Review: The Sullivan Sisters, Kathryn Ormsbee

There are no spoilers in this review.

The Sullivan Sisters, Kathryn Ormsbee

Published on June, 23rd, 2020 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers.


Time changes things.

That painful fact of life couldn’t be truer for the Sullivan sisters. Once, they used to be close, sharing secrets inside homemade blanket castles. Now, life in the Sullivan house means closed doors and secrets left untold.

Fourteen-year-old Murphy, an aspiring magician, is shocked by the death of Siegfried, her pet turtle. Seventeen-year-old Claire is bound for better things than her Oregonian hometown—until she receives a crushing rejection from her dream college. And eighteen-year-old Eileen is nursing a growing addiction in the wake of life-altering news.

Then, days before Christmas, a letter arrives, informing the sisters of a dead uncle and an inheritance they knew nothing about. The news forces them to band together in the face of a sinister family mystery…and, possibly, murder.

☂️ TRIGGER WARNINGS: click here to see them.

drinking, alcoholism, murder, throwing up, mention of leukemia.

☂️ DIVERSITY: Gay MC, Vietnamese side-character, f/f relationship.



  • The Sullivan Sisters really is a book about sisters and I loved it all the more for it. I’m always looking for great siblings relationships in books and here, well, I got what I wanted for sure. Told from 3 different POV, we get to hear the side of each sisters’ story.
    • Claire was my favorite character of the lot. She’s an overachiever, she’s a planner, she’s a creative and she’s stubborn as heck. I really loved and related to her in some ways, too.
    • Murphy was a lovely character to follow, too, with her enthusiasm and curiosity, her little pet turtle she mourned and her wanting to fit in.
    • The oldest sister, Eileen, gave up on art and lost herself in alcohol consumption after discovering a disturbing family secret.
  • I think what I loved the most about The Sullivan Sisters, was this: the exploration of sisters’ relationships, how their relationship shattered, little by little with each year, the misunderstandings and closed doors and everything else. As the story goes on, we see these sisters getting to know each other again, opening up to each other again and I just loved that so, so much.
  • This book really is a family mystery. Little by little, we discover this dysfunctional family and slowly peel the layers of their past and I was always curious to read on, to know more about what had happened. I didn’t guess anything!
  • The setting! I also really appreciated this small-town, Oregon Coast setting and this big, spooky manor, too.



  • The Sullivan Sisters falls on the slower side …. so if you’re looking for an action-packed kind of story, I’d recommend finding another book. While I appreciated the characters a whole lot, the story, for me, took a whooping 65% to really kick off.
  • I think my expectations for The Sullivan Sisters might have been a little off, too, unfortunately (and that’s entirely on me!). I thought that this book would be a thrilling mystery from beginning to end, and I found it to be more of a family’s past slow-paced exploration, more character than mystery focused. Don’t get me wrong! I love the characters, I was a bit thrown off by this, though. Expectations, the worst, right?



If you enjoy stories exploring complex family and siblings relationships, I’d recommend The Sullivan Sisters. It’s a slow kind of mystery, but the characters and sisters’ relationship and growth is worth it if you’re into this kind of thing!

Final rating:  3 drops!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for sending me an e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.

Did you read The Sullivan Sisters? Do you want to?

Do you have any recommendations of stories focusing on siblings? Let me know in comments!





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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

16 thoughts on “Review: The Sullivan Sisters, Kathryn Ormsbee

  1. Okay, how is it that I absolutely loved Tash Hearts Tolstoy, and yet, this is the first time I’m hearing about this book!? It sounds really good, even though I can see why you had a hard time with the things you mentioned. (Also, it’s the worst thing when it feels like I’ve gone into a novel with the wrong sort of expectations. I’ll forever wonder if I’d have enjoyed it more had I known what to expect.) Great review! 😀

    PS: I spied on the sidebar that you’re reading I Kissed Alice, so I’m all 👀 now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh, I hope you’ll give this book a try anyway, Veronika! If you don’t mind a slower kind of mystery and a lot of character focus, you’ll love that one 🙂
      Ahh well I actually finished reading it, it wasn’t as great as I expected it to be, but I still had fun with it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awww, I’m sorry this one disappointed you! It’s super frustrating when your expectations get in the way of your enjoyment! I know that as a mood reader especially, if a book isn’t what I expected, it can many times lead to me not liking it, just because I wasn’t in the right mood to read it at the time!

    As for stories focusing on sibling relationships, I’m currently reading You Should See Me In a Crown and I’m adoring the relationship between the main character and her brother! I’m not too far in, but I really hope we get to see more of their interactions because I’m loving the conversations that have taken place between the two already!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a little frustrating, I just didn’t expect it to be that way, I think the synopsis lead me to believe in a bigger mystery than it actually was.

      AH! That’s so good to know! I hear so much praise about this book, I’m excited to pick it up 😀
      Thank you so much ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This has been on my radar, but I’m glad I found your review. I’m not always a fan of slower reads and definitely was thinking this was more mystery-heavy so it’s good to know it isn’t. I might still pick it up though, it’s been a while since I read a good sibling story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so happy my review could be helpful to you! It wasn’t what I expected it to be, at all, but if you enjoy siblings stories, you might still enjoy it 😀


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