While My Sister Sleeps Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of While My Sister Sleeps

Molly lives in the shadow of her big sister Robin. Molly is her mother's right-hand in the family horticulture business, but no matter how hard she tries she can never please her mom. Robin the “runner” is the family star. Instead of nourishing plants or pretending to help out, she runs races in hopes of making it to the Olympics. Molly and Robin have a brother, Chris. Nice enough, the accountant and new dad is having a bit of a hard time with his wife Erin. She craves adult conversation after spending all day speaking baby talk as a stay at home mom. Chris wants to chill after work, enjoy dinner followed up by a ball game, in peace.
Click here to see the rest of this review

A phone call during dinner from Molly alerts Chris that Robin is in intensive care following a heart attack during a run. Worse, she's in a coma.

Kathryn and Charlie Snow, don't know what to do when they arrive at the hospital and find their eldest daughter unresponsive. Katherine blames Molly for not driving Robin to the race. Molly can't seem to get her mother to understand that there is no way she could have prevented her sister's heart attack. A hurting Papa Charlie checks out on the conversation all together. He is used to the bickering between his youngest daughter and wife.

Kathryn is very concerned about appearances and does not want anyone outside of the immediate family to know that Robyn has been hospitalized.

Molly befriends David, the “Good Samaritan” who was the first person to come across Robin lying unconscious on the side of the road.

Nick, a local reporter has aspirations of becoming a world renown journalist and tries to use his friendship with Molly to get the scoop on Robin. He and Robin dated after being introduced by Molly, but Robin just wasn't that into Nick. Unfortunately, he has fallen hard for Robin.

When Robin is declared brain-dead the Snows' try to pull together. Molly remains guilt filled as her mother lashes out at her. Her father tries to keep the peace, and Chris shuts down.

Molly finds medical records haphazardly tossed in among Robin's bills. She has been living with an enlarged heart, inherited from her father. Molly confronts their dad and he denies having any such condition.

Family secrets start to flow like water and the truth comes out. Robin's birth father is a former professional golfer. Robin is the result of a one night stand from the staid Kathryn. Every truth Molly believed about her family seems a lie.

A heart condition isn't all Robin has kept secret. On a CD Rom that she's hidden in the back of her closet among random music CD's, is an online journal. In these pages Robin has scribed entries about her family, her hopes, dreams, her inadequacies, and how she really feels about running and living her mother's dream.

As the the Snow family struggles to come to grips with Robin's prognosis they make the hard decision to take her off of life support.

Her impending death brings the family closer together, each one taking time to make personal peace and peace with one another. Robin's admission of how much she looks up to Molly for being dependable and living her life, gives Molly the courage to step out of the legacy and shadow of her big sister. Kathryn affirms her love for Molly, a major step. The Snows' grant Nick permission to write and publish the bio on Robin. He's actually done a good job and his love for Robin becomes a tribute. The Snows' show that family love will not be denied.
Best part of story, including ending: I liked that Molly was able to stay true to herself despite the emotional beat downs by her mother.

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when Nick was asked by Kathryn to help write Robin's obituary. He has been labeled the bad guy for trying to out Robin's condition. He isn't a bad guy, he just needs to figure out boundaries when on the hunt for information to develop his stories.

Opinion about the main character: I liked Molly's courage and that she followed her heart. She loved her sister to the end.

The review of this Book prepared by C. Imani Williams a Level 13 Blue-Winged Teal scholar

Chapter Analysis of While My Sister Sleeps

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Who is...    -   physically ill Family focus?    -   Yes Family, sick/caring for    -   Yes Ill person is...    -   sister

Main Male Character

Profession/status:    -   teacher Age/status:    -   20's-30's

Main Female Character

   -   20's-30's Profession/status:    -   artist


City?    -   Yes City:    -   Boston

Writing Style

Focus of story    -   Her How much dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like While My Sister Sleeps

Barbara Delinsky Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian