Reviews: Fourth Sister

Editorial Reviews

It is an exquisite tale of hope and redemption.

From the very first page, poetic words pull the reader through this incredible story. It’s not a story that is full of action, but the beauty of the words and story itself make it hard to put down. I love this author’s amazing gift for storytelling, and this book is by far my most favorite one yet. It teaches about self-acceptance, looking deeper than the surface, and that mending broken relationships can make them deeper and even more beautiful. What a powerful, inspiring, and memorable story this is! This is definitely a book I am buying when it comes out in paperback.

  • Kimberly King, author of The Trouble with Fairy Godmothers

Fourth Sister pulls you into a world of Japanese culture and legend in a remarkable way. Every description and dialogue is so authentic that it is like looking into another place and time and immerses you in a world where myths are reality but superstition also abounds. The characters are intensely human. One of the captivating elements is how true to life they are. 

The book starts reminiscent of “A Single Shard” and gradually adds mythical elements as the heroine overcomes her own self-prejudice and discovers her own value and talents. It deals with questions of gender and class equality and learning to see self and others clearly. At the same time it has a fun story of discovery and family healing through shared challenges and adventure where talent, wit, and love triumph instead of the usual adventure fare of physical strength and fighting. 

  • Rick Haws

I really enjoyed the mixture of Japanese lore, culture, mystery, and fantasy elements. It all came together perfectly in the end… It was enchanting and intriguing. I couldn’t put it down. I for sure recommend this. 5 stars. –

Every time I read one of Farb’s books, I find myself claiming, “This is my favorite one!” Each time I mean it. The characters in Fourth Sister, as in Farb’s other books, are full of life, emotion, and most of all, growth. More than that, they make me laugh, make me worry, and make me think.

Selected Reviews

This book, like a ritual play or the Japanese tea ceremonies it depicts, is an experience that touches all five senses, and the heart as well. It somehow feels both restful and fast-paced, probably because of the delicate, precise prose that’s descriptive without tending purple. Farb writes family dynamics well: the complicated relationship between Shi and her eldest sister is realistic, at times heartbreaking, and yet ultimately hopeful. – Marie Lewis (Goodreads)

This story is full of magic and beauty; bright, clever poetry; and the golden thread which binds it all together: love. Go forth, and let this story whisk you away for a time—nourish your soul with beautiful words and memorable characters. – Stephanie (Goodreads)

Fourth Sister explores some very fascinating subjects, and its interspersed poetry and haikus reinforce the resonance of the novel. The level of detail is wonderful and I was exposed to several subjects like mask making and Japanese folk tales that I had never heard before. Poignant and atmospheric, Fourth Sister is a melodic narrative of devotion and deep feeling as well as finding acceptance with yourself and within your family. It would feel absolutely perfect set to a Studio Ghibli soundtrack. Really wonderful. – Claire (Goodreads)

There are many surprises in Fourth Sister. Most – 98% – I didn’t see coming, which is utterly refreshing. I may’ve literally gasped at times, laughed hard, and even cried at beautiful, soul touching, tender moments. So get ready for the feels – all of them. – Caralyn (Goodreads)

This book is a beautiful example of amazing storytelling… As someone who is greatly intrigued by Japanese language and culture, I appreciated how the author intricately wove it in through the story, giving another layer of beauty. Shisei has much to teach any reader, from the importance of family unity and forgiveness, to the strong impact of the thoughts we have toward ourselves. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves being swept away by a fantastic, heartwarming tale! – Rachel D (Goodreads)

The author skillfully weaves in themes of perception and misperception, brokenness, healing, masks, isolation, community, and sisterly love. – Leila Rose Foreman (H. Halverstadt’s Books)

Fourth Sister is a delightful story that takes the reader into a world that many are unfamiliar with. Combining myth, fantasy, and the beauty of haiku the reader is taken on a journey – a journey that one wishes would continue on. The story is well worth the time spent within its pages. It celebrates the bonds of family and explores the power of words. – Meagan Myhren-bennett (Goodreads)

I’m typically not a poetry person, but I loved the haiku at the start of each chapter and looked forward to the foreshadowing hidden within the lyrics of each line. I also loved the way that Shisei had to work through problems throughout the book… I’d highly recommend this book to YA readers looking for a clean story heavily woven with Japanese culture. – Erin Dydek (Goodreads)

This is a beautiful epic tale full of action, adventure, intrigue and culture. The author truly drops you in the life of the fourth sister, her thoughts, feelings and setting. – Karen Dimick (Goodreads)

I started this book expecting to enjoy a story about a female lead who grew into herself, and while I absolutely did find that in this story, it was the poetry of possibility that the author wove into the words that had me finish the story in one sitting. This was also more of a love story than I had anticipated, though not necessarily “that” kind of love story. Shisei’s journey showed her that loving herself and loving others isn’t about perfection, it’s about seeing the cracks and the flaws and the inconsistencies and loving despite them. – Krista Springer (Goodreads)

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