Tigers, Not Daughters

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I don’t know how I can do this book justice by reviewing it, a book so full of grief and all the emotions that come with it. 

The Torres sisters; three sisters struck by grief after their eldest sister Ana died in an unfortunate accident. Plagued by her ghost and the men around them who rather than help these girls.. do more harm than good. Not knowing why their sister came back to do them harm, these girls spiral within their grief. At times, especially with Iridian and Jessica, this grief comes across as deeply selfish and mean. While Rosa comes off as a girl gone off the deep end due to her grief when in reality her senses of intuition lean towards the magical. 

Towards the climax of this story, I couldn’t help but think of Carrie Underwood’s song Blown Away which depicts a young woman wishing her home would get blown away in a tornado taking her father with it. In this story, the Torres girls’ father is a sorry excuse of a father who abuses each and every one of his daughter’s to the point of them wanting to run away. 

This was definitely a book that I didn’t imagine myself liking but I can’t help but feel so much better after having read it.
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Tigers, Not Daughters is a slow-burn book. With flashbacks, point-of-view changes, and a very introspective story, this book beautifully details how three sisters are living in the aftermath of their oldest sister’s death. The hint of magical realism brings a whimsical, haunting note to this sad, hopeful, heartbreaking story. I could not stop reading it.
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Lush, poetic and haunting, Tigers, Not Daughters is essentially a story about family and grief; how your family not only is your saving grace but also your downfall and once you've hit rock bottom, the vicious and toxic ways that we can experience grief. Tigers, Not Daughters tells the story of four sisters, three alive and one dead. Likened to Little Women and The Virigin Suicides, I have read neither and went into Tigers, Not Daughters with fresh eyes.

A year after Ana Torres' tragic death, her three sisters, Jessicia, Iridian and Rosa are struggling to cope with the aftershocks and grief that comes with losing someone so important to the family bond.  Jessica clings to memories of Ana by trying to literally step into her shoes, from shacking up with Ana's ex-boyfriend, wearing her lipstick and living in her room - and losing her own identity. Iridian withdraws into herself, reading romances voraciously and writing about them notebook after notebook and pen after pen, her writings more vivid than the life she lives. And Rosa wants to see Ana in the creatures around her, seeing her sister in the neighbourhood animals and in the breeze, hoping for an answer to her sister's death. They not only have to cope with their own grief but with their possessive father's outrages and abuse. At the same time, strange things have been happening around the home; the sisters liken it to Ana's ghost.

In their small San Antonio town, Mabry paints a vivid world. From the moldy smell of Jessica's car to the rain splattering through open windows and on sidewalk to the whirlwind-tossed rooms that the girls live in. It makes me feel like I am right there with the girls, living and breathing through their eyes. It is an atmospheric experience that grips me with every page and it also lends itself to a voyeuristic view of the sisters' experiences through grief, just like how their neighbours watch into the Torres sisters' lives. It is rather poetic in this sense.

Tigers, Not Daughters is told through four perspectives in vignettes that give glimpses into the sisters lives. It cycles between Iridian, Jessica and Rosa's individual views as well as a fourth perspective from the boys across the street who have watched the Torres sisters their entire life, starting with a rather unnerving obsession with Ana. While many have found that the multiple perspectives told in a rather non-linear manner felt hard to read and connect with the characters, I loved it. I felt utterly connected to the sisters emotions and experiences; I wanted to know every bit of their story. I loved getting glimpses into the sisters' lives and how they coped with their grief and their individual stories, how torn apart yet united they are in their love for each other.

For that is the nature of sisters.

I think my only issue with Tigers, Not Daughters is how little magical realism seems to present itself. We get hints that Rosa has an uncanny ability to speak to animals and Ana's ghost seems more YA Horror than magical realism. But, that is pretty much the extent of it but magical realism is a genre I seldom find myself reaching for; the same goes for YA Contemporary.

The genre sits in between the cheesy and the heavy; it is a spectrum of opposites. On one end, a diabetic-worthy spiel of adorable, clutzy characters finding love for the first time and the other, a stark commentary of society and it's many dark facets. I like neither. But Tigers, Not Daughters surprised me.

Having a sister and a brother of my own, there is nothing I wouldn't do for them and it warms my heart that the Torres sisters are the same. Like the titular tigers, they are solitary creatures, briefly sharing bits and pieces of their lives with each other but essentially keeping to their own lives. Except when mating (obviously not in this case!) and sharing their kills — in this instance, the abusive and manipulative men that surround the girls.

Being raised Asian, oppressive male presence like the one in the Torres sisters' lives is common place. Men take precedence over their women, feminist beliefs are quashed and the women are to live their lives fawning and taking care of the men (something my parents believe in to an alarming degree!). So, it's not hard to feel a rush of empathy for the sisters. From a possessive father to an abusive boyfriend, it was only a matter of time before the sisters bit the hand that feeds them, freeing themselves from their metaphoric cages and taking their own freedom, becoming Tigers, Not Daughters.

In conclusion, Tigers, Not Daughters paints a vividly beautiful and tragic story of survival in the face of grief. The ending is bittersweet, it demonstrates the struggle that the sisters go through in order to come up with their heads above water and stronger from it all. But it is a story that hits close to home in more ways than one because the sisters are underdogs of their own stories and underdogs always emerge on top. It was mesmerising to watch the Torres sisters take back their lives and chart their own course in life. I absolutely enjoyed Tigers, Not Daughters.
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I received this book from Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.


animal death, suicide, death, abuse (physical and psychological), depression


The Torres sisters, Ana, Jessica, Iridian and Rosa, dream to escape from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of families that know everything about them and their family situation, away from their needy and oppressive father. The book starts during an attempted (and failed) escape. A year later, the older sister Ana is dead and the family is weighed down by grief, guilt, regrets and secrets.

Each sister is trying to deal in her own way with Ana’s loss and their broken dreams, when unusual things start to happen in the house. Walls with messages in Ana’s handwriting, mysterious hands, laughters and sounds. Is Ana? What is she trying to say? Why is she haunting them?


Tigers, not daughters is a phrase from Shakespeare’s King Lear and, according to the author, “in the play, it’s used as an insult, hurled by Albany at Lear’s selfish and disobedient daughters.” So she decided to use this phrase in a positive way, like a praise to the strenght of the Torres sisters. The reader is able to get to know each sister and how each deals with her grief, wishes, dreams and regrets.


JESSICA works at the local pharmacy and, like Ana, dreams to get away, once her sisters and needy father are taken care of. Jessica, who wants to be like Ana, almost losing her own identity in the process, wanting her sister’s room, clothes, makeup, even her abusive boyfriend. She deals with her loss by trying to becoming Ana and she’s full of rage and grief.

IRIDIAN is the one who lose herself in her own world, made of writing romance, reading, who doesn’t go anywhere without her favourite book, notebook and pen and who is so struck down by her grief she can’t get out of the house, battling everyday with her fear and depression.

ROSA is the youngest, wisest and strangest sister, animal-lover, wandering during the night person, whose heart is purer that others’ (according to many). Rosa, who is special, different, fierce and loyal and who is convinced that the escaped hyena has something to do with her sister Ana, maybe it’s her reincarnation.

The protagonists are Latinx and, through the author’s writing, the reader can almost taste the air, see the oppressive neighborhood, they being stuck in it and feel the claustrophobic feeling they experience. They are trapped in their broken home, in an oppressive and repetitive enviroment, with their irresponsible, full of debts, hurtful and unable to take care of them father.

Motherless, fatherless, the Torres sisters lean on one other, protecting, supporting and loving each other with a fierceness that reminds the reader of, precisely, tigers.


The story is told by multiple POVs, from Jessica’s, Iridian’s, Rosa’s in third person and from a collective voice from the boys in the house across the Torres’. It’s through the boys’ perspective the reader and the Torres’ sisters can get more knowledge of Ana and what happened to her.

Told in a nonlinear way, with flashbacks and memories, by the multiple POVs, the story unfurls (expect for the flashbacks and the first chapter) from June 9th to June 17th, ending with a jump in July 7th.

Starting with the failed escape, the story begins one exact year after Ana’s death and the reader is able to see how the Torres’ routine is shocked and turned upside down by a series of paranormal events in the house and, for Rosa, by the escaped hyena.


The way the characters are portraited is acutely real, beautiful and they are really relatable. Mabry wrote characters brimming with life, love and loss able to pierce the pages. Her writing style is so evocative, lush, strong and intense it’s almost like the reader is there with Rosa, looking for her escaped hyena and holding Walter’s hand, or with Iridian, being scared and under the couch’s covers watching soap opera or with Jessica, talking with Peter and being angry and broken all the time.

In Tigers, not daughters, Jessica, Iridian and Rosa stick out as women, as sisters and as bonded by love, grief and loss. Through flashbacks and her sisters’ memories, Ana lives too, as a strong and stubborn girl, who gazed out of the window, dreaming of escape and better places, who took care of her family, almost embodying a mathernal figure. Role that Jessica tries to incarnate after her death.

Ana lives through her sisters, she’s the older one who was determined to protect and she helps them, pushing them together, encouraging them in discovering again their sisterly bond, even when she’s dead.

I found the element of magic realism, the supernatural moments really beautiful and skillfully written. Even though the sisters stand out in Tiger, not daughter, each character, the side ones too, are skillfully written.

Reading about the boys in the house across the street the reader can see their regrets and impotence, how they could have helped and talked and they didn’t.

How Rafe is broken by grief (his wife, dead right after Rosa’s birth and then Ana’s, who wanted to get away from him and the neighborhood) and how he’s needy and hurtful and broken, ready to try to break and oppress his daughters and almost managing it with Iridian (saved by the love of her sisters).

How John is the oppressive, controlling and abusing boyfriend and how, even in this case, Jessica is saved by her sisters.

Jessica, Iridian and Rosa fight and rebel against the male figures in their lives, above all Rafe and John and even against those who watched without doing anything, like Hector and his friends, they fight against people’s indifference. They find strenght in one other, in their bond made of blood, love trust and loyalty.

One of the thing I loved the most in this characters driven plot is that each character is written as realistic as possible, with their bad moments and bad behaviour, hurtful phrases, regrets, bad thoughts and even who could be the best and wisest character, Rosa, can be driven by rage and think hurtful things.

Each character, above all the sisters, is human, real, complicated, messed up. They are free to act badly, say hurtful and mean things, hit people, rage, laugh hysterically and be absolutely and wonderfully humans.

I think that’s one of the beauty in this book, being able to recognize oneself in the characters, seeing that how they deal with their regrets, desires, wishes and losses is acutely real. It’s interesting and very realistic reading how, even though they all experience the same death, each character deals with grief in a very different way. It’s realistic because people don’t react in the same way and grief is dealt and processed differently.

Reading Tigers, not daughter it’s impossible not to think about The virgin suicides and Little women. Kind and stubborn Rosa recalls Beth, book-worm Iridian Jo, Jessica as the breadwinner and who takes care of her family as Meg. As the March sisters, the Torres have one other’s back everytime, ready to protect and defend each other, to support and love.


Tigers, not daughter is an intense story of love, loss, grief, with magic realism, ghosts and sisterly bond. Its characters are alive and strong and deals with important themes, like loss, death, depression, abusive relationships. I loved the message, that through love and hope it’s possible to reach out and be able to heal. It’s a story about grief and loss and dealing with them, dreams, regrets, wishes, desires, sisterhood, loyalty and love.

Tigers, not daughters is the kind of book that stays with you for a long time, able to grab the reader’s attention and feelings and it’s impossible not love these broken and strong characters, so real and humans.
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I found myself really drawn to the first 50 or so pages, and then my attention level dropped off significantly.  Though I did enjoy the relationships between the sisters, and the one sister with her boss, that was pretty much all I found interesting.  Note:  The cover of this book is beyond beautiful, and for that, I kept reading.  But there really wasn't much else that pulled me in.  It wasn't the worst, but I had a hard time staying focused.

2.5/5 Stars
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The four sisters in this book are all about family being a necessary, sturdy foundation for whatever else life throws at you. Despite their struggles, the sisters’ reliance on each other and them all being there felt like a comfort, even when they didn’t appreciate each other.

This book gave a feeling of hope (eventually) to what didn’t sound like a very charmed life of the Torres sisters. Ana (the oldest sister) seems larger than life, both to her younger sisters and to the neighborhood boys who make a hobby of observing the sisters. But her death strikes them all with the same power. Before-Ana-died and after-Ana-died are the segments of life for them all.

A year later, the younger girls still have no idea what life is supposed to be without Ana. Unfortunately, each of them is floundering in her own way. Creepy signs that maybe Ana isn’t so far away after all finally start to bring the sisters to the same team again. The girls united are a force to be reckoned with. The ghost of Ana doesn’t seem to be exceptionally good or bad, but she helps the girls remember who they are together.

I loved the prose style of this book. The girls were objectively not happy, but they didn’t need to be fixed. The ghost of Ana wasn’t scary, just making her presence known, and the girls responded in their own individual ways. It was all presented in a matter-of-fact way, and the resulting emotions were up to the reader.

Overall, I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. I would be curious to read the author’s first book and see what else it said about the characters.
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3.5 stars. first of all - gorgeous cover (like half the reason i requested this lol) 

content warnings for death of a family member and physical abuse.

i don't really read a lot of magical realism, and i'll admit its not my favorite genre to read, but i did enjoy this one. i really liked the writing style, which was very atmospheric and set the tone correctly for the novel. i didn't necessarily connect with any of the characters a ton, but i really enjoyed jessica's POV and seeing how she handled dealing with the grief of losing her sister. 

i think the only real criticism i have for this book is the multiple POVs for chapters. it was interesting seeing things from the perspective of each torres sister, but then there was the POV from the group of boys who hang out across the street which i found to be odd.
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I received a complimentary copy of Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry from Algonquin Young Readers through Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Tigers, Not Daughters was released on March 24th!
The Torres sisters just wanted to escape. They tried to run away from San Antonio and their alcoholic father, but they were caught. The oldest daughter Ana sneaks out of her window regularly, but one night a tree branch breaks and she falls to her death. The majority of this story takes place a year after Ana's death. Their father is a disaster. The three youngest Torres sisters are doing their best to get by, but that becomes more difficult when Ana's ghost makes her presence known.
This is truly a story about grief. If you're looking for a happy, upbeat book, this isn't it. If you're looking for a nuanced and well-written story about how grief affects us, the ways we're dragged down by it, and how we can begin to rise out of it, this may be your book. There's some definite magical realism in this story, which I loved. I'd highly recommend this to anyone looking for a story that addresses grief in a tasteful way with POC main characters and a little magical realism!
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Disclaimer: I received an arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Tigers, Not Daughters

Author: Samantha Mabry

Book Series: Tigers, Not Daughters Book 1

Rating: 4/5

Publication Date: March 24, 2020

Genre: YA Magical Realism

Recommended Age: 16+ (peeping tom stuff, language, animal death, alcoholism, abuse, violence, gore)

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 288

Amazon Link

Synopsis: The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.

Review: Overall, I thought this book was well done. The emotions behind the words were moving and the story was well crafted. The characters were well developed and the pacing was very fast and on point. The plot was also good and it kept me intrigued throughout the book.

However, I did feel like there were some unnecessary gross stuff in the book and the ending was really weird and unclear. I reread it and I honestly am still confused by this book. It was great, but I think it’ll stick with me.

Verdict: It was great, but I’m wondering about it still.
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Tiger’s Not Daughters follow the life of three sisters, Iridian, Jessica and Rosa, after their elder sibling Ana death. Since she was their leader and protector, the three sisters feel lost without Ana while they try to escape from the crushing grip their useless father has on them. Iridian, Jessica and Rosa have all their cooping mechanism to get over Ana’s death, but they find themselves drowning in them, be they depression, an abusive relationship or a purpose.
One day, the ghost of their sister comes back to hunt the house, but the three sisters struggle to understand if Ana wants to help or punish them.

I really liked the oppressive atmosphere and the way the author has managed to talk about heavy topics (like death, abuse and depression) without overdoing it, but being nevertheless totally effective.
I loved the fact that Iridian, Jessica and Rosa are absolutely able to save themselves and don’t need the help of their spineless neighbours who are only able to pretend to be their heroes from afar without acting on it.
 The spirits of these three girls are strong and I loved their story!

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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This is a beautifully written, intense novel about grief.

After Ana Torres dies, her sisters cope with it in different ways. Iridian carries Ana’s favorite book everywhere like her compass and begins writing romance novels. Jessica moves to Ana’s room (which she got after she pouted about losing a game of 'Who Loved Ana Most', using her makeup products and starts dating Ana’s abusive boyfriend John. Rosa thinks their sister’s soul is reincarnated into a wild hyena’s body.

This book is beautiful and haunting. It's described as King Lear meets The Virgin Suicides, and I definitely saw that.

Content warnings for abuse
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The Torres sisters want to get away from their father and the neighborhood that is just as controlling.  Ana, the oldest sister, dies the summer after her senior year.  It is now a year later and the other three sisters are still grieving and feel haunted by her memory.  They don’t know if they will ever be able to leave Southtown.  When they start hearing strange noises and seeing strange things around the house, they begin to wonder if Ana is haunting them … maybe trying to tell them something.  What exactly is going on?

Tigers, Not Daughters is the first book in a new series with the same title.  Although there are supernatural aspects to the story, the overall storyline could be considered realistic fiction.  Is it a ghost story?  Is it a love story?  Is it some combination of both?  Readers will love to follow along as the characters explore their thoughts and traditions that entwine within their lives.  This is a quick read and readers will wonder how they finished it so fast.
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First of all, thanks to NetGalley and Stephanie from Algonquin Books for sending me an eARC in exchange for a honest review.

TRIGGER WARNING: abusive relationship, bullying, domestic violence.

The last time I wrote about this book was about how much its beginning reminded me of Jeffrey Eugenides' "The Virgin Suicides". That's because it starts with a plural first-person narrative, where a group of kids have been watching the Torres sisters for years from the window of the house across the street - the same happened in the Eugenides' book, where this group of kids watched the Lisbon sisters.

But where are the differences?

The Lisbon sisters were five, the Torres sisters are four.
The youngest Lisbon was the one to commit suicide, here it's the eldest Torres who dies and it's a tragic fatality.
The Eugenides' boys just looked at the Lisbon sisters in a voyeuristic manner with almost sexual implications, the observation of the Mabry's boys instead has has a more like infantile aspect of infatuation and they occasionally interact with the Torres sisters - and it's precisely due to their intervention that the sisters' escape is discovered and interrupted. And maybe, if the boys with their desire to help the Torres hadn't led to the discovery of the attempted escape, some time later Ana would not have died.

There are also those who have compared this book to a dark, horror and tint of magical realism of "Little Women" - which, I must admit, I have never read in my life.

The story begins on the night of the Torres sisters' interrupted escape, in which the boys of the house across the street watch the sisters come out one by one from the window of Ana's room - careful not to wake up the father who sleeps downstairs, ready to leave Southtown, San Antonio, their Latin neighborhood with all its traditions and the families that live there behind. But, as I have written above, the intervention of the boys causes their father Rafe Torres to catch them and bring them back. And, some time later, Ana dies.

If the Eugenides' book was entirely told by the boys, here the remaining Torres sisters find their voices and the story is told from their points of view.

The eldest now is Jessica, who works in a pharmacy and is the only one still willing to help her father when he is in a crisis - that is, when he drinks too much or needs money. Jessica has reacted to her sister's death by trying to become Ana: she has taken her room, her clothes, her make-up and she tries to occupy even her vacant place in the lives of others - but she is always, always angry.

Iridian follows, who no longer leaves the house due to an episode that we will later discover. Guilt overwhelms her, she has made Ana's books her own and fills notebooks after notebooks trying to write her own story and all those other stories Ana left incomplete along with her books hidden in the closet.

Rosa is the youngest - the gentle one with a pure heart, the spiritual one who always goes to church and who is said to be able to communicate with creatures, sensitive to everyone's lives.

One year after Ana's death, the life of the Torres sisters is shaken when each of them comes into contact with what appears to be Ana's ghost: the imprint of a hand on the shower curtain, phrases written on the walls, the sound of laughter and the smell of oranges in the house. Furthermore, on the anniversary day, a hyena ran away from the zoo to wander around their neighborhood and Rosa doesn't believe it to be a coincidence. Is it really Ana? And what does she want? Does she want to send a message? Does she want to keep the sisters together or terrorize them to the point of running them out of the house? Does she want to save them or does she want revenge?

"Tigers, Not Daughters" is a chilling story - especially if you read certain paragraphs late at night. Trust me, don't do it - or at least keep your lights on. It's a story about mourning, about the loss of one's identity - all the sisters have lost Ana, to whom they were tied in a different way and Jessica has above all lost herself trying to become her sister.

During that year, the sisters grew apart from each other, too caught up in their own grief and trying to reconstruct a semblance of life. All of them have a complicated relationship with neighbors because sometimes they are too nosy but they are also the only ones the sisters can ask for help since their father has never been able to be a support in any way - neither physical nor emotional - and they can only count on each other to help when things get ugly.

We know about the sisters' life at the moment because they tell us about it, we know excerpts from their past life when the boys take the stage in telling us about events they have been witnesses to or when the narration remains simply impersonal, as if it were a news story.

Its style involves the reader - also due to the short chapters - with a poetic sound, just like that oranges smelling wind that Iridian felt on her face and that envelops the reader. The parts involving Ana - or rather, her ghost - literally brought goosebumps on my arms and a shiver down my spine on more than one occasion and we get to see how much her presence upsets the girls' life even if, at the same time, they aren't even that much surprised by her appearance and they accept it because they know so much has remained unfinished.

However, it's a pity we have no stories about the Torres family's past life with their father: we know he drinks, he always asks Jessica for money, he insults Iridian, he seems to have an obsession with Ana so much that he always wore an old bracelet on the wrist that belonged to his eldest daughter - I will never get an answer to the doubt that had arisen in me after reading about this detail and after a phrase spoke by Iridian had made all those alarm bells ring in my head. It's understood Rafe Torres was never a good father, but we never find out about what made Ana always look out the window with her eyes turned to the sky and a look that screamed how much she wanted to fly away from there - about what pushed the Torres sisters to try to escape that night.

However, it remains a book with a magical, hypnotic and a little dark atmosphere that remains in your bones even after you have finished it.
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This is not at all what I was expecting going into this story. The oldest sister dies mid escape in the first few pages and the three other sisters are left to pick up the pieces and deal with the grief. Like anyone else they deal with it in different ways; church, boyfriends, writing. Not all of these are great choices. A year later they feel as thought their dead sister is haunting them. While this isn't proven it it left up to your imagination.
I really liked this story and the way that the sisters came together and learned to grieve together. It really shows the bonds of family and that together you can feel loved. My only problem would be the multiple POV. It was jarring to have three POV throughout the story but I understand that it gives each sister a chance to tell their own story.
Overall if you enjoy a magical realism book that has a strong family element then this is for you. Just be aware it is a darker story and not for everyone.
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Tigers, Not Daughters tells the story of four sisters, one of whom tragically passed away a year prior to the setting of this story. The three remaining sisters are left trying to pick up the pieces of their lives in any way they can, and unfortunately having to deal with their overly dependent and somewhat absent father along the way.

The ghost of their deceased sister starts to appear and the girls think she is trying to get them to leave their house and their father. But they find out that their sister may want something else for them.

Tigers, Not Daughters deals with grief and the different ways it presents itself in people. These girls are so broken and they learn that they really need to lean on each other in order to heal. Highly recommend for anyone looking for an emotional, somewhat heavy read!
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Overall, I found myself unable to put this book down. It compelled me to finish it as soon as I started reading. This book is best going in not knowing much and I honestly stand by that. The writing was well paced allowing the story to progress with ease. The transition between the point of views was done well and flawlessly. The plot felt like a glimpse in someones live. It felt as if I was a spectre watching everything happen. The characters were well rounded and tangible. They felt as if they could people who I knew. My only critique is that it felt like too much of a glimpse. I would have loved for there to be more. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to read a contemporary that is more on the darker side of things and that borderlines magic realism/ paranormal. Thank you so much to Algonquin Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book to review.
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This book was FANTASTIC even with it's hard hitting elements. It's a story of love and grief tangled into one emotional story with a supernatural twist. I loved the dynamic between Torres sisters and how genuine it felt. There's something about books with an unimaginable tragedy that ultimately ends up bringing people together that just wins my heart. The Torres sisters all have their own distinct personalities and have a major rift between them after the death of their oldest sister, but by the end become an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. I couldn't help but fly through this in one sitting because I was so caught up in the story.

Definitely looking forward to reading more from this author in the future.
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Happy Publication Day!!
Thank you @netgalley and Algonquin Young Readers for giving me an arc in exchange for a honest review. Publication date March 24th 2020.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ four stars
If you are ever in the mood for a short tale about sisterhood, love, loss, grief and perseverance - look no further. I cried so many times reading this, it was ridiculous! Tigers, Not Daughters might be the first “hard-hitting” contemporary that I would actually recommend to people. Mabry tacked the subject of grief with so much grace, even though she broke my heart, the reading experience was beautiful.
The ending fell a little flat for me, so I settled with four stars.
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Title:  Tigers Not Daughters
Author:  Samantha Mabry
Genre:  Fiction
Rating:  4 out of 5

There are four Torres sisters: the oldest, Ana, is determined to live life her way. Jessica, flouts convention and puts walls around her heart. Iridian clings to words. And Rosa is free spirited and drawn to the wild. The girls live with their father, a widower who relishes his control of every aspect of their lives, but after Anna falls to her death from her bedroom window at the age of eighteen, the family splinters.

Jessica, now the oldest, tries to keep her family together while subsuming as much of Ana as possible into her own life. Iridian withdraws from the world. And Rosa becomes obsessed with an urban myth. But when mysterious things start happening around the Torres house, the girls start to wonder if Ana is haunting them. And if she is, what is she trying to tell them?

Tigers Not Daughters was a little hard for me to get into, but I’m glad I did. I didn’t like all the characters—Jessica in particular seemed particularly selfish and not in the least self-aware—but it was wonderful to see them come into their identities as sisters and family and women who could stand on their own two feet. I’ve seen this touted as a cultural  lodestone, but, honestly, I’ve read much more vibrant novels on the Latin-American culture. It was secondary at best in this novel, with the focus being on the girls themselves.

Samantha Mabry credits her tendency toward magical thinking to her Grandmother Garcia, who would wash money in the kitchen sink to rinse off any bad spirits. She teaches writing and Latino literature at a community college in Dallas, where she lives with her husband, a historian, and a cat named Mouse. She is the author of A Fierce and Subtle Poison and All the Wind in the World. Visit her online at samanthamabry.com or on Twitter: @samanthamabry.

(Galley courtesy of Algonquin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review.)
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Tigers, Not Daughters was a surprising read.
It surprised me with how well it was written. The writing flowed well, it was paced just to my liking, and it was captivating from the beginning. The style in this book is perfectly suited with the storyline as it balances it out by keeping things short and sweet, and with that keeping your attention.
It also surprised me with how dark and heartbreaking it got at times, and I think that is mostly due to how well the characters are developed. I couldn’t help but empathize and feel connected to them, though the circumstances aren’t something I’m familiar with, not even remotely. But the characters and their emotions are brought so well on the page, they are so vivid that they feel so realistic, despite the fact that this story touches on the fantasy/magical realism genre.
The only thing I can note as something I wish was better was the ending. It’s quite a satisfying one, but it did leave me with a few questions, as not everything is answered throughout the text. I hope that the sequel that is scheduled for next year will answer those.
I recommend Tigers, Not Daughters. I feel like it’s an experience that fans of YA/Contemporary Fantasy should give a chance to.
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