Sisters are some of the most important relationships in life, and literature has long tried to capture the complex relationship. From Louisa May Alcott's March sisters in Little Women to Beverly Cleary's beloved Ramona and Beezus to even the Wakefield twins from Sweet Valley High, sisters are some of the most iconic characters to grace the pages of novels.
Picture books, middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction have all tried to describe the unique sisterhood bond, through all of the incredible times and all of the dark times. As Atlantia author Ally Condie said,
As you’re growing up and you’re close, you can’t trust anyone the way you trust your sister, but also they have the power to wound you in ways no one else really does.
Through their fictional characters, authors describe the ups and downs of a sisters relationship, especially sisters who are close. In particular these 19 quotations about sisters from literature get to the heart of the bond.
1. For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands
―Christina Rossetti, Goblin Market and Other Poems
2. "I'm not going anywhere," she told me that night. But until we are old ladies—a cypress age, a Sawtooth age—I will continue to link arms with her, in public, in private, in a panic of love.
―Karen Russell, Swamplandia!
3. No matter how many years passed or how much responsibility each assumed, they still managed to bicker like bitchy teenagers on a regular basis. In some way, though, each found it comforting; it reminded them how close they really were: Acquaintances were always on their best behavior, but sisters loved each other enough to say anything.
―Lauren Weisberger, Chasing Harry Winston
4. We hug, but there are no tears. For every awful thing that's been said and done, she is my sister. Parents die, daughters grow up and marry out, but sisters are for life. She is the only person left in the world who shares my memories of our childhood, our parents, our Shanghai, our struggles, our sorrows, and, yes, even our moments of happiness and triumph. My sister is the one person who truly knows me, as I know her. The last thing May says to me is 'When our hair is white, we'll still have our sister love.
―Lisa See, Shanghai Girls
5. At this point, none of us are sure why we fight. We’re sisters. We need no good reason to fight, even though we have plenty of them.
―Ken Wheaton, Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears
6. That's the best thing about little sisters: They spend so much time wishing they were elder sisters that in the end they're far wiser than the elder ones could ever be.
―Gemma Burgess, A Girl Like You
7. My sisters were the coolest people I knew, and still are. I have always aspired to be like them and know what they know. My sisters were the color and noise in my black-and-white boy world-how I pitied my friends who had brothers. Boys seemed incredibly tedious and dim compared to my sisters, who were always a rush of energy and excitement, buzzing over all the books, records, jokes, rumors and ideas we were discovering together. I grew up thriving on the commotion of their girl noise, whether they were laughing or singing or staging an intervention because somebody was wearing stirrup pants. I always loved being lost in that girl noise.
―Rob Sheffield, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut
8. There were once two sisters
who were not afraid of the dark
because the dark was full of the other's voice
across the room,
because even when the night was thick
they walked home together from the river
seeing who could last the longest
without turning on her flashlight,
because sometimes in the pitch of night
they'd lie on their backs
in the middle of the path
and look up until the stars came back
and when they did,
they'd reach their arms up to touch them
―Jandy Nelson, The Sky is Everywhere
9. In a way, I was incredibly proud of her (not that I had any intention of letting it show while I was beating the crap out of her).
―Meg Cabot, Airhead Book 3: Runaway
10. I was too young that time to value her,
But now I know her. If she be a traitor,
Why, so am I. We still have slept together,
Rose at an instant, learned, played, eat together,
And wheresoe'er we went, like Juno's swans,
Still we went coupled and inseparable.
―William Shakespeare, As You Like It
11. I do not mourn the loss of my sister because she will always be with me, in my heart," she says. "I am, however, rather annoyed that my Tara has left me to suffer you lot alone. I do not see as well without her. I do not hear as well without her. I do not feel as well without her. I would be better off without a hand or a leg than without my sister. Then at least she would be here to mock my appearance and claim to be the pretty one for a change. We have all lost our Tara, but I have lost a part of myself as well.
―Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
12. "Come on Grace, I'm not going to tell on you. I'm your sister." And that's all she has to say.
―Robin Epstein, God Is in the Pancakes
13. “May, I love you with everything I am. For so long, I just wanted to be like you. But I had to figure out that I am someone too, and now I can carry you, your heart with mine, everywhere I go.”
―Ava Dellaira, Love Letters to the Dead
14. Ruthie started to cry at Julia's use of the word "hate," though Ruthie knew it was true, accurate. For a long time now it had been easier just to hate her sister. Easier to try to define the relationship with that simple emotion than to live with the conflicting set of feelings Julia brought forth.
―Susan Rebecca White, A Soft Place to Land
15. Back in time it seemed that having a sister were a tragedy. Instead it is one of the best presents my parents could have ever given me.
―Sara Anzellotti, An Unexpected Proposal
16. She wouldn't climb out of the bed for her sister, but she had climbed into a crater. She wouldn't cross a room, but she had crossed a continent.
―Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
17. What are sisters for if not to point out the things the rest of the world is too polite to mention.
―Claire Cook, New Leash on Life
18. Nobody fights you like your own sister; nobody else knows the most vulnerable parts of you and will aim for them without mercy.
―Jojo Moyes, The Girl You Left Behind
19. There were once two sisters who shared the same room,
the same clothes,
the same thoughts at the same moment.
These two sisters did not have a mother
but they had each other.
The older sister walked ahead of the younger
so the younger one always knew where to go.
The older one took the younger to the river
where they floated on their backs
like dead men.
The older girl would say:
Dunk your head under a few inches,
then open your eyes and look up at the sun
The younger girl:
I'll get water up my nose
C'mon, do it
and so the younger girl did it
and her whole world filled with light.
―Jandy Nelson, The Sky is Everywhere
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