Five radically different young women are attempting to pledge a college sorority, all for vastly different reasons; some for the respectability and future opportunities, some because they believe it is part of their life plan. All the while, they are facing the usual things that all college co-eds face: the possibility of getting an STD, relationship trouble, not fitting in, peer pressure. But all of these women must come together in order to make it through the most difficult transition of their lives.
Sorority Sister is a good read for everyone -- not just for African Americans -- because the issues dealt with in this book cross all color lines. Author Tajuana "TJ" Butlerís writing style is smooth and shows great promise. Her non-sugar coated approach to showing real life reminds readers of a wise old grandmother telling stories of her life; Butler isn't peddling some moral fairytale, force-feeding it down the minds of youths everywhere. Situations are dealt with in a practical no-nonsense manner, which is quite refreshing.
Unfortunately, Butler describes things too much, which doesnít allow her readers imagination to engage, especially when it comes to clothes. Butler is obsessed with everyone in her stories having the right clothes for every occasion, and she describes each ensemble to the nth degree, regardless of whether the person is going to the gym or a high class restaurant. This awkward writing quirk bogs down the story and causes the reader to skim the pages, waiting for the action to pick up again. Also, the characters are of the cookie-cutter variety that long time readers have seen time and time again: the spoiled one, the tough one, the naÔve one and the smart one. Itís like the Facts of Life recast with college pledges. Not bad for a first start, but a little too trite for an experienced reader.
Still, Butler shows great promise for things to come and her second novel, Hand Me Down Heartache, is a definite improvement. If Butler can get away from being such an image control freak, she will be able to produce some really enjoyable, abiding work.