top of page


By Julia Phillips

A Dark and Unsettling Family Drama



Two sisters, Sam, 28, and Elena, 29, are trapped by the slog of life and the responsibility of taking care of their dying mother. They live in a rundown house that belonged to their grandmother. Their debts are mounting exponentially, and they cannot afford the healthcare their mother needs. Both girls are exhausted, working tirelessly to juggle the needs of their mother and working multiple shifts in dead-end service jobs to make ends meet. Their lives are difficult and boring until a bear swims to the island.

Sam and Elena have always been close, but their differences have never been more apparent than when the bear shows up on their doorstep. One of the girls is scared, while the other sees it as exciting. One sister thwarts authority, while the other plays by the rules. One complains incessantly, while the other keeps her thoughts to herself. While both girls dream of a better life, their secrets will ultimately tear the sisters apart.


BEAR a dark and unsettling family drama loosely based on the fairy tale of Snow-White and Red-Rose. But this is no happily-ever-after fairy tale. Despite the beautiful setting on San Juan Island, the story revolves around two unhappy girls, who work hard and are suffocated by their circumstances.

The author, Julia Phillips, skillfully describes their struggles, drawing readers into the story with her atmospheric writing. Although I found it challenging to like the main characters, I couldn't put the book down. My favorite part of the story was the bear.

I received an advance reading copy of this book from Netgalley and Random House in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher    Random House Publishing Group / Random House

Published   June 24, 2025

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page