Thursday, 17 August 2017


This Is Sarah is the debut novel from writer and poet, Ally Malinenko. A duel protagonist narrative about the titular Sarah. A teenage girl from a small town in Colorado, who goes missing. The duel protagonists are Sarah's next door neighbour, and boyfriend, Colin, and her younger sister, Claire. The story follows the year in their lives after her disappearance, and how they each deal with the pain of their loss, and the frustration of not having any tangible answers about what happened.

I wasn't too sure what to expect when I picked this book up. I partially expected a lighthearted YA mystery, where the heartbroken boyfriend and the plucky younger sister team up to uncover the mystery of Sarah's disappearance, Paper Towns-style. However, this is not that. At all. Sarah is no Pixie McQuirkyname and there is no intricate trail of breadcrumbs that lead to her whereabouts. She is gone. Taken. Probably murdered. She has left a gaping hole in a lot of lives, and nobody really knows how the fuck to deal with that. This is a character study. A study in love, loss and the absolute kick in the bollocks that is ambiguous grief.

There are not many books that truly hook me, and force me to keep reading when I know I should be going to sleep, but this was one of them. I have always hated the term "page turner", because I so rarely come across them, but This Is Sarah is one of them. 100%. A gripping story, about everyday people, attempting to deal with a fucked up situation. Highly recommended. Before this, I had only ever read Ally Malinenko's poetry, but I will now be awaiting her next novel with bated breath.

Follow Ally on Twitter @AllyMalinenko      

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