BOOK REVIEW: THIS IS SARAH BY ALLY MALINENKO

22360316Title: This is Sarah
Author: Ally Malinenko
Published: 2014 by BookFish Books
169 pages
Source: Author
Click here to find it on Goodreads

Maria’s thoughts:
In this story, we follow Colin as he deals with the trauma of losing his girlfriend, Sarah. On May 12th, Sarah was supposed to be going to a party with her best friend Jenna, but she never arrived. That is when Colin began calling Sarah’s phone. He called her over and over and over again, praying that his beloved girlfriend would be alright.

They never did find Sarah.

But Colin never stopped calling.

One year after Sarah went missing, there was a voice on the other end of the phone.

This gave Colin hope.

He never gave up on Sarah.

Everyone thought he was crazy.

I could feel Colin’s pain. He never gave up on finding Sarah. He became obsessed with the idea of her and with leaving numerous messages on her cell phone. He couldn’t accept that over a year later, she wouldn’t be coming home. Poor Colin just couldn’t find enough closure to move on.

I couldn’t imagine going through something like that and having so many people against me. Ally Malienko illustrated the grieving process in great detail. It was interesting, though so sad, to read about this boy going through so much anger and denial.

Even I was hopeful! How great would it be for this girl to come back into his life, to save him from the depression he was feeling? But she doesn’t magically appear, because this story is very real. In reality, when people go missing for over a year, they probably aren’t coming back. It’s a terrible thing to experience, but it is written wonderfully. Colin’s emotions are very realistic, as well as his love for Sarah.

Did I forget to mention Claire? As much as I loved Colin, I had a really hard time connecting with Sarah’s sister Claire. I just wanted to keep reading about Colin. I’m not really sure why. I don’t think I liked the fact that Claire was so jealous of her sister, even though I know this is a normal thing. I just found it weird that she was basically obsessed with her sister’s life and wanted to steal her boyfriend. It sounds bad, but I didn’t feel like she went through as much pain as Colin did – and she was her SISTER. I did feel bad for her with what happened to their parents though. In the end, she just kind of frustrated me. I know why it ended that way, but my reaction was: UGH CLAIRE.

I read This is Sarah in just one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. In the very first chapter, I was hooked. I became completely invested in the story and I really did care for the main character. This is a book that will make you FEEL. It is so true to life. It really is a beautiful story and I highly recommend it. I really loved this book and gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Mallory’s thoughts:
Sarah Evans is still in high school when she left home to go to a party one night and never returned. Told over the span of just over a year, each chapter is told through the perspective of either Colin, Sarah’s boyfriend, or Claire, Sarah’s younger sister. Colin is having a hard time dealing with Sarah’s disappearance. He calls her cell phone multiple times every single day. And then a year after her disappearance something happens. Instead of ringing off into nothing, Sarah’s answering machine comes on. Colin is determined to figure out what happened to Sarah. He continues to believe that she is still alive, even though they found her shirt: torn and her car: abandoned. And never once could they locate or track her cell phone. A heartbreaking novel told from two different perspectives of people mourning in different ways. This is Sarah will definitely keep you wondering, what happened to Sarah Evans?

The concept of this book is really fabulous. A great look at how something tragic can affect so many people in different ways. I felt myself really enjoying both Colin and Claire’s point of views. I liked the characters just as much as I really felt for them as they were going through a hard time. Colin’s parents put him into therapy and he doesn’t feel like it is doing much good. Claire simply tries getting over everything on her own. I enjoyed Colin’s chapters a little more but I always like getting multiple perspectives throughout books.

I’m docking a star for two simple reasons. Number one, I predicted the end of the story from very early on. And number two, I was really hoping we would find out what happened to Sarah. I know this isn’t really the point of the story, that the grieving and real life feel is supposed to be more the point, but I wanted the satisfaction of the conclusion of what happened to her. It was such a great mystery through the whole book, only to find out it remains a mystery forever.

I very highly recommend this book. Although it has heavy and heartbreaking content, it is a fast and enjoyable read. I finished this in two sittings.

A very easy 4/5 star rating.

A big thanks to the author, Ally Malinenko, for providing us a copy of the book. Make sure you go check her out!
Website: allymalinenko.com
Twitter: @allymalinenko

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