This Is Sarah
Author: Ally Malinenko
Release Date: Summer 2014
Publisher: Bookfish Books
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.
From the Journal of Claire Evans
High School Sophomore
I quit the band today.
Mr. Denshaw didn’t even try to stop me… like it didn’t even matter. And I guess it doesn’t. I wasn’t first chair or anything. I was just another lone clarinet adding to all that noise. It’s not like anyone could hear anything I did. It’s not like it mattered. I told him that I wouldn’t be able to play anymore and that I was sorry but he just sort of nodded his head and adjusted his glasses. He looked everywhere but at me. People do that a lot now. Like if they look me in the eye they’re going to catch my family’s bad luck.
Bad luck. That’s a way to put it, Claire. Your whole family has exploded and you call it Bad Luck.
Anyway, I quit band and had to hand in my clarinet because it was on loan and my parent’s hadn’t paid the whole thing off yet. If I’m gonna be totally honest (and why not? It is my stupid journal) I guess I was sort glad to get rid of it because every time that case was in my hand, I just thought about that moment sitting in Colin’s mom’s car and her telling me that Sarah was gone.
That my sister got in her car and drove off and no one knows what happened next.
It was like I couldn’t separate the instrument from my sister.
That last night, at dinner, before she went to meet Jenna, that was when she told me band was for dorks.
You were right, Sarah. I don’t want to be a dork anymore. I want to be whatever it was that you were going to be before…whatever happened.
There’s a party at the lake tomorrow. I keep wondering if Colin is going to be there. I want to see him so badly.
My parents are fighting again. All they ever do is fight. Like they have to keep attacking each other to keep the pain of missing Sarah away.
Man, keeping a journal is hard. It’s like I don’t even know what to say. I even feel self-conscious writing a journal. How sad is that? Sarah kept a journal for years. It probably holds every single secret about her. My mother read it when she went missing. They had to give it to the police in case there was anything in there that would help them find her.
Sarah wouldn’t have been self-conscious. I bet her whole journal is about her and Colin and acting and stuff. I bet it’s funny and smart like Sarah.
Basically the opposite of me. If awkward had a baby, it would be me.
About the Author
Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collection The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press) and the children's fantasy Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband.