Title: This Is Sarah
Author: Ally Malinenko
Genre: Young Adult
Length: 169 pages
Rating: 5 stars
When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin’s world unravels as he transforms from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that changes everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so how can he bring her back?
As Colin struggles with this possibility, across the street, Sarah’s little sister, Claire learns how to navigate the strange new landscape of life without her sister. While her parents fall apart, Claire remains determined to keep going even if it kills her.
THIS IS SARAH serves as a meditation on loss, love and what it means to say goodbye.
As a blogger, I have my favorite authors and most anticipated releases, just like everyone. But one of the best parts of blogging, is discovering something that not a lot of people are talking about. This book is one of those great parts. The author contacted the blog to see if we’d be interested in reviewing this book. After reading the synopsis, I was intrigued by the suspense element of the storyline, although a bit nervous on how hard this would hit me.
If you read my profile, you know that Romantic Suspense is one of my favorite genres. Now, before I get a head of myself, this is not a Romance book. As the author mentions, it is how two people handle loss and how they move on. While there is a love story, it is a heartbreaking one. This not a sunshine and rainbows type of book. But, it’s a beautiful written story, that captures pain, and the coping mechanisms people use to deal with it.
All of the stages of grief are detailed:
The thoughts and emotions of Colin and Claire, with alternating POVs, are well detailed. Your heart will hurt for both of them. For Colin, he alternated between guilt, depression, anger and bargaining, often refusing to believe that Sarah is gone.
I wasn’t suicidal – it wasn’t as simple as that. I wouldn’t even have to kill myself really. I felt those parts of me, those parts that were still connected to Sarah, which felt like all of me – those parts sort of just died off and jumped, leaving me to go wherever in the black hole that Sarah went.
For Claire, she reacted more with shock and acceptance. But she too had moments of depression, as her family’s grief impacted her own self-esteem.
We already lost Sarah, I wanted to say. Am I not good enough to stay for?
This book had a lot of hope. But there is a twist and is a huge gut kick. Surprisingly, the result, although sad, gives the characters a new direction.
Even though I actually woke up in the middle of the night hoping there was an alternate ending and I read it wrong, the author did a great job of building the story around these two characters. You wanted so much more for them. You become invested in them in a short period of time and hope they get their HEA. Some day.
*A complimentary copy was provided by the author for an honest review.