponytails make her look like a baby, which Raina concedes as true hours later when she's going to bed).

    Nicole: What's her problem?
    Karin: Oh, she's just being a big baby.

    • At her 13th birthday party, they trick her into wearing a tube top and miniskirt so that she'll get the attention of her crush Sean. It works and they all have a big laugh at her; Raina, obviously, isn't so amused and asks them what they thought it would be like if she had gone to school dressed like that. Their response? "It would've been hilarious!

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    • Subtle one: on their first day of high school, Raina meets her friends at lunch and learns that, while she spent most of her summer at home (well, except for the stressful as hell road trip in Sisters), they went out and had fun without her. Then they basically ignore her again, showing how little they value her except as a cheap laugh. Is there any wonder why Raina gets new friends later?

    • The straw that breaks the camel's back is in Chapter 7: Raina is buying a snack from a vending machine when Nicole and Karin sneak behind her and pull down her skirt. The entire courtyard (they're at lunch) bursts into laughter, causing Raina to run to the bathroom in tears. The worst part is that the rest of her "friends" follow her. Not to console her, no; they try to convince her that Nicole and Karin didn't do anything wrong.
    Raina: I don't care WHAT they were doing! They pulled my skirt off in front of the entire school!
    Emily: At least you had leggings underneath...
    Raina: That's not the point. They humiliated me.
    (beat)
    Emily: But you have to admit, it was kinda funny ...
    Raina: What?!
    *** Then, she runs into Nicole and Karin and almost starts crying again while they stare her down and smirk at her. It's no wonder Raina breaks up with them.
  • When Raina learns she's going to lose her two front teeth, she becomes borderline depressed for what is hinted to be several months, causing her grades to slip, for her to lose her love for art, and to become more distant from Sammy. She can be whiny, but she has a good reason to.
  • How Sammy and Raina's relationship falls apart. Raina and Sam, a sixth grader with braces who's a year younger than her, share a mutual crush throughout the first semester of Raina's 7th Grade year. Then Sean enters the picture and, unwittingly, causes a rift between Raina and Sammy; Sammy asks Raina to the dance and she says that she'l be there, but because of her disappointment that Sean isn't coming and her confusion about her new feelings, Raina stands him up. Heartbroken, Sammy gives her a box of chocolates and (politely) breaks off their relationship.
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Sisters

  • Raina's flashback to learning her dad is about to be laid off. It's so out of nowhere since, at this point in the book, Sisters has been more lighthearted than Smile. The panel where Denis tells them he only has a few more days is completely black with only his face and the speech bubble showing.
    • Then young Raina goes through a sort of dreamlike sequence where she wishes that she hadn't just gotten a new baby brother which took all of their mother's attention, or the sister she'd begged for for more than a year, believing that her own flesh and blood hates her. The entire family hugs just as the sequence ends.
    • Raina and Amara watch their parents talk about all of the financial problems they'll face bfore Denis finds another job. At this point, Raina is 8 years old and Amara is only three. That's far too young to be worrying about something this serious.
  • Raina tries and fails to connect with her older cousin Lindsay, who she has idolized since she was a young child. While not exactly unfriendly to her baby cousin, Lindsay is much more interested in hanging out with her older and more mature relatives, not even noticing Raina walk away.
    • Actually, Raina tries and fails to connect with literally everyone at the family reunion: the adults are too angry and fractious, fighting over every little thing (hinting at the relationship that Raina and Amara could've had if they hadn't reconciled as children); the other teenagers, as stated above, don't seem to think much of her; and the kids are too rowdy for a fourteen year old girl to play with. Distraught and lonely, Raina walks outside ... to see her sister sitting on the steps.
    Raina: Do you ever feel like you just don't fit in?
    Amara: All the time. The difference between you and me is, I don't care.
    • Raina admits that she actually did have coloring pencils and offers to give them to Amara. Amara refuses, saying she doesn't care about socializing. Raina then blows up at her sister, telling her that she won't do anything nice for her again. Amara's response?
    Amara: You're not being nice. You're just feeling sorry for yourself.
    Raina: That's not fair!
    Amara: But it's true! If Lindsay wanted to hang out, you'd be gone in a snap!
    Raina: I'M GOING ANYWAY!
    Amara: SO GO!
(door slams)
  • That night, Raina realizes that the cousin she always wanted to be her sister doesn't think of her the same way and that the sister she actually has hates her and everyone else. That's not something pleasant for anyone to realize, especially someone like Raina, who has a pretty miserable school life due to her insecurities and bad friends on top of her problems at home.
  • Amara, when you think about it, has a pretty sad life. She has poor social skills and doesn't get along with any of her family members, and is hinted to suffer from middle child syndrome. It's pretty clear why she's so grumpy.
  • The ending. Raina finally realizes that her parents haven't gotten along for ages, and that she's been absent in her family due to always retreating into her Walkman whenever things go awry. In real life, their parents did get a divorce... five years after Sisters is set. They're good friends according to Raina, but in the context of this story, it's pretty depressing to realize that your mom and dad aren't as perfect as you think they are.
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