Gem and Dixie ~ Sara Zarr 

Date Completed: 4/9/2017

Rating: 8/10

This is the beautiful story of two sisters, living a life neither of them are totally happy with. Gem and Dixie’s story is told from Gem’s point of view, and Gem only gradually explains her family history. A high schooler, Gem lives at home with her mother and sister. She doesn’t get along with her mom, and feels that both her mother and father like her far less than Dixie.

Gem has always felt like an outsider, someone who is both far too mature for her peers and yet not cool enough to fit in with them. She doesn’t have any friends, wears baggy clothes from a thrift store, and visits the school counselor’s office neatly every day.

However, her life changes when her father decides to step back into her life, even for only a short time. She has a choice to make, and she chooses to let Dixie in on her secret. Now that Dixie knows as much as she does, the sisters begin to bond and find their way back into each other’s hearts. They fight and bicker as sisters do, but along the way they learn how to trust and appreciate each other.

Gem’s friendships are an interesting component. At the beginning, she seems to have created this dual relationship with the school counselor, as she seems to rely on him for frienship. She tells him nearly everything, primarily about her family history and daily life. However, as she gets out of the house more, she discovers other people her age who have made their own decisions, creating a unique path through the world for themselves. She admires these other lone wolves, and gradually learns how to have friends again.

In the end, this book left me crying, feeling for people like Gem who feel forgotten by society. I’m so glad she was able to step into a lifestyle that worked for her, and so sad for the other people who are never handed that opportunity. I’m grateful for all the people looking out for each other in this world.

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