My sister passed away three days before Christmas.
There’s a picture in our family photo album – from back when we only had manual cameras – of the two of us in our shared room. We were leaning into each other, reading a book. We didn’t always get along, and in school my friends used to liken us to Bianca and Katherine (from the movie 10 Things I Hate About You, not the play it was based on), although I thought of us more as Elinor and Marianne. Her favourite Austen was Emma; mine is Sense & Sensibility.
We played with dolls until she was too old (and I was past too old, being the elder sister). We had two play modes: (1) we had a story going on where all our dolls and plush toys were characters in an imaginary town, and the story kept going and going; and (2), we’d pull out our mother’s copy of Complete Shakespeare, and acted them out using our dolls.
When I was fourteen, and she was ten, our dad took us to watch the remastered Star Wars: A New Hope at the cinema. All we knew were C-3PO and R2D2, and how Darth Vader and Stormtroopers looked like, thanks to our eldest brother’s toys and books from the 80s. We went into the cinema without knowing much, and left it avid fans.
She liked the Chrestomanci and Howl books, and she shared my love for Megan Whalen Turner, but it was Harry Potter that both of us fell hard for at the same time. Up until the third book, the series was hard to get in KL and she read my copies after I was done. From the fourth book onward it was popular enough that our eldest brother would take us to KLCC with him (where he worked at the time) so that we could join the long, long queue in front of Kinokuniya. He’d get us a copy each, and we’d read them side by side in bed for the rest of the day. She was always the faster reader, so she’d spoil me all the time. Whenever I got ahead of her, she would make me wait before turning to the next page.
Throughout high school we never missed a single episode of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Before Season 4 started I had gone off to college, and she would text me updates every week on the season I would never get to watch until I started working.
She was the only one who got 10 Things I Hate About You, and Clueless, and Mean Girls, the same way I did – having the same frame of reference, and sense of humour. We would watch these movies (along with Galaxy Quest and Empire Records) together over and over. And over. And over.
She was the best travel partner, and we had so many plans for future trips together. She was also my favourite person to go for karaoke with – really, my favourite person for everything – my favourite person, period.
I had posted most of this on livejournal, because my account there is heavily locked, but I was about to post my 2015 wrap-ups and Christmas stuff, when I thought that I really ought to have this here, too.
And something new, Five Books My Sister Loved (That I Gave Her)
- Falling For Hamlet, Michelle Rey
After reading this, she really got into Hamlet and YA Shakespeare retellings.
- Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins
She mostly loved this because of the non-US setting. She went to med school in Russia and traveled around Europe every chance she got.
- Cruel Beauty, Rosamund Hodge
She was really into retellings. She said that this, to her, was the “perfect love story”.
- City of Bones, Cassandra Clare
I gave her the original trilogy, and she didn’t read them for two years. When she finally did, she got more into it than I ever was. It makes me really sad to think that she would never read the entire Shadowhunter Chronicles.
- A Midsummer’s Nightmare, Kody Keplinger
Another Shakespeare retelling that she really loved, and that cemented Kody Keplinger in my sister’s ultimate favourite authors list.