Readers' Favorite

Featured Post

Reflections on the #AtoZChallenge

by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

December 13, 2016

Review: This is Sarah by Ally Malinenko

by Donna Huber

cover This is Sarah
July 2014; BookFish Books; 9780991477869;
ebook & print (169 pages);  young adult
a free ebook was provided for this review
"Hi, this is Sarah. You know what to do!"
I hang up my phone and try to focus on the cold grass beneath my body. The stars flirt, winking on and off across a polished metal sky. Blood thrums through the millions of veins below my skin. Anything. Think of anything but Sarah's voice. Except I can't.

This is Sarah by Ally Malinenko is not your typical missing persons story. Instead of focusing on the hows and whys and what fors surrounding Sarah's disappearance, Malinenko focuses on the grief process of the two people who may have been closest to Sarah - her boyfriend and her sister.

Told in alternating chapters from the perspective of Claire (her sister) and Colin (her boyfriend), the reader gets an intimate look into what, or better who, is left behind. There is limited dialogue; instead, it is more of a monolog of internal thoughts.

 I felt that Claire's chapter gave the reader information about who Sarah was and her place in their world. Whereas, Colin's chapters are more focused on his grief and how he is coping with the sudden disappearance of his girlfriend - a disappearance that he was questioned in.

This is Sarah is an interesting story, though I did not feel very engaged in it. I think I only kept reading to see if there would be answers to Sarah's disappearance in the end. I realized that was what was keeping me reading when I read Colin's thought.
Or maybe, to be really honest, I wanted to skip ahead all of this, to the end of this story when I know the truth, so I could finally start to heal. 
I never really felt an emotional connection to the characters, which seems odd given the story is focused on emotions.

I felt like the reader was left hanging at the end as to how things went for Claire. At first , I was confused as to why there was so much about Claire in the book if there wasn't going to be some conclusion, but then I thought her role was to give us insight into Sarah since Colin was so wrapped up in his anger and grief that Sarah was "perfect". But as the story is a reflection on grief and not everyone is going to be healed from something like a sister going missing, maybe it is more realistic to leave Claire's ending less tidy.

This lack of wrapping up Claire's story gave the ending a bit of a rushed feeling, though Colin's epiphany felt plausible and natural.

Like I said, it was an interesting look into the grief process. I applaud Malinenko for going against convention of a missing persons story and focusing only on those left behind.

Buy This is Sarah at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.


  1. Based on your review, it sounds like the reader would be just an observer of the story rather than being engaged in the story.

  2. Too bad that this one was disappointing, as it could have been great. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “THE SLEEPWALKER”

  3. It sounds like a very different twist to a missing person's story. A shame it was disappointing. Here's my link for today's intro and teaser:

  4. I am sorry this one wasn't better for you. Many of the recent missing person novels I have read seem to focus on the family left behind quite a bit and their grief process, while the the mystery surrounding the disappearance takes a back seat. I wonder if that's the current trend then. I do like the intro you shared at least. :-)

  5. I don't read much YA but, I hope u enjoy this one.