Cover Image: Tigers, Not Daughters

Tigers, Not Daughters

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed this book. The emotions are strong throughout the story and very moving; the story is fantastically done. I love the pacing and characters progression throughout the story. However, the ending was weird and felt unnecessary.

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I loved this whimsical and lyrical book about the complicated bonds and relationships between sisters. I adore books with messy family dynamics that seek to look at deeper truths and this story delivered. Absolutely loved.

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Thank you to Algonquin, Samantha, and Netgalley for an advance copy of Tigers, Not Daughters.

Tigers, Not Daughters follows a family of sisters in the wake of a tragedy. Ana dreams of escaping her town, her father, her current life, however during her senior year as she’s inching closer to freedom, she falls to her death from her bedroom window. Three sisters are left behind, haunted by Ana’s memory while still dealing with their abusive father. Strange things begin happening to the sisters and they start to feel as though Ana is trying to communicate with them.

I thought about DNFing this book several times. I toughed it out, but I really think I should’ve just stopped.
Part of this may be my fault. I just have a very complicated relationship with magical realism. It has to be done just right for me to love it. I often find magical realism written so flowy and whimsical with out-of-left-field metaphors and that just isn’t me.

I could not stop drawing comparisons to The Virgin Suicides. Yes, they are different (very different in big ways) but I could not get past there being multiple sisters, one sister dying, and one sister being so enigmatic that the rest basically revolve their life around her. I like when I can sense connections or inspiration, but when it feels like a nearly blatant re-write, it loses me totally.

I love an unlikable character, but none of these characters were likable. There were no redeeming qualities, no real personality or ways for me to connect to the characters. In thinking of The Virgin Suicides again, the characters were tragic and some we didn’t know very well, but we were drawn to them as readers. Barely met Cecille and still I was desperate to know her. I wanted to BE Lux when I was young, she was so electric. A book review should never call back to another book so many times, but like I said I could not think of anything except for The Virgin Suicides while reading this book.

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Review published on Goodreads, 2 August 2020:

I've been trying to read happy books to keep my spirits up during this coronavirus/quarantine thing, and TIGERS, NOT DAUGHTERS definitely does NOT qualify. This is a dark, angry novel about the kind of intense, all-consuming grief that tears people and relationships apart. Although the ending offers a ray of hope, the rest of the book is unrelentingly grim. The sisters at the center of the story are sympathetic but other than Rosa, not very likable. They're an angry, foul-mouthed, self-centered bunch who are unapologetically mean, even to those who try to help them. TIGERS, NOT DAUGHTERS has no real plot, but it is a fast read. I just didn't find it to be a very enjoyable one. I'm giving it three stars because the prose is skilled, the setting is atmospheric, and the story's basic premise is intriguing.

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Tigers and Daughters was an unexpected novel for me, centering on escape and the guilt that comes with it, and the complicated relationships of sisters in an almost hostile environment.

It was creepy, atmospheric and at times gripping, with a touch of supernatural woven throughout.

However, i struggled through most of it. Sometimes I felt too weighed down to continue, at other times i felt disconnected from the writing and the narrative. The alternating POVs didn't work well for me, and i especially struggled with the voyeuristic ones.

Mostly though the content was my biggest hurdle. The abuse and death weren't surprising, but I didn't feel comfortable with the way it was written here and I just couldn't get past my struggles with finishing each chapter.

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This book was very unique and for a while after reading it I went back and forth between a four and a five star rating. I eventually settled on a five star as I could not put this book down. Every time I got to the next chapter I wanted one more.

The book follows the Torres Sisters, Ana, Jessica, Iridiana and Rosa. After the tragic death of Ana the sisters must find their places and learn to deal with the grief. The girls do not have a stable Father figure to support them. The three surviving sisters are very different in nature and it’s fascinating to see them support each other.

This book was quirky,Spooky and a great read. A coming of age story with some twists along the way. I definitely recommend it.

Some Content warnings to be aware of: Death, abusive relationship and parental abandonment.

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My first thought while starting this book was that it was so reminiscent of The Virgin Suicides that it got annoying fast. The boys across the street and their obsession with the sisters, the strict abusive household, the death of the sister, etc. The similarities were just never ending.
Then the Magic Realism came in and omg this novel! Stunning writing!
All the descriptions of everything made me feel as if I were right there experiencing everything the sisters were experiencing.!

This novel has impacted me, at such an important time in my life, where standing up to people is so important, I can see myself getting the words "Tiger, Not Daughter" tatted. Like seriously. I struggled with standing up for myself in my early years as a kid and changed that as a teen and never went back. And I'm so proud of myself and happy that I did.
The girls father's abuse to his daughter Iridian and how all the girls learn how to fight back against a lot of people is my favorite thing about this book.

I really love this book. It didn't start off too strong for me but wow. From middle to end I didn't wanna put it down and I need to add this to my bookshelves and pass this book down to my future children. Which is always the highest compliment that I can give a book.

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This author is very talented with her writing!

I received an e-ARC from the publisher of the book.

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This book was definitely something to read in one sitting! I felt as if while reading this book I was taken to the neighborhood with these girls. During the course of the book, we see different aspects of life and what others may believe in religiously Some people believe in ghost and some don't, some people believe in reincarnation and some don't. This book was a perfect combination of all of these beliefs. It was very well written and kept my attention the entire time. I was expecting it to be about Native Americans due to the title and cover. However, it definitely was not the case. This novel shows the power of friendship and siblings being there for each other when nobody else is. I recommend it to anyone!

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The Torres home is not a happy one. It wasn't happy before Ana, the oldest of four sister, fell out her window and died, and it certainly isn't happy after of her death, especially as Ana seems to be haunting her sisters.

I'd describe Tigers Not Daughters as a work of magical realism or fabulism. The writing has that lyrical, ethereal feel that I associate with these genres. Samantha Mabry alternates between the perspectives of the three living sisters: Jessica, who has a tough exterior, Iridian, who hasn't left the house in months, and Rosa, who believes she can talk to animals.

This is a strange and quiet book. I really enjoyed it, and I definitely recommend for anyone who likes a little weird.

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Tigers, Not Daughters follows the Torres sisters who dreams of escaping from their need and despotic father. They come from from a very traditional town and want to leave and start over. This book is set after Ana, the oldest sister, during the summer she just finished high school when she falls from her window to her death. A year later, the three young sisters, still wrapped in grief are ready to escape, to start over. But strange and odd things start happening; unknown laughing, shadows, writing on walls. They must try and work out what is going on and how to handle it.

This book feels very magical, shadowy, and unsureness. It has the vibe of not knowing what is going to happen next. I felt that this was well done, but I didn't fall in love with these characters, I wanted the best for them but they didn't stand out to me. I have to say that the author's writing and the way the world is written is what sold this book to me. I will be reading more from this author because of the writing style.


This story deals with death but much more than that, the writing is fab, is a very short read. It gives me fall and autumn feels perfect for the start of the cold season or even a dark cool summer night. Overall this was a soil read with great writing.

This book does have heavy and hard topics so please keep that in mind and check for triggers.

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Tigers, Not Daughters is about the Torres sisters after their oldest sister, Ana, falls to her death from her bedroom window. Now, a year later, they're being haunted by their sister's memory. Tigers, Not Daughters takes us on a journey of the supernatural and a family in need of coming together.

I did not finish Tigers, Not Daughters. I found that the story originally seemed captivating to me and that's what made me interested in reading it. However, I found that the writing was all over the place and the plot just did not seem to make sense. I kept having to look back at the synopsis on Goodreads just to see if I was reading the same book or an entirely different book.

Throughout reading Tigers, Not Daughters, I just did not find myself really engaged in the story and immersing myself in the world of the Torres sisters and how they solve to message Ana is trying to spell out for them (written in the blurb). I do believe that Tigers, Not Daughters had a lot of potential, however, I just found that it was a book filled with plot holes that needed to be fixed but unfortunately did not end up being filled.

Thank you again to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for inviting me to read Tigers, Not Daughters and for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Wow! This powerful book tells the story from various points of view of the the main characters- the sisters and the neighborhood boys. Three sisters deal with the tragic death of their oldest sister while their dysfunctional father grieves for their mother who died years before when the youngest was born. Each of the girls discovers who they are and learns to embrace their own uniqueness. Heart wrenching emotions, humor and a bit of spookiness (there's a ghost!) fill the story before the satisfying conclusion. High school age teens will love this book.

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The writing in this was so incredibly good. I can't remember the last time I read a book in one sitting but I legitimately could not put this down. Between being invested in all of the characters, the strange occurrences at the Torres house, and the bigger revelations coming to life it was all so entertaining. The author does a fantastic job of bringing each of the sisters Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, to life and making them all likable characters despite not always making the best choices. Jessica, is essentially the breadwinner of the family but dreams of leaving her hometown one day. Iridian, is an aspiring author who spends most of her days lost in her favorite book. And Rosa, the youngest, is a bit of a free spirit who seems to have a touch of magic within her. Together, the three of them are stuck in their house with their father who spends more time drinking, gambling, being manipulative towards the girls, and never repaying his debts.

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You know when you start a book and about 1/3 of the way through you realize it is NOT the book you thought it was? Yeah, that’s Tigers, Not Daughters. Maybe I didn’t read the whole synopsis or maybe I blocked something from my mind (wouldn’t be the first time), but I went into this book thinking it was just about sisters. Which…it is but it is also so much more than that. It’s also a ghost story and about sisters taking back their lives.

Let’s talk characters.

The sisters are so different in so many ways and yet, while I related to one more than the others, I loved them all equally in the end.

First is Jessica. She is the protector now that she’s the oldest since Ana died. Or at least she tries to protest the younger too, but it turns out she need protection too. Her boyfriend is a controlling asshole and she tries her best to get by while working at the local grocery store until she can get out of this town. She also takes the brunt of the awfulness that is their father.

Then there is Iridian, probably my favorite if I have to choose. She writes romance novels in her spare time. What’s not to love? But she’s also been through some shit and I don’t just mean the loss of her sister. Something happened at school and she hasn’t been back since. Iridian is the character that hit me in my soul. And the way she responds to Ana’s ghost is exactly what I would do. Stay away from the affected area and sleep on the couch. My kind of plan lol. I also love the way she is shown literally clinging to her stories. That particular moment (no spoilers) had be sobbing at 2 AM.

Rosa is…I don’t know how to describe Rosa. She walks around at night looking for animals and sits in the backyard waiting for some kind of sign, but also…will hit a dude with a lamp when necessary. You might see her as sweet and full of imagination but that is not all she is. She is one of the main reasons I CANNOT pick a favorite sister because yes, I love Iridian, but Rosa is also incredible but I like Jessica too!

Let’s talk structure!

As y’all know…I LOVE a multiple POV book. It is my favorite way for a story to be set up. This one is split into the three POVs of the sisters and it’s done incredibly well. We get to see who each sister is but also how they respond to the haunting in their home. It’s perfect!

Final Thoughts

The bond between the sisters is beautiful. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a sister, but I seem to be drawn to sister books because of how they show women/girls bonding and fighting for each other so fiercely. Makes me weepy every time.

I mean…what says I love you more than anything than going after a dude with a lamp?!?!?! That’s some devotion (and obviously one of my favorite scenes).

Tigers, Not Daughters is so freaking brilliant. If you like sister books, emotional YA, or are just looking for a beautifully written story, I highly recommend this. I’m giving it 4.5 out of 5 stars!

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Really enjoyed this one! If you enjoy stories about sisters, coping with trauma, and hard plots, this would definitely be up your alley!

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I recently read Tiger’s Not Daughters., I know that I have seen mixed reviews for this book but let me be clear……It almost broke my heart, this book is an unflinching diatribe on grief, abuse, and loss. The book isn’t overly long or wordy but it packed a punch. Seeing the sister’s through each other’s POV added so much depth to the characters. I loved them for their spirit, their fight against a world without their sister in it. Although each of the surviving sisters fell apart in some way, Mabry also wrote the rawness of their regret, each sister realizing she had strength, and together they are strongest.

I give this one 5 fantastic stars for great characters, the haunting use of magical realism, and the best way you can demonstrate how girls on their path toward womanhood can discover how resilient they are!

I just want to mention that you really, really NEED to read this one! It’s a beautiful story.

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What is the last book you sped through in a single go? It was Tigers, Not Daughters for me. This book follows the three remaining Torres sisters a year after the death of their older sister. Before her death, the four sisters had schemed on leaving their town and their emotionally-controlling father. But now the sisters are consumed by their grief and memories of their sister. The book happens over the course of just a few days and switches points of view. You learn of the mysterious laughter they hear in the house, lights turning on and off unbidden, and their different ways of dealing with the death of the sibling, all woven through the banality of everyday life. I don't want to say too much but the ending is full of surprises!

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I'm so excited about the paperback release of Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry.

I was immediately pulled into this one by the dreamy cover and the title’s reference to King Lear (one of my favs).

“Wisdom and goodness to the vile seem vile:
Filths savour but themselves. What have you done?
Tigers, not daughters, what have you perform'd?”
-Shakespeare

This book tackles tough topics like grief and trauma balanced by a story of resiliency, family, and love with a side of the paranormal and magical realism.

It was a perhaps bit darker than I needed at the time I read it TBH, but many will absolutely love this one.

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A year ago, Ana Torres fell out of her bedroom window to her death. Her younger three sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are dealing with their grief in different ways. Jessica acts out and has a dangerous relationship with her boyfriend. Iridian finds comfort in books and writing. Rosa tries to help animals. Strange things begin to happen in their house, and the girls decide that it must be Ana’s spirit communicating with them. They have to figure out what Ana is trying to tell them.

This was an intense story. The sisters were grieving for their sister, but their dad had other ways of dealing with the pain. He checked out of their lives, so they had to look after themselves. They had to grow up quickly, but they each had their own ways of coping.

I really liked the magical realism aspects of this story. Ana’s ghost appeared to her sisters and to the neighbors next door. She didn’t always appear as a person, but she would do things around the house to let them know she was there. There were also some storms that happened around her appearances, which added to the spooky atmosphere.

This was such a beautiful story!

Thank you Algonquin Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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