Our Sister, Again

Authored by Sophie Cameron
Published by Little Tiger

Tagged , ,

Our Sister, Again is centred around Isla and her family, who we meet in the midst of grief after the loss of daughter and sister Flora. Three years pass by and readers discover that a tech company named Second Chances have given the family an opportunity to bring Flora back to her home. A mixture of online data, video footage and extensive interviews have been used to produce a highly sophisticated form of Artificial Intelligence that would take on the role as Flora. This is a once in a life-time trial and dependent upon the whole of the local community playing their part in welcoming Flora. Upon arrival, the new Flora mirrors the appearance and personality of Isla’s late sister. But will these glimmers of her sister ever fill the gap that Flora left behind? Second Chances have promised to almost perfectly recreate a loved one and change the way that humans grieve forever. Flora’s family and neighbours must try to accept her, however not everyone is willing to embrace the new arrival.

This is a deeply philosophical story, rich with ethical questions for children to reflect upon when reading. Cameron blurs the boundaries between humans and technology and her story asks what it is that sets humans apart from robots. Waves of conflict regarding the advancements of technology are spread throughout the plot. We see this in the whirlwind of mixed reactions within the locals, Isla’s own inner turmoil when regarding her sister and in Flora’s ever evolving character. This novel strikes a delicate balance between exposing the potential dangers held by robots filling the role of a human and the benefits that they could offer to society. There is a lot of space left for pupils to come to their own conclusions about the morality of artificial intelligence, how and whether they should be used by humans. This text certainly offers a fantastic and open stimulus for interesting moral debates within the classroom.

With some more mature themes relating to death and grief, this story would need to be carefully considered prior to being read as a whole class novel. It offers a good insight into how family relationships may change after the loss of a sibling and how young people have to adjust to new dynamics within the home. Above all, Cameron’s narrative is pacy and thought provoking, offering readers in Year Six and KS3 a fantastic first foray into science fiction.