Today I am excited to be part of the blog tour for the hilarious I Swapped My Brother On The Internet by Jo Simmons!
I Swapped My Brother On The Internet was released on the 11th January 2018 published by Bloomsbury and illustrated by Nathan Reed.
Today Jo Simmons shares her top 10 sibling relationships in this fab guest post!
‘I can get a new brother? On the internet?’ Jonny muttered. ‘Oh sweet mangoes of heaven!’
Everyone has dreamed of being able to get rid of their brother or sister at one time or another – but for Jonny, the dream is about to become a reality with SiblingSwap.com! What could be better than someone awesome to replace Ted, Jonny’s obnoxious older brother.
But finding the perfect brother isn’t easy, as Jonny discovers when Sibling Swap sends him a line of increasingly bizarre replacements: first a merboy, then a brother raised by meerkats, and then the ghost of Henry the Eighth! What’s coming next?! Suddenly old Ted isn’t looking so bad. But can Jonny ever get him back?
Top 10 Memorable Sibling Relationships by Jo Simmons
Siblings not getting along is a staple of fiction, but anyone part of a large family recognises that sibling relationships can be way more complex and nuanced than simple loathing. Rivalry one minute, intense love and camaraderie the next, or just simple bafflement that such different people can be produced by the same two parents – sibling relationships can provoke extreme, even confusing feelings. I’ve picked 10 books that reveal the bond in its most memorable guises.
His Bloody Project – Graeme McRae
A tricksy, grizzly book that features Roddy Macrae, a 17-year-old boy from a remote crofting community in Scotland, accused of murdering three people. The account he writes of his life while awaiting trial in prison describes his incredibly close relationship with his sister Jetta. At primary school, their teacher commented that Roddy would climb into Jetta’s apron pocket if he could. Jetta frequently answers for Roddy, with surprising accuracy, and Roddy happily takes beatings from the school bullies to deflect teasing away from her. It doesn’t end well for either of them, but then being this spookily connected to your sibling often ends in tears. Just look at Liam and Noel Gallagher…
A Girl is a Half Formed Thing – Eimear McBride
This dark, complex and experimental novel features an anonymous female author who, between dodgy sexual encounters and domestic misery, addresses her disabled brother – the “you” of the book. His brain was damaged when a tumour was removed in infancy, but the author’s love for him is a pure, clean feeling in a very grimy world of guilt, abuse and sadness. She imagines a weird underground life for them together: “In burrows rabbits safe from rain… You and only me.” The brother’s failing health becomes unbearably sad, and drives the author to be both her best and worst self.
Howards End – EM Forster
Forster’s story centres on Margaret Schlegel who, as oldest sibling, is spring boarded into the role of mother for her sister Helen and brother Tibby when they are orphaned. The wealthy siblings grow up in a comfortable household in London at the start of the 20th century and lead an intellectual and bohemian life, going to concerts, hosting political lunches, marching about London arm in arm and “ribbing” each other gently. That’s until Helen goes on a mission to help poor Leonard Bast, leading him inadvertently down a path to disaster, while Margaret seemingly betrays her principles to marry the capitalist Mr Wilcox. We watch as the two sisters negotiate their failings and compromises.
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
When little sister Prim is selected to take part in the Hunger Games, her big sis Katniss stands in for her. This isn’t like your sister offering to do your paper round for you on Saturday morning because you want a lie in. This is Katniss pretty much offering to die for her sister in the lethal games. Only she doesn’t. Spoilers! Which is great for Katniss, but maybe even better for Prim, as that would have been one heck of a sibling guilt trip.
The Battle of the Villa Fiorita – Rumer Godden
When Fanny Clavering falls in love with a film director and escapes to Italy with him, two of her three children, Caddie and Hugh, pluckily decide to travel to her bolthole, the Villa Fiorita, to fetch her home. At first, the siblings are united by their naïve quest to return their mother both to her senses, and to her passionless English country life. Once in Italy, though, the eponymous battle begins and the kids are pulled apart as they face up to the complexities of adult love. A great coming of age novel, set in the early 1960s, with two vividly drawn siblings at its heart – innocent, loving Caddie and moody pubescent Hugh.
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
There are five Bennett sisters spilling across the pages of Pride and Prejudice. While Elizabeth coming to know and love Mr Darcy is the main event, the relationships between the very different sisters also play out. Lydia and Kitty are daft and flighty, Mary is dull, and Jane is beautifully even tempered. It’s the bond between Jane and Elizabeth, based on mutual respect, love and support, that’s most appealing and admirable, and they pair go on to marry best friends (Jane bags Darcy’s mate Mr Bingley), to cement this.
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Cathy and Heathcliff are held up as exemplars of passionate love, but in fact, this volcanic pair were raised as siblings when Cathy’s father adopts Heathcliff as a son. They have an intense, but not a sexual relationship. Cathy famously explains to housekeeper Nelly that “I am Heathcliff. He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.” So she haunts him from the grave once she has starved herself to death, and he sets about destroying the two families he believes ruined his life. Ouch!
The Tale of Tom Kitten – Beatrix Potter
I grew up on Beatrix Potter – this is my favourite. A really simple story with gorgeously illustrated Tom at its heart. Tabitha Twitchit dresses up Tom and his sisters Moppet and Mittens for her fancy-pants tea party but they get mucky in the garden and Tom pops his buttons before the guests have even arrived. All the kittens get sent to bed as punishment but still manage to wreck the posh do by clattering about upstairs. I love the whiff of anarchy and that whole, ‘you can’t keep the kids down’ message here. It’s sibling exuberance versus the adult world of manners and social convention. The kids win!
Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare
Shakespeare has slapstick fun with twins in The Comedy of Errors, but this unique sibling relationship is most touchingly explored in Twelfth Night. Identical twins Viola and Sebastian are separated when a storm wrecks their ship, and Viola then disguises herself as a man. There’s lots of mistaken identity fun, gender-bending and people falling in love with each other, but the final scene when the twins are reunited is wonderfully moving.
The Turn of the Screw – Henry James
There are numerous spooky siblings in gothic and horror fiction – let’s agree not to mention the sisters in The Shining. This classic late Victorian chiller tells of a governess hired to look after a young boy and girl in a country house. Unfortunately for all concerned, the little darlings Miles and Flora may well be acting under the influence of the ghosts of some recently deceased former employees. A promising posting soon turns into the job from hell.
You can buy a copy of I Swapped My Brother On The Internet here or from your local bookshop!
Or why not add it to your Goodreads wish list here
About Jo Simmons
Jo Simmons began her working life as a journalist. Her first fiction series for children, Pip Street, was inspired by her own kids’ love of funny fiction, and two Super Loud Sambooks followed. In addition to children’s fiction, she co-wrote a humorous parenting book, Can I Give Them Back Now?: The Aargh To Zzzzzz Of Parenting, published by Square Peg. Jo lives in Brighton with her husband, two boys and a scruffy formerly Romanian street dog. I Swapped My Brother on the Internet is her first book for Bloomsbury.
You can follow Jo on twitter – @Joanna_simmons
About Nathan Reed
Nathan Reed has been a professional illustrator since graduating from Falmouth College of Arts in 2000. He has illustrated Christopher Edge’s How to Write Your Best Story Ever and the Elen Caldecott’s Marsh Road Mysteries Series. His most recent picture book is Samson the Mighty Flea by Angela McAllister. He was shortlisted for the Serco Prize for Illustration in 2014. When he’s not illustrating he can be found with his two boys and a football on Peckham Rye Common.
You can find out more about Nathan on his website – www.nathanreedillustration.com
Or why not follow him on twitter – @nathanreed_illo
You can catch up or follow the rest of this fab blog tour at the following stops!
A huge thank you to Jo for such a fab guest post and to Faye Rogers for organising and asking me to be part of this fab blog tour!
Have you read I Swapped My Brother On The Internet? What did you think? What was your favourite part? Do you have any favourite sibling relationships? If you have not read it yet have we tempted you to go and grab a copy? I would love to hear from you! Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy!