This review is also posted at The Bawdy Book Blog. A Gift for My Sister leaves you emotionally raw and rips your heart to shreds…before putting it back together in such a way that you know you’ll never be the same again. Because this is a story that, once you’ve finished it and set it aside, takes a piece of your heart with it.Sky and Tara are half-sisters; they share a mother, but Tara came along a number of years after Sky’s father passed away and their mother remarried, disrupting the comfortable twosome Sky and their mother had built over their own grief. Tara, having inherited the musical gene from her wayward, promiscuous father, uses her creativity as a measure of comfort in what she perceives is the absence of familial love. If she only has herself and her music to depend on, she doesn’t need anyone else.Likewise, Sky, when she marries her high school sweetheart and best friend Troy, and they go off across the country to be lawyers together and raise a child, finds the twosome in him she has missed since Tara was born, and determines that is all she needs to survive.Both sisters treat the other as if they have nothing in common, because they aren’t fully blood, when sometimes that doesn’t matter at all. Family can be created, not born.Until tragedy strikes and the two sisters are thrown together by circumstance and the familial bonds they didn’t think existed.I can’t say enough good things about A Gift for My Sister. There are just so many! The premise is initially very sad and full of heartbreak. After having several miscarriages, a stillbirth, and losing her best friend, Sky loses her husband Troy to a mysterious bacteria. Her family rallies around her in support, including Tara and her rap crew, a group of black kids from Detroit that Sky would rather judge than face her wrongfully preconceived notions. Notions that, in light of her recent loss, they all look past gracefully. Tara, desperate for some measure of a sisterly bond that they never really had, tries again and again to reach Sky and find what they’ve been missing all these years. But old resentments are hard to get over when one daughter lost her father and the other daughter’s father abandoned her.I feel like I could wax poetic about A Gift for My Sister all day long and simply not do it any justice. This is a book I don’t even want to tell you about; I just want you to read it. It personally struck a chord in me because I have an older half-sister, who is not quite eight years older than I am (we share the same father) and a younger stepsister by four years, whose father passed away nine years ago (and he raised me). And while my younger sister and I were close in childhood, and my older sister and I were not, the tides reversed when my stepfather passed away. Tragedy can do funny things to families; it can make you or break you. But, I like to hold out hope that in the end, it all works out. And A Gift for My Sister really gives me hope that it will.It addresses so many issues: family estrangement, race & prejudice, death, infidelity, but most importantly: how you live your life. It was heartbreaking and it was happy. I identified with all of the characters on a really deep level and this is the contemporary read I recommend everyone read at least once in their lives.Because it doesn’t matter how you die; only how you live.*This book was provided to me by the publicist in exchange of an honest review.