Kiersten White: The Heart-Breaking, Unbreakable Bond of Sisters
Kiersten White knows a thing or two about sisters, which is why the bond between twins Annie and Fia in the Mind Games series is so fantastic and believable. Now that Perfect Lies is out in the wild, we thought we'd ask Kiersten to talk about her own relationships with her sisters and how they've influenced Annie and Fia's. Take it away, Kiersten!
I have not one, not two, but three sisters. So I know a thing or three about how those relationships are the strangest combination of fragile and fraught, but also deep and unbreakable. No one can be crueler to you than your own sister, but no one is faster to your defense if someone else is mean to you. It’s this push-and-pull that fascinates me so much about the sister bond.
I always wanted Mind Games to be about an impossible relationship — one so steeped in betrayal and hurt it could never work out, no matter how much you wanted it to. Originally I thought that would be the romantic relationship, but it turned out it was the sister relationship that was the true soul of the novel. Because we can choose who we love romantically, but we can’t choose our families. We are born to that love. It is as deep as our blood, running beneath our skin and through our hearts, and just as likely to kill us when lost.
I am both a younger sister and an older sister. I watched what my older sister did and wanted so much to be just like her. And then, as I hit my teens, I also wanted to be nothing like her. She was a nationally ranked debater. I refused to do debate because I hated the idea of following in her footsteps. Worse, I feared falling short of what she’d achieved.
I found tortured teen poetry she wrote and hid in her drawers. I started writing my own poetry. And hid it from everyone, of course. She wrote comedic songs. I wrote serious ones. She let a boy she loved string her along and hurt her. I vowed never to do the same.
I did, of course.
Then there were the relationships with my younger sisters. I wanted to help them, teach them. But they were athletic where I was a bookworm. They were popular while I was a bit of a loner. In fact, many of my Friday nights were spent dropping them off and picking them up from parties. I was more than a little bitter.
So much of who I am was carved by my sisters. Wanting to be like them, wanting to be different, responding and reacting and shaping myself around them. But despite all this — the fighting, the stealing from each other, the jealousy and competition — I would have done anything for them. I still would. We are four utterly different people, but our shared history knits us close.
Even when sisters don’t like each other, they always love each other. But I also believe that the people we love have the most power to destroy us. And when two sisters are as different as Annie and Fia, the push and pull might just be enough to kill them.
The most interesting stories are the ones you have no choice but to be a part of. And sisters, love them, hate them, or somewhere in between, will always be yours.
Curious to see how Annie and Fia's relationship is put to the test and strengthened as they fight for their freedom? Then be sure to catch up on the Mind Games series! And for more YA authors and books, visit our Everything Young Adult Page!