Title: This is Sarah
Author: Ally Malinenko
Publisher: BookFish Books
Acquired Via: Author
Release Date: July 3, 2014
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 could change everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so, how far will he go to 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.
I liked that Malinenko started off This is Sarah with the phone call that possibly means that Sarah is still alive. It gave me hope throughout the book that everything was going to be okay, which is a testament to Malinenko's writing. I still have a hard time with characters dying in books, so I wanted to believe that Sarah was still alive.
Although the title of the story is “This is Sarah”, the book is more about the people that Sarah left behind when she disappeared. It was mostly a story about loss and acceptance, and learning that to heal people have to accept the loss. It was a really sad read, but it was very well written. I could feel all of the characters' emotions and the characters felt real. All of Colin’s reactions and actions in coming to terms with his loss were believable. This is one of the more difficult types of loss because there is no real closure; Colin always had hope that Sarah was going to come home so he could never heal. When he starts leaving voice mails every day, it was harder to read because I could feel his desperation and grief. This was also the slowest part of the novel, and the only part where I thought there were some pacing issues.
I don’t think that the two main characters and points of view - Colin and Claire - sounded different enough. Whenever I was reading chapters I would sometimes forget whose point of view I was reading, and would have to go back to the beginning of the chapter to find out. However, I liked that Malinenko included the police transcripts. It was a nice mix up of the narrative. It also felt like we were seeing the entire story from all the views.
This is Sarah made me think about different types of grief and about missing and/or taken girls. While this is not my typical read, I think that readers who like heart-wrenching, emotional books will like it.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.