The Chicken Sisters, a novel by KJ Dell’Antonia, is the modern day Romeo and Juliet — with fried chicken. This book provides exactly what everyone needs right now: good food, reality TV drama and a good laugh over family dynamics.
Set in the small fictional town of Merinac, Kansas, there are two feuding fried chicken restaurants. This feud goes back to the 1800s, when sisters Frannie and Mimi each founded their own restaurant in town, Frannie’s Chicken and Mimi’s. As ownership of the business was passed down through the generations, the feud only intensified. Barbara Moore — current owner of Mimi’s — has two daughters, Mae and Amanda. Both of the girls helped their mom with the family business until Mae moved to New York and Amanda fell in love with Frank Pogociello, the son of the owner of Frannie’s Chicken. The forbidden romance that sparked between the two children of the feuding families mirrors Romeo and Juliet in the sense that their romance fuels trouble between their families. The Moores view Amanda as a traitor, and the Pogociellos simply see Amanda leaving Mimi’s for Frannie’s as a bonus for them.
Presently, years have passed since Amanda scandalously switched loyalties in the chicken feud, and she is fed up with the fighting between the two families. So, she sends an application in to Food Wars — the reality TV show that focuses on feuds like this — in hopes of drawing attention to the chicken restaurants and winning the cash prize of $100,000 for Frannie’s. However, to get both families on board with being on TV, she needs her sister Mae to come back to Kansas — something she hasn't done for the past six years. Once Mae arrives, trouble only amplifies as these families go head-to-head in both on-screen and off-screen fights. But there can only be one winner, so which family has the best fried chicken in Merinac?
During the stress of the fall semester coming to a close, I knew I needed a lighthearted book to read, and this was exactly that. This book combines love, hate and crazy family dynamics that are far too relatable — if you have a sister, you’ll love this story. I couldn’t put this book down because every chapter brought new drama into the light. In these crazy times, I think everyone deserves a good laugh, and The Chicken Sisters can be just that.
By Rylee Petty, Staff Writer