Tigers, Not Daughters by Samantha Mabry

The Torres sisters dream of escape. Escape from their needy and despotic widowed father, and from their San Antonio neighborhood, full of old San Antonio families and all the traditions and expectations that go along with them. In the summer after her senior year of high school, Ana, the oldest sister, falls to her death from her bedroom window. A year later, her three younger sisters, Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa, are still consumed by grief and haunted by their sister’s memory. Their dream of leaving Southtown now seems out of reach. But then strange things start happening around the house: mysterious laughter, mysterious shadows, mysterious writing on the walls. The sisters begin to wonder if Ana really is haunting them, trying to send them a message—and what exactly she’s trying to say.
In a stunning follow-up to her National Book Award–longlisted novel All the Wind in the World, Samantha Mabry weaves an aching, magical novel that is one part family drama, one part ghost story, and one part love story.

The Torres sisters haven't recovered from their eldest sister's death one year ago. Jessica is trying too hard to become her sister that she doesn't realize how her overly jealous boyfriend is keeping her from living her dreams. Iridian is busy hiding from others to stand up to those, including her father, who treat her like she is less than who she is. Rosa is looking for signs of her big sister everywhere in nature with the help of a priest when she should be trusting her own intuition. The three remaining sisters are too busy looking elsewhere for strength but the ghostly figure of there dearly departed sister Ana is about to shake things up. She will show them where their true strength lies - with each other.

Tigers, Not Daughters focuses on the theme that there are some men that think they know what is best for the women in their life. There are some men who want to control women. And there are simply some people in your life who think they know you when they don't. This story confronted the all too real lives that some women have to face - feeling trapped by the men in their lives. In the Hispanic culture, there is a thing called machismo which typically means men that are proud of their masculinity but also have an exaggerated view of their masculinity. This can lead to the thinking that men are the ones that have the final say. They control the narrative in their family, not women. In some cases, men can feel that their wife or girlfriend needs to do what they say and live the life they want them to live. This can be shown with being pressured to be traditional where the wife is the one who stays at home to take care of the kids and the husband goes to work. There can be a control issue there where the woman has no freedom to do what they want and can be victims of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is brought up in the case of Jessica's abuse by her boyfriend and the way their father treats Iridian. This theme was so prominent throughout the whole story. The way in which it was told makes me feel like teenagers, especially Hispanic ones, need to read this story. They need to know how they shouldn't be treated or treat others so that they can treat themselves and each other with respect.

There is also a focus on sisterhood. All three sisters don't really know what is going on in each other's lives. They are slowly being brought together by their eldest sister's actions. I enjoyed reading from the three perspectives of Jessica, Iridian, and Rosa. Jessica most of all probably because she was the one I wanted to see her worth. She had so much negativity in her life, that I wanted to see her happy. Jessica and Iridian had moments that reminded me of myself. When you are feeling down about yourself, you don't think the greatest things about yourself. I truly felt their struggle and pain. Rosa was a different case. She knew who she was but she was relying on others to tell her what she already knew. I wasn't as interested in her storyline as the others. I found her interest in a guy to be strange because I saw her in my head as very young. I actually didn't like her and Jessica's new love interest's storyline because that shouldn't be the point of the book. I rather them not be with anyone right now. They need each other more than they need a boyfriend.

Tigers, Not Daughters is a story I think every teenager should read. It's a story that has a lot to say. One that makes you root for the girls that have lost each other but come together when they need each other most. This is a highly recommended read and might just be a new favorite of mine.


  1. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one. Sadly, there really are a lot of men in the world who think women should do as they say and not what they want.



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