September 17, 2014

Melissa Loved It: This is Sarah by Ally Malinenko

Series: Standalone
Format: PDF
Release Date: January 1st 2014
Publisher: BookFish Books
Source: Author
Genre: YA Contemporary

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.

This is one story that knows exactly how to pack an emotional wallop!  THIS IS SARAH is  full of well written and well developed characters. Sarah is at the heart of the book, even though by the time the story starts she is already gone. You learn about her as a sister, a girlfriend, and a friend, through the people who knew her. You piece together her personality bit by bit, and I thought that was so very clever.

Colin, her boyfriend, is in pieces after she goes missing. His life is collapsing around him and all he wants to do is keep hoping. He is such a sympathetic character. You just want to reach into the book and give him a hug. He feels so responsible for what happened, even though he doesn’t even know WHAT actually happened to his girlfriend. No one does, that’s the kicker. He grieves so hard and feels guilty for grieving. He wants to hold out hope that she’s still out there, but he’s so angry because what if she is? His heart doesn’t want to allow those thoughts to go through his mind. He holds onto that angry and sadness, because he feels like there’s nothing left for him until answers are found.

Claire, Sarah’s little sister, is left behind. She isn’t lost, but she feels like a shadow. Her parent’s focus hard on finding her sister, and they almost seem to forget she’s still there. It's understandable that they are both wrapped up in their own pain, but it made me so mad and sad for her. My heart simply ached for Claire! She is hurting too, but no one seems to recognize that. She not only loses her sister, but her family seems to crumble as time goes on.  

This book hinges on great character development, and it does not falter one bit. Chapters alternate between Colin and Claire, and the transitions are super smooth. As I mentioned earlier, getting to know Sarah depended on piecing together parts of her life from the people around her. The way this was written, in alternating POVs, was so GOOD. This style can be confusing sometimes, but Ally Malinenko has a firm grasp on this technique. Her writing shines and her characters speak volumes.

THIS IS SARAH, will leave a lasting impression with you. Prepare your tear ducts, because this one will hit you right in the feels.

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  1. So glad you liked this Melissa, I really enjoyed it too. Such a great read in a little book.

  2. Sounds like an intense and interesting read. I am guessing the mystery aspect is solid, do you find out what happened to Sarah?

  3. I so wanna know now what happened

  4. Sounds incredibly intense! I hadn't heard of this book before so that's for reviewing :-)

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  5. This is just such a beautifully written, powerful novel. I don't read a lot of contemporary YA, but I'd read one of Ally's novels before and was very intrigued by the premise of This Is Sarah, and it was flawlessly done. Glad you enjoyed it, too. :-)

  6. It sounds fab. I hadn't heard of it. Thanks for sharing, Melissa!

  7. Oh that's awesome when the characters are so well done. Thanks for the author intro :)

  8. Oh Melissa! This is Sarah sounds fantastically suspenseful. And I love a story with well-developed characters, too. I was already feeling the tension just from your review. I'll add this one to my tbr. Thanks for sharing about a new story and for a wonderful review!

  9. I can relate to the grieving part so well. I am so happy that this book rec worked well for you!

    Lovely review, Melissa!

  10. This sounds like a really great read! Might have to add it to the tbr pile.

  11. Ooo this sounds so good, but after the wedding. No crying for now. I know this one will tug at my heartstrings.

  12. Hadn't heard of this one before, it sounds excellent. Lots of emotions, but I like the idea that you're piecing the character together from others perspectives since she is gone. Great review.

  13. Wow! This really sounds like a great mystery. I'm glad the multiple POVs worked, I always enjoy that.
    Thanks for the review!

  14. I must add this to my TBR! I really enjoy this kind of stories and the multiple points of view, I got a felling I'm going to love this too.
    We'll done!

  15. This sounds really amazing! I've never heard of this book and I honestly clicked because of the cover. The story sounds really good and I love great character development! Thanks for sharing :)

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds


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