The Sorta Sisters

What if your best friend was someone you’d never met? And what if that best friend you’d never met wrote you a letter?

The Sorta Sisters
Anna and Mica have the same problem. They’re both lonely. Although separated by the entire state of Florida, they keep each other company through the exchange of letters and strange and sometimes mystifying objects.

It happened to Anna.

Dear Anna Casey, the letter began. My name is Mica (like the rock) Delano. I think we’re a lot alike. (see list)

1. We both like science.
2. We move around a lot—you as a foster kid and me because I live on a boat.
3. We each live with one parent.

I have the Captain (that’s what I call my dad, the World-Famous Marine Biologist Dr. Robin Michael Delano. You have your foster mom.

Wrapped inside the letter is a janthina shell. Janthinas drift on the sea, going where the wind takes them. Like the janthina, Mica is adrift. Traveling from port to port, going to school by mail, she never stays long enough to make a friend-for-keeps.

As a foster kid, Anna knows about being adrift. She hopes she’s found a permanent home with her foster mom, high school biology teacher Miss J, but it’s not official yet.

She and Mica are alike.

Separated by the length of the state of Florida, these “Sorta Sisters” trade opinions on how to fit in (don’t act too smart, don’t act too dumb), how to look older (wear tall shoes), and how to outsmart the popular girl at school (hide the spider in your hat).

Where did the story idea come from? 

“The Sorta Sisters” is the latest book in the “neighborhood” series. If you liked hanging out with Ben, Cass, Jemmie, Mica, Anna and the rest of the gang—they’re ba-ack!

This book grew out of two of my earlier books.  If you read “Anna Casey’s Place in the World” you know all about Anna’s struggle as a foster kid to find a permanent home.  If you’ve read “My Brother’s Hero” you’ve met Mica Delano, the pesty family-stealer who tries to take over Ben Floyd’s family.  At the end of that book you saw Ben give Anna Casey a letter from Mica, who he met while on vacation with his family in the Florida Keys.

“The Sorta Sisters” begins with Anna reading that letter.

You don’t have to have read the other books to enjoy this one, but isn’t it good to know there are other books?  I always miss characters when books end.  As a writer that means that I will probably write another book about them, and as a reader you can see what they’re up to even when one book is over.

This book contains illustrations of all the strange and wonderful things the girls send to each other along with their letters. I did the drawings myself. My dad is so pleased! He will finally get his money’s worth for sending me to art school.

What’s Real? 

All the objects that the girls send each other—no matter how strange—are definitely real.  They are so real that they even have Latin names.  Latin is the common language of biologists when it comes to naming things.  That way, no matter what language different biologists speak they have a common name that they all use.  It cuts down on confusion!

The marina Mica lives in is the same marina my family docked our boat in when we lived aboard.  Mica’s life is just like the life lived by many live aboard kids.  It is not uncommon for families that travel a lot to have their children go to school by mail.  It’s an exciting life, but it can also be lonely.  It is hard for kids to make lasting friendships when they move around so much—which is Mica’s biggest problem.

Anna lives in a house full of bones and nests and dead bugs and so do I.  Anna and I both call these shelves full of interesting things our “collections.”  I really like going outside, walking around and seeing what I find.  Nature is full of interesting things to watch, collect and study.  And you don’t even have to point and click.