Review: Sarah by Teri Polen


Published by Black Rose Writing

4 stars


Seventeen-year-old horror fan Cain Shannon thought helping a ghost find her killers would be the supernatural adventure of a lifetime. Now, he just hopes to survive long enough to protect his family and friends from her.

A bet between friends goes horribly wrong, resulting in Sarah’s death. When she returns to seek justice against those responsible, Cain agrees to help her. But when he discovers Sarah has been hijacking his body, he realizes she wants retribution instead of justice.

Terrified of what could have happened when he wasn’t in control, Cain commands Sarah to leave his house – but exorcising her isn’t that easy. She retaliates against her murderers in bloody, horrific ways, each death making her stronger, then sets her sights on Cain. With the help of friends, Cain fights to save himself and his loved ones and searches for a way to stop Sarah before she kills again.

This is a wonderful YA horror, I’m glad I gave it a chance despite my general aversion to YA titles.

It’s everything you could hope for in a teen haunting story – Cain, a likable highschool student. He’s a talented soccer (heh. American.) player, cares deeply for his family following the death of his father and is just trying to do the right thing while navigating this crazy world.
The last thing he needs is for a ghost girl to start walking down the stairs from the attic and make herself at home in his bedroom. Obviously, that’s exactly what happens and he has to figure out exactly what her story is and why she’s still wandering the earth.

The writing is really atmospheric and spooky, the tension definitely sends chills down your spine the closer you get to the end of the book – the beginning is a little bit tame so I was starting to wonder where the author was going to go with the second half… I needn’t have worried! It gets darker and hangs on to you tightly.
I loved the story – it was missing some of the really dark elements that you would have expected in an adult horror (like the nature of ghosts etc.) but sometimes you just have to enjoy something for what it is!
The only thing that did bother me was how teenage girls were portrayed, on one hand you had the vacuous, hideously selfish popularity queen who would go out with any boy who could enhance her social standing and then on the other side of the spectrum you had the ‘cool girl’. The one who enjoys sports, plays a classical instrument, is ‘different from all the other girls’ and automatically believes anything the boy has to say about ghosts haunting his bedroom. Given that Cain himself is so middle of the road, the author is capable of writing characters that aren’t just highschool stereotypes.
So, gender politics aside, this really is a book worth picking up if you’re a fan of ghost stories with a nasty edge.

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