The 10 must-read books for anyone with siblings

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Phoebe Morgan, author of the soon to be released novel, The Doll House, shares her top ten favourite books about siblings with Whether you’re part of a large brood yourself, or have always wondered what it’s like to have brothers and sisters, this line-up is full of must-reads that delve into the delicate and intriguing relationships of families. 

Siblings can be some of the most important people in our lives – often, the closest people to us in the world. I’ve always found the relationship between brothers and sisters fascinating, and it seems other authors have too!

But while siblings can be our biggest supporters, that intense bond can also be dangerous – as some of the brilliant novels below show. There’s something about sharing DNA, parents and a childhood that can bring out either the very best or the very worst in people – and that’s what makes the topic so intriguing! 

The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke

Katie’s worst fears come true when she gets a phone call telling her that her younger sister Mia has allegedly jumped to her death from a cliff in Bali, leaving behind just a travel diary detailing her innermost thoughts.

Heartbroken, Katie gets on a plane to retrace her sister’s footsteps across the globe – with some earth-shattering results. This is a stunning novel full of twists and turns which explores the bond of sisterhood – even after death.

Buy it here: from £4.99, Amazon

Little Sister by Isabel Ashdown

After sixteen years apart, sisters Emily and Jess reunite at their mother’s funeral. Before long, Emily lets Jess back into her life – but when her baby daughter Daisy goes missing under Jess’ watch, old suspicions come back to haunt them both.

Full of family secrets, this tautly written thriller will make you question everything that sisterhood stands for – and made me happy to have brothers!

Buy it here: £7.99, Amazon

The View on the Way Down by Rebecca Wait

A beautifully written, heart-wrenching novel about brotherly love, mental health and the pain and complexity of suicide. Emma had two brothers, but Kit died five years ago and on the day of his funeral, Jamie left home. No-one will ever talk about what really happened, but Emma can’t let it go. This book explores how far any one of us will go for love – and how much that boundary is tested when the person you love is your sibling. Will stay with you long after you turn the page.

Buy it here: £7.99, Amazon

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Rosemary has a unique sister. A sister like no other. Fern is funny, caring, special – and – spoiler alert – a chimpanzee. This fascinating novel explores what it means to be a sibling, while discussing the tricky topics of science versus compassion with incredible skill. The author skilfully paints the picture of an emerging relationship between Rosemary and Fern and delicately handles some sensitive issues. A must read.

Buy it here: £5.99, Amazon


The Smart One by Jennifer Close

The Coffey siblings – Max, Claire and Martha – are having a bit of a time of it. Martha is folding jumpers for a living after a career breakdown, Claire is single and broke after cutting ties with her fiancé, and Max has an unexpected baby on the way.

When all three are forced to move back home, their mother couldn’t be happier. But can the siblings’ reunion be anything other than catastrophic? Tenderly written, funny and with real truth in every word, The Smart One reminds us that at the end of the day, we’re all just our mother’s children, no matter how old we are.

Buy it here: £7.99, Amazon

Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore

The recent passing away of this wonderful writer is a true loss to literature and this book reminded me exactly why. Talking to the Dead is an eerie, vivid portrayal of sisters Isabel and Nina, who come together after the birth of Isabel’s first child with her husband Richard. But what is Nina’s real reason for visiting her sister? And what secret are the sisters keeping? This book will sneak up on you and left me dizzy at its deadly climax.

Buy it here: £8.99, Amazon

The Twins by Saskia Sarginson

Sarginson is a master of her craft and this tense thriller about twins Isolte and Violet had me hooked from the very first page. Close as children, the sisters have grown apart – with the help of an eating disorder and a forgotten summer that neither can quite remember – or can they?

This clever, twisting book offers an intriguing insight into the psychology of twins, and reminds us all that childhood events can come back with a bang…

Buy it here: £7.99, Amazon

The Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink

Make sure you have tissues at hand for this book. It is summer 1990, and Cathy’s brother, Matty, is knocked down by a car shortly before his GCSE results. What follows next is a portrayal of a family breaking apart at the seams, bound together only by the enduring ability of human beings to love.

Rentzenbrink forces the reader to imagine the worst situation a family can face, but delivers a book that is as powerful and brave as it is tear-inducing. A vital read for anyone who has ever lost someone they love – be that a sibling or a son.

Buy it here: £5.99, Amazon

Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty

The queen of dark women’s fiction does it again! This is one of Moriarty’s older, lesser-known books which I hunted down desperately about a year ago. Sisters Cat, Lyn and Gemma are having their thirty-fourth birthday celebration, when somehow, a fork is thrown – into a pregnant sister’s stomach. With her trademark drama, wit and incredible plotting skills, the bestselling author of Big Little Lies creates a hugely compelling of three sisters who fight against their bond – only to find life has other plans…

Buy it here: from £5.59, Amazon

Love in Idleness by Charlotte Mendelson

Anna is desperate to escape home, Somerset, and her mother. So when her aunt Stella offers her a room in her London flat, she jumps at the chance. On the brink of adulthood, Anna becomes obsessed with her mother’s sister and her glamorous life – but what really lies at the heart of the two sisters’ relationship?

Mendelson’s evocative and at times quietly hilarious prose drags the reader back to being young, unsure and desperate for change, with a compelling sibling relationship at its heart.

Buy it here: £7.99, Amazon

Phoebe Morgan’s debut novel, The Doll House (HQ) releases on 14 September.

Images: Twitter / Instagram / Phoebe Morgan