Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review: This is Sarah by Ally Malinenko

Published: July 3rd 2014, BookFish Books
Genre: Contemporary, YA, Romance
Format: ebook (e-pub)
Source: provided for honest review
Goodreads Summary

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.

The Good

The best thing about This Is Sarah is that it's about dealing with reality. Not the past, not the future but the present! At some point in life each one of us experience one or more devastating incidents that change our lives forever (if not, then I guess you're lucky!). This Is Sarah will make you relive it. Yea, I know, that scared me as well, but at the end it comes down to dealing with the problems and moving on, no matter how much we don't want to do just that!

The book is so well-written that it took me two days just to get over the hurt and the pain that I experienced while reading it. I'd quote this book as a "Strong dose of emotions", that too mostly negative ones, so if you can't take strong emotional ups and downs, then unfortunately this book is not for you.

This Is Sarah is about the sudden disappearance of Sarah and how it affects the lives of people around her, her family, boyfriend and friends. Her parent's marriage falls apart, her sister breaks completely and her boyfriend is on the verge of completely going insane.

The best part about the book is that the emotions are perfectly real and so are the actions and reactions of characters, which connects you with them instantly. This book cannot be described in words, you have to read it if you want to experience what it's like to lose someone, without knowing what happened to them. The ending is bitter yet appropriate.

The Bad

The only thing bad that I can think of is the strong and negative emotional content.

The Romance

Colin's love for Sarah is the purest love I've read about in a very long time. Being away from Sarah is destroying him bit by bit and slowly-slowly he is falling apart is just on the verge of being declared insane.

Sarah's parents love her so much that the pain of being away from her took over them and destroyed their otherwise happy marriage. Sarah's younger sister, Claire also loves her immensely and her disappearance affected her very badly.

Everyone loved Sarah tremendously which, in the second half of the book, starts to play tricks with Clair's mind. She starts feeling that all the love and care is only for Sarah and that it wouldn't have been there if it were for Claire's disappearance.

Also, though Colin was Sarah's boyfriend, Claire loved him with all her heart and at one point tries to take Sarah's place in Colin's life after Sarah's disappearance.


This Is Sarah is a brilliant book by Ally Malinenko. It's a very unique book which is a bit high on emotions, but at the end that's what separates it from other YA books.

I'd not recommend it to readers who can't handle strong emotions and negative reading environment.
It will serve you well to think twice before reading it. I'd say if you can then give it a try, it will be a very unique reading experience.

Did you enjoy this review? Check out Heena's other reviews at The Reading Bud


She wasn't Sarah. She was a disappearance. A vanishing. A terrible story to tell when people came to town. She was pain and bad luck and something unrecoverable. Something that changed all of us.

Sometimes it felt like, if possible, to get rid of this pain, they would undo all of Sarah. As if it would be easier to never have had her than to have had her and lost her.

Or maybe sometimes I think that way. And thinking that makes me feel like I betray her. Abandon her.


I think that a lot. I spend so much time thinking about all the times I wasn't there for her. How I couldn't save her... 


  1. I love books that leave you with such strong emotion but they can be draining.

  2. True! This one was my first, and it left me in a strong emotional turmoil!

  3. I loved this book, too, despite all of the heartbreak. It's so beautifully written and one of the most realistic contemporary YA novels I've read.


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