Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr

Gem & Dixie

“A story that broke my heart and put it back together again. You won’t want to let Gem and Dixie go.” —Sarah Dessen, New York Times bestselling author of Saint AnythingFrom renowned author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr comes a deep, nuanced, and gorgeously written story about the complex relationship between two sisters from a broken home.Gem has never known w...

Title:Gem & Dixie
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Kindle Edition
Number of Pages:288 pages

Gem & Dixie Reviews

  • Tatiana
    Oct 18, 2016

    I just can't decide if I liked this novel or not. There were parts in it that made my heart ache for Gem and her feelings of abandonment and neglect. Zarr had painted a family with a very specific, tragic dysfunction, and it affected me greatly to witness it. But then, there were long parts of the story that felt flat and underwritten and rambling, when Gem sounded not 17 but 10. Do all Zarr's books have this too-simple language? I've read them all, but I can't remember being bothered by this si

    I just can't decide if I liked this novel or not. There were parts in it that made my heart ache for Gem and her feelings of abandonment and neglect. Zarr had painted a family with a very specific, tragic dysfunction, and it affected me greatly to witness it. But then, there were long parts of the story that felt flat and underwritten and rambling, when Gem sounded not 17 but 10. Do all Zarr's books have this too-simple language? I've read them all, but I can't remember being bothered by this simplicity before. There is just something about

    that didn't work for me and I am failing to pinpoint what it is on my own.

  • Neil (or bleed)
    Nov 30, 2014

    Not her best work, for me, having read all of her novels but it was good all the same.

    Gem & Dixie has the same emotional tone with Sara Zarr's other novels.

    Which I like.

    Which always gets me.

    No wonder I consider her one of my favourite authors.

    Gem & Dixie is about the complex relationship between two sisters from a broken home. It is about Gem, in particular, as she steps up for her family amidst her jealousy for Dixie, her personal problems and her issues with her parents. It shouldn

    Not her best work, for me, having read all of her novels but it was good all the same.

    Gem & Dixie has the same emotional tone with Sara Zarr's other novels.

    Which I like.

    Which always gets me.

    No wonder I consider her one of my favourite authors.

    Gem & Dixie is about the complex relationship between two sisters from a broken home. It is about Gem, in particular, as she steps up for her family amidst her jealousy for Dixie, her personal problems and her issues with her parents. It shouldn't be like that but Gem has no choice.

    It is a well-written novel that shows how strong and mature Gem was and also shows the opposite. Her uncertainty and indecisiveness. Her petty actions and impulsiveness.

    More importantly so, I loved how realistic this novel feels from the setup to emotional stress it brings. I think it shows and even captures one of the possibilities of how life goes in a broken home, in a broken family.

  • Lala BooksandLala
    Jan 09, 2017

    I've read a lot of books with this narrative, and it didn't really do anything new or outstanding for me. The characters felt real and were well developed, it had some solid quotes, good messages, but it fell apart a little by the end and overall there was nothing overly impressive or memorable about this.

    This book comes out in April- an early copy was provided by the publisher.

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    May 15, 2017

    Fine but forgettable tbh.

  • Sarah
    Mar 29, 2017

    (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a contemporary story about two sisters, and their less-than-perfect home life.

    Gem was an okay character, and I felt quite sorry for her when she was hungry and had no food to eat and no money to buy food with. I did find her plans a little lacking at times though, and it seemed a l

    (I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)

    This was a contemporary story about two sisters, and their less-than-perfect home life.

    Gem was an okay character, and I felt quite sorry for her when she was hungry and had no food to eat and no money to buy food with. I did find her plans a little lacking at times though, and it seemed a little foolish to splash out on doughnuts when she could have made the money last her longer.

    The storyline in this was about Gem and her sister Dixie, and their life with their mother who wasn’t very reliable. We had their father turn up unexpectedly, and try to insert himself back into their lives, and a big bag of cash that he brought with him which we never really got an answer as to where it came from. I expected this book to be more about the relationship between Gem and Dixie though, and they didn’t really support each other that much at all. In fact, Dixie was actually quite unpleasant towards Gem at times, and poor Gem got the short end of the stick time and time again.

    The ending to this was okay, although again it wasn’t what I was expecting. I also thought there would be more repercussions about the money as well.

    6.5 out of 10

  • Lola  Reviewer
    Dec 16, 2016

    Gem & Dixie used to be thick as thieves. Always together. Had each other’s backs. Laughed together. Cried together. But they’re growing apart. What could possibly stop that?

    When their father resurfaces in their lives, Dixie is thrilled. Gem, however, being the careful girl that she is, is suspicious of their father’s reappearance after so many years.

    And she was right to be. After all, he did leave a bag full of money under their beds. How did he get this money? Something smells fishy here.

    N

    Gem & Dixie used to be thick as thieves. Always together. Had each other’s backs. Laughed together. Cried together. But they’re growing apart. What could possibly stop that?

    When their father resurfaces in their lives, Dixie is thrilled. Gem, however, being the careful girl that she is, is suspicious of their father’s reappearance after so many years.

    And she was right to be. After all, he did leave a bag full of money under their beds. How did he get this money? Something smells fishy here.

    Now they’re on the run. Took the cash and left.

    This is a moving story that depicts the bond between sisters during hard times. Gem & Dixie may have grown apart these last few years, but they know they will always have each other regardless. Whatever happens.

    GEM & DIXIE also illustrates how a dysfunctional family can affect children. Gem was certainly not supposed to be the mature one in the family, yet their mother gave her no choice in the matter.

    But most of all, this novel’s underlying message is that no one is perfect. No family is perfect. No one has only good in them or only bad in them.

    Their mother may not be the most responsible mother on the planet, and their father sure could have given them some support over the years, even from afar, but that doesn’t mean they have bad in them only.

    Being a parent is the hardest job, they say. What matters is that you keep trying and don’t give up on your family.

    Once again, very moving novel.

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  • Elyse
    Dec 28, 2016

    Two sisters -

    Gem 17....Dixie 14

    The sisters didn't have a charming - faithful mother -or a strong benevolent father.

    Adria is a mother who self medicates.

    Russell, their father - into other women- had been gone for years - but then comes back. Russell brought back with him a backpack filled with cash.

    With unrelenting poor living conditions--Gem 'especially' felt the burdens being the older sister from so much neglect and abandonment. She also remembers more... and is most suspicious of her fath

    Two sisters -

    Gem 17....Dixie 14

    The sisters didn't have a charming - faithful mother -or a strong benevolent father.

    Adria is a mother who self medicates.

    Russell, their father - into other women- had been gone for years - but then comes back. Russell brought back with him a backpack filled with cash.

    With unrelenting poor living conditions--Gem 'especially' felt the burdens being the older sister from so much neglect and abandonment. She also remembers more... and is most suspicious of her father and his 'cash' when he returns.

    Gem is a buffer - in ways for Dixie. They grew up in the same household- but felt things differently- and were different in personalities. However - they each must find ways to survive and cope.

    Dixie tends to act older than she is - is more outgoing- flirtatious-and is aware of her beauty. Gem is more a loner. She is also often in her school counselors office - seeking advice.

    In time... Gem convinces Dixie that they should split....leave their parents - leave their Seattle home - take their father's cash and just leave.

    Survival only gets harder on the sisters adventure. These two sisters know each other and where they each came from better than anyone else in the world....

    but they don't hold onto to each other as if they are all that matters.

    They were taught 'disconnect'......and in time that's what begins to happen to them: they disconnect.

    There were some very realistic situations in the ways each sister responded to their mother. Dixie, the youngest got along with her mother --she wished for peace between her mom & Gem.

    However... Gem carried the heavier baggage of knowledge of things that just were not right. The conflicts between the sisters - were in part - 'because' of there different ways of relating to their mother.

    I thought of my older sister Gail. Gail is 5.5 years older than me. She was almost 10 when our father died. I followed her around like a favorite stuffed bunny whenever possible after our dad died. I loved everything about her...but she often bolted herself. She was angry at our mother's behavior... for leaving me home alone at night at 5.... and for not being a more 'cozy' type of mother. My sister was angry at my mom for not taking me to the doctor when I was sick. ( and I turned out to be very sick in 8th grade).... My sister was mad at 'me' for defending mom - and not her. For not cooking...for lists of things. I was just sad that everyone was leaving -or dying.

    By age 15... my sister was almost never home. Our relationship suffered for many years. She was angry at me because I wasn't angry at our mother 'with' her. I didn't want to be angry at my mom. I figured I already loss a dad - and my sister was running away. I was hoping for 'somebody'.... even false hope was better than nothing. BUT ... years later - I fully understood things which my sister was dealing with - trying to be the adult - and getting no agreement or validation. It must have been the most lonely experience.

    A few years after my marriage-- my sister and I began to 'returned' to each other. The day our mother died... [11 years ago]....my sister and I re-built our relationship. I held onto my sister - like a lifeline. I wanted my relationship with her more than ever.

    She still was never able to forgive our mom... but she understands why I held on 'wanting' a mother - even if most would say she was unfit.

    My sister and I ARE very close today. I treasure her more than life itself.

    This book had 'many' of those same 'older/younger' sister elements I experienced ---

    It's not an award Pulitzer Prize book - but for the 'sisters' of the world - it has elements in here which I think many will relate to. NOT PERFECT ... There are better written books- but--- I liked it for what it was!

    This is a Young Adult book - heartfelt- tender. The resilience of Gem and Dixie is moving.

    3.5

    Thank You HarperCollins and Sara Zarr

  • Jessica
    May 02, 2017

    Every new book by Sara Zarr I think, It's not possible, but this one was EVEN BETTER than the last one! So guess what? GEM & DIXIE was even better than the last one!

    How does she keep doing it? Is it . . . a secret voodoo ritual? Do I even want to know? Nah. I will approve any black magic that continues to bring me books like these.

    Also, every time she has tackled a topic that could be too sad, or too embarrassing, or simply too raw to make the book enjoyable. Like abuse, teen pregnancy, abd

    Every new book by Sara Zarr I think, It's not possible, but this one was EVEN BETTER than the last one! So guess what? GEM & DIXIE was even better than the last one!

    How does she keep doing it? Is it . . . a secret voodoo ritual? Do I even want to know? Nah. I will approve any black magic that continues to bring me books like these.

    Also, every time she has tackled a topic that could be too sad, or too embarrassing, or simply too raw to make the book enjoyable. Like abuse, teen pregnancy, abduction, addiction, loss of faith, loss of family, loss of reputation. But, although she pulls no punches, and her books are incredibly naked and heartfelt, I've never thought, Whoa, she crossed a line! Or, I really hate this!

    No, I love it. I laugh. I cry. I see myself and others that I know and love in her characters. She brings about understanding. She makes you see and feel what these lives are like, she makes you walk in these shoes that you never thought you would care about. In short, Sara has an amazing gift, and the fact that she is sharing that gift with the world is an amazing thing.

    GEM & DIXIE is about sisters, and it's about childhood, and well, not having a childhood.

    When is a kid considered "at risk?" When does the school qualify them as "in danger?" How bad do things have to be? What if you're not abused, what if you're not homeless, but you've just had enough? You're just close enough to poverty, you're just close enough to not having food, that you try and pretend things are okay, and the adults around you pretend it too? How long can a teen girl go, being the only one in the family keeping it all together, before she cracks? What are the actual duties of a big sister, and how much of herself does she need to sacrifice?

    This is a beautiful, fascinating look at these questions. I'm a little sister. I went to the book launch with my big sister. Our childhood looked nothing like the one in the book, yet I can see so much of myself in both these girls. This is a gorgeous, honest book, and one that I am pleased to tell you, also contains a great deal of hope.

    Read this. Read it now. Then, if you haven't, go pick up literally any other Sara Zarr book. You're welcome.


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