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.
“Sarah is a YA Horror/Thriller with a vengeful ghost which just might leave you sleeping with the light on.” – Rosie Amber, Goodreads Top 1% book reviewer
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 65 members
There is Cain, soccer player and quite normal teenage boy, Finn, his loyal friend and Erin, the shallow cheerleader girlfriend. Life is good for Cain, the only thing he wants to get rid of is Erin, but he can't find the courage to break up with her. After Cain and his family moved to a new house, after his father died, his quiet life is going to change dramatically. Cain finds out that there is the ghost of a murdered teenage girl living in the attic. This could be interesting and exciting if the ghost wasn't so malicious and vindictive. Sarah, the murdered girl, wants revenge on the three boys responsible for her death, And she will get them, whatever it takes. I loved this story, it was all I want in a book and I couldn't put it down. It was creepy, but my heart broke for Sarah and what those boys did to her. They needed to be punished. Maybe not the way she had in mind and she went too far, when she wanted to kill both Cain and Finn. I barely had time to breath, things just happened without giving me a break and my heart stopped when Sarah had Cain alone in the house and there was no way to stop her. What? No happy ending? Yeah, well, this is no love story, I know that, still... Then it seems that everything is going to be alright. Help is on the way and the evil is banished. Again....hopefully. I sigh in relieve. Epilogue...this use to be the happy ending part in books, right? BAM! What did I think?! In horror books there are no happy endings. All I can say: Read it! It's worth it, you'll not gonna be disappointed. ***I received a copy of the book via NetGally in exchange for a fair review***
I'm not usually tempted by young adult novels, but once I saw the cover and title of the book... I had to read this one. It's definitely written in a young adult manner, but I think horror fans in general will still enjoy it. It's a good old fashioned ghost story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I burned right though it in one sitting. I loved the dynamic between the main character and his friends. They rag on each other the way good friends always seem to do. It really helps you become immersed in the story, because you can clearly imagine them in your head. The way Sarah is described gets pretty chilling, as well. Cain is a fairly normal seventeen year old kid. He rules the soccer field, loves horror movies, and cares deeply about his mother and little sister. His dad has passed, and he helps his mother and cares for little sister without complaint. His only problem in the beginning of the book is his girlfriend. Vapid and controlling, he wants to break up with her but doesn't want to hurt her feelings. That little problem soon pales in comparison when strange things start happening at his house. The attic door in his bedroom is opening by itself. His cat is jumpy. The temperature keeps fluctuating. It's up to Cain and best friend Finn to figure out what's going on... and soon Lindsey, who seems to make a much better girlfriend for Cain than the previous. Sarah is the ghost in the attic, and she's not going to stay there. There was so much I liked about this book. The realistic ribbing between friends. The dark humor combined with the strong undercurrent that you need to do what is right. Eby. (This is the black cat I immediately had a soft spot for, as I'm owned by a "fluffy" black rescue myself.) Oh, and that ending! I was permitted to read an ARC of this book from Net Galley and Black Rose Writing, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
I must admit that when I requested a review copy of this I didn’t know if it was just going to be average, or much better, and thankfully it fell into the much better than I was expecting category. For those who like their horror stories fast paced then you may be put off a bit here as this follows a more sedate pace, which does work really well with this story. Here we meet seventeen year old Cain and his family, mum and little sister. The father has unfortunately passed away due to an accident, and to make a new start so the rest of the family have moved to a new home, which mum, who is a realtor got a good deal on. But is there a reason for this? When Cain’s friend, Finn is over so they find that the door leading to the attic keeps opening and there is a very cold draught coming through. As we are soon to find out, an incident happened in the house whilst it was being built and Sarah, a girl who died in this incident is haunting the place, wanting revenge on those who caused her demise. With elements of the ghost being more akin to Japanese horror tales this does make for a good read, and we see how the unrest of this spirit causes trouble as she leeches energy from Cain. Trying to keep others alive as well as himself Cain, with the help of Finn and his new girlfriend are set out on a course they will never forget. I like the fact that although there are nasty deaths here you read of them by the way of Sarah, and thus not all of the sequences which gives this a slightly more unearthly feel. There are some twists and turns here and this is written a bit more intelligently than some horror tales, with a good ending and quite a bit of suspense. I think this is Teri Polen’s first novel, but with this she has shown that we will probably hear a lot more from her in the future. I was very kindly provided with a free review copy of this by the publishers via NetGalley for reviewing purposes.
Teri Polen's Sarah is a pleasingly creepy young adult horror. Fans of Supernatural will be delighted with this book. If you've ever watched any of those typical high-school rom-coms/dramas where guys make a bet to trick a girl, and boo'd at the screen, you'll enjoy Sarah. It's a twisted take on a classic plot that will make horror fans cheer. This is the version they were waiting on. Cain and his best friend Finn are good kids that both have their heads screwed on straight. Cain took on a lot of responsibility after his dad's death, and that definitely made him grow up a bit. Finn, too, has had his share of problems. They could be the male version of Mary-Sues, if Polen hadn't written in some believable flaws. But they're not perfect, and that makes all the difference. Quick tempers, wicked tongues, and Finn's desire to needle every one around him means that at any given time, someone's probably thinking about punching him. Or Cain. Or both. The rest of the characters are appropriately likable or detestable. Except for Lindsay. She's a bit of a non-entity. I liked that the author made a few salient points in Sarah about the mindset towards sexual assault. There was more than one conversation or interaction when I just sat back in my chair and sighed after reading it. It was utterly realistic. Teenagers are, as a rule of thumb, very selfish individuals, and it seems like jocks in particular excel in this. They think they can get away with anything, and/or that the world revolves around them. It's behavior that's either never corrected, or not corrected until it's too late. Hasn't recent events proven that if a boy can score several touchdowns per game, who cares how many girls he assaults, right? We all know they were asking for it anyways. Or if adult males make enough money, they can do anything they want to girls, because they believe they are more important than the girls are. And these types of beliefs are constantly getting reinforced in today's society. It's disturbing and disgusting and Teri Polen shows the reader a path to douchehood that hundreds of young men start down every day. I did, however, have one huge problem with Sarah. Sarah, herself. Well, her dialogue to be specific. For the most part, I liked her. I liked seeing the change. I puzzled over what, exactly, was going on with her. Yes, I thought she was vengeance-crazed ghost thing, but she was a fun vengeance-crazed ghost thing. Until she opened her mouth. Pretty much every time she started talking, it was like someone just hit the 'off' button on my interest in the story. I understand that her background means that we could expect a certain amount of dialogue that seemed unusual for her age range. I was fully willing to accept that. But Sarah presented with lines that went between disturbingly formal and super-villain monologue. Luckily, her talkative scenes appear in bursts, so for most of the story it's really not an issue. Sarah is a book that takes a bit to get going, but overall it's an easy, enjoyably creepy read. I was definitely hooked fairly early on, and read the book in two bursts over two days. It comes in at just under 200 pages, so it's not something that demands a lot of your time. If you like horror, but don't like it too gory or scary, this will probably be a great choice. Teri Polen did a pretty solid job.
“Sarah” was a decent teen/YA read aimed at younger teens, or kids 12+. The main thread of the plot surrounded a teenage boy who was a top player on his high school football (team) who ends up dating a popular girl he doesn’t really like and struggles to dump her. At the same time Cain doesn’t realise that his house is haunted and soon the presence of the ghost girl begins to make Cain do strange things and twists the story into some entertaining directions. It was a decent but slightly unchallenging ghost story which was a bit lightweight if compared to more complex YA horror writers, who layer their writing and avoid all the standard high school stuff which threads through this novel. It’s got some creepy moments and when the ghost begins to have a bigger part there are some very good sequences. It’s unlikely to challenge older teens who would probably be ready for proper adult horror, but it’s a step up from the likes of RL Stine, so a perfectly satisfactory read for 11-13 year olds. Being a UK reader I do find it funny reading about Yanks and their “soccer” matches!
A great thriller for older students and adults alike. Leaves you wondering what will happen in the next book should there be one. I enjoyed the characters in the story as they were accurate portrayals of your average teen. A well written horror story that kept me engaged.
I read this book in exchange for an honest review, thanks to NetGalley.com and Black Rose Publishing. Ah, Sarah. Where do I start? The basics would be best. Sarah, a rather rude ghost who apparently doesn't understand common courtesy in regards to being in someone's house, becomes a seventeen-year-old male named Cain Shannon for periods of time and proceeds to ruin everyone's lives. The end. No, I'm kidding, but that description was oddly enough somewhat true. Throughout the story, Sarah does inhabit Cain, causing memory lapses whilst she goes gallivanting on her own adventures through his body. This story has a few upsides and downsides with I've elaborated on in my blog (https://weetbooks.wordpress.com), but in general, it's a satisfactory book.
This book is awesome. I reviewed on Amazon under the name vamptrefil. Heading of spookily awesome. Thanks so much for letting me read it.
I absolutely loved this book, it grabbed me from the start and built the suspense to a great finish. The theme is basically, what would you do if there was a ghostly presence in your house hell bent on revenge? The book is aimed I feel, at young adults but perfect for adults as well, it would also make a great movie.
A superb read. Couldn't put it down. I loved it. Good easy reading.
Insidious meets Paranormal Activity! I really enjoyed this YA book. I was hooked from the beginning as the characters were believable and well-developed. This was a story about ordinary teens in a paranormal situation and it worked fantastically. I did not see the twist around 50% of the way through. This was due to the clever writing of Polen and it revived my interest in the book. The whole book kept me on my toes throughout and that is a big plus in my book.
Review: SARAH by Teri Polen SARAH had me turning pages so rapidly, I'm surprised the Kindles didn't ignite. It's an emotional roller coaster wrapped tautly in some really frightening manifestations. The "good guy" characters are appealing and heartwarming. The "jerk" characters (excepting the "ghost") are less evil than self-centered, narcissistic, selfish, and emotionally blind. Now the ghost: she's in a category by herself, and believe me, she's carved out her own niche and fully fills it. There's gore, but not for its own sake. There's a good helping of medieval morality play here too: do somebody wrong, you will pay, maximally. SARAH was a one-sitting read for me, and I enjoyed it immensely. But I'm thankful it was a daytime read.
Imagine a Supernatural episode retold in the form of a teenage boy and his best friend Finn. It made me laugh at the banter between the two because it reminded me of Sam and Dean Winchester and what they could have been like as teenagers but with a different background story. That being said.....it should not have been like that. Did I enjoy the story? Yes, but for reasons outside of the book. It needed to be original. It had it's moments, don't get me wrong, but it needed more. For instance instead of Sara revealing her sins/murders to Cain by telling him, she should have forced visions into his mind. This would force Cain to relive the gruesome scenes in greater details and it would have added a new level of suspense to the novel. There were several more opportunities outside of that specific one where suspense could have been added. Instead, we are only told what transpires instead of witnessing it in our minds. Should there be a sequel? Absolutely, but there needs to be more suspense!
High School soccer star Cain has recently lost his father. He already has a hard time with the usual struggles of being a teenager, and trying to help out his mom cope with her husband's passing, as well as adjusting to living in a new house. Weird things start happening in the house, though. Paranormal things- rooms get cold, doors open and close, and soon Cain discovers the reason- there's a ghost of a teenage girl living in the house, who lost her life as a result of some cruel teenage boys. Cain and his friend Finn discover that the ghost, Sarah, wants some help in getting back at those boys. They feel sorry for her and want to help. But as they are drawn in by Sarah, she grows in power and they discover that she wants more from them. She wants revenge. The author builds a great story, full of creepy atmosphere, the kind that makes you toss in your sleep after reading it. The suspense builds up well, and I was really drawn into the story. There are two things going on here- a scary and suspenseful ghost story, with a vengeful ghost and grisly elements. Also, there is a Young Adult morality tale about shallow youth culture and especially the way in which young star athletes are glorified and puffed up and how much of their bad behavior is swept under the rug, and how young females who adore them are often abused and discarded in their wake. This moral element to the novel never comes across as preachy, but is woven expertly into the story, and leaves you thinking about the story long after the book is over, which is a rare feat. I had a hard time with the young adult dialogue, but that is only because it is real. Young adults are often shallow and self-absorbed and don't consider the consequences of what they do. Also, the teens here don't reach out for help until things have reached spilled over and reached a crisis, which is also typical teenage behavior. However, this time they are called to account, and its a great read. The novel ends with things not completely resolved, so perhaps a sequel is to follow. . ? Thanks NetGalley for the advance copy for review.
This book left me quite conflicted at how to rate it in the end. It's a Young Adult creepy ghostly story and it started off with really holding my interest. I could see where the plot was going early but sadly felt this book really feel flat and slow in the middle, for a long time. I was page-flicking and paragraph skipping. It was repetitive and predicable. Then the last third blew my socks off! It was as though another author had taken over. The book got a lot darker, it had much more excitement in it and some really well written scenes. If only the whole book had been written even close to this level it would have been a five star read. The first two-thirds of the book were not the least bit scary but the latter, whoa! Really great stuff! I loved the twist at the end a LOT. An interesting read that would no doubt appeal to YA readers of light horror and ghostly tales. Take a walk on the dark side with Sarah by Teri Polen. Disappointing that a good chunk of the book had me nearly give up however. 3 stars from me.
So what pulled me to this book was first off the cover, it just screams creepy and PICK ME UP. Second after reading the blurb I knew I needed to see if it was going to be as good as it seemed. Now if you are easily afraid then this might not be the book for you. If you like a good ghost story with a mystery behind it, then pick this book up. So this story is told through the p.o.v. being a teenage boy. Cain is a young teenager who has taken up the responsibility of taking care of his sister which I love how he reads to her every night, and his mom. Cain lives in a house where out of the blue his attic door opens and he feels a rush of cold air. Well we all know what that means. Though not only does he need to figure out what is going on with all the creepy stuffy he has a girlfriend who is a big snob. You can just tell that won't last long. With the help of his best friend Finn he starts looking into why his house maybe haunted and by who. When Cain finds out what exactly happened to Sarah he believes that they have to come clean but will they? As time goes on it seems that Sarah who is the ghost is getting powerful, maybe even powerful enough to take matters into her own hands. The way she died hands has you going oh man, justice needed to be served. I have to say that Finn was my favorite character. With this witty humor and willingness to take care of his best friend he was pretty cool in my book. Not much else I can say on this book except that if you like ghost stories, pick this book up. I think this is a good read for maybe the older teenagers on up. I really like this author's writing that I will be looking for more of her work.
I loved this book so happy I got to read it. Well written and sort of creepy. A must read.
The book was well written with really great descriptions of the house that is in the story. The author introduces the reader to the main character as she is taking care of a fellow person's house. Once she settles into the house, she takes advantage of all the horror novels that she has written and explores the old mansion. She begins to hear noises throughout the night, not knowing where they are coming from. The author does a great job leading up to the plot twist, however, the author finishes the book so fast that it leaves you wanting more and not the good kind wanting more. I don't wanna ruin the twist, read the book!.
In all honesty, I wasn't expecting much when originally going into this book, however, I was surprised how quickly I made it through it. I've been let down by YA horror stories before. The author did take an amazingly straightforward stance on sexual assault and included a sort of intriguing (but still predicatable) mystery. However, a lot of the dialogue felt unnatural and choppy, and the characters? I either adored them or completely hated them. My biggest problem with the story was that there weren't any time during which I actually felt... scared. It may be that I've just played so many horror games or watched so many horror movies that I've sort of become immune to horror aspects, but when I read this I was in the mood to be scared out of my pants and that never really happened. Overall, it wasn't a HORRIBLE book, just not what I was expecting.
Spectacularly creepy!! "Sarah" by Teri Polen is one of the scariest books I have read in quite awhile, and I loved every minute of it! Sometimes it seems like the market is saturated with wanna-be horror masters, but Teri Polen has the potential to be one of the greats!
I was really excited to read this book, because I really want more YA horror/thriller/suspense/scary books, but this one was a little hampered by some horror cliche's and boring plots that plain ole weren't scary. That said, it definitely perked up when the supernatural stuff was going down. Not my favorite, but not the worst of the growing subgenre.
In Teri Polen's Young Adult horror novel Sarah we have the type of horror that is steeped in the emotions of teens yet interestingly stretches into adult horror often. Sarah is a ghost story and of course ghost stories are popular with all ages. Yet this one deftly merges mature topics with a tight horror tale and more than a taste of violence. Cain is what most would consider a good guy . He is the captain of the soccer team and his head is on fairly straight, partially thanks to his BFF Finn who has no problem telling him when he is screwing up. The latest problem is with Cain's girl friend who is clearly using him and Finn doesn't waste words in telling Cain that. That may be why Cain doesn't pay much attention to strange things like cold breezes and creaking doors in his family's new house. At least not at first. He discovers a girl named Sarah was killed in the house while it was being built. Sarah is angry over her death and Cain wants to help her resolve it and move on. But when that help include taking possession of his body and planning gruesome deaths of her killers , Cain tries to stop it which only puts his friends and family at risk too. From there on, it gets pretty scary. I would think this book might be too intense for younger children. 12 and up would be OK...I think. But regardless of the quibbling on the age level, Teri Polen has written one of the better YA horror novels in the past few years. Cain is totally likeable and believable. His hesitation on the number of things feels quite right as does his friend Finn who is the best advice giver even if he doesn't take it that well himself. There is a new girl friend and a cute little sister that add more dimension to the story. Cain's mother seems a bit thin. She is just there because he needs a mother. But the main characters are perfect for tangling with the spirit of Sarah as her true intentions starts to show. Actually, Sarah is the real highlight of the story. we feels for her because of the circumstances of her death,. Yet the author reveal her growing evilness so nicely that she truly become a figure of horror. As her powers grow, so does the terror. This is one book to keep the lights on while reading, especially if you are a teen. Sarah is well worth reading for both teens and adults. In a way it is a fairly common ghost story with possession throw in. Yet the combination of teen issues with the constant twists and turns raises it above the usual. This is a good book for your teen who think Goosebumps is old-fashioned. And if you really want to have fun wait until night when he or she is about two-thirds done than flip the main power switch off. Mean maybe but ...
I was forced to take a break from this book right after they burned Sarah's body, for the next half hour i spent my time thinking if this book ends with them getting rid of her and everything going back to normal I'm going to be mad! At that point I was actually thinking I had wasted my time on this story but then when i came back and read the last few chapters!!! YES that was exactly what i was hoping for! I can see why Cain and Finn were trying to stop Sarah from hurting anyone, but COME ON if any of them boys deserved to die it was Jacob!!! He showed no remorse at all, he didn't learn anything from what happened that night, how long until he got up the courage to do it again and hurt someone else!? and worse what if that time what was planned actually worked out !? There was no way around it, the boy deserved to die, and who better to do it but the girl he killed! That was definitely a spooky little read, It might be a novel for a younger generation, but even in my old age I enjoyed reading it! I liked Cain and Finn a lot, I love the way they go back and forth at each other but when needed Finn is right there at his side ready to help out with his family. I also love both of their names! If you like ghost stories, be sure to give this one a read!
4/5 rating. Maybe even 3.5. I prefer horror movies over horror novels, but I decided to give this one a try. "Sarah", in all honesty, wasn't anything very unique or different. A boy finds out that he has a ghost in his house, tries to help her with her "unfinished business". She turns out to be a not-so-friendly ghost who's main goal is murdering her murderers. No surprise there. Sarah was a very talkative ghost. I found that it made her less terrifying. She told the main character everything that happened to her, what she had done, etc. While some parts of her descriptions were genuinely scary, I prefer my ghosts evil plotting to stay at a minimum for maximum suspense. I liked the characters in the story, but it is told in first person which is my least favorite writing style. If it is written well, especially in a horror novel, it can work perfectly. In this case, I think it was okay. Some parts worked better than others. Overall I did enjoy it, and I finished it in one sitting. The writing style and general creepiness reminded me of Diary of a Haunting, which I would recommend to anyone who enjoyed this book. This review is also posted on my good reads page, and can be found at: www.goodreads.com/user/show/51808005-emily
This story is about a teen-age boy who discovers a restless spirit/ghost living in his attic. Although he initially thinks the ghost wants his help, he quickly realizes that the spirit of Sarah wants vengeance against the people that she holds responsible for her death. Cain tries to stop her murderous rampage but falls short in saving those she is after. Because of his attempt to put her spirit back in the spirit world, Sarah is now intent on hurting him and his family and friends. With the help of his girlfriend’s aunt, they manage to put a stop to her hateful acts....or do they? Geared toward the YA audience, this book is written from a teen-aged perspective, but I still found it a decent read. It has your paranormal elements of a haunting, a ghost out for revenge, possession and a little witchcraft thrown in. The story moved along at a decent pace and kept me interested throughout the entire story. Interesting characters, good plot and well written. **I received a digital copy courtesy of Net Galley for reviewing purposes**
WOW! I am a HUGE horror fan, but often books fall so short of the mark. I actually had to read this with all the lights on. I got goosebumps and jumped at little noises! It was exquisite. I cannot offer enough praise for this spine chilling tale!
First of all, the Harry Potter references make my heart smile. Now, back to the story. This was a well written book with easily relateable characters whom you can't help but root for. The story flowed well and I wanted to read quicker to see how it ended. It was suspenseful, but I wouldn't call it scary. Thank you to NetGalley for my copy of this novel.
Thank you. Enjoyed it. Will purchase copies for family and friends.
I enjoyed this YA novel. Well developed characters, strong story line, and enough twists, turns and surprises to keep you turning page after page. I think young adults as well as adults will enjoy this book! Great job!
This book is definitely has scared the shit out of me that I have to take quite some time finish reading this. The writing is all precisely. It's a story about a ghost name Sarah who is full of vengeance to revenge three guys who have actually responsible to what has happen to her and there is Cain. Cain who happen to live in a house where Sarah been murdered and he start seeing her right from the attic in her room, which she wants to communicate with him. This is when everything started to fall into a dangerous hole. The plot line right from the start to the middle is good but when it comes to almost end of the books, which at the critical level everything start to get a little bit messy and fast. All in all, it's quite an interesting story if you're a fan of horror story. Anyway, it just in the epilogue of the story I got a little bit confuse.
A nice horror novel, ghosts, amulets and murder and an adorable cat with a 6th sense and a big personality. What more could you need?
What a creepy little book! I'll start with what I liked about Sarah - the creep factor. I applaud the author's imagination and ability to gross me out. This is not an easy task to do especially since I watch lots of gore films and have read many horror books in the past. I cringed more than once during certain scenes. Sadly, those were the only redeeming qualities of the book. The main character was pretty naive throughout the book, even at the very end. The peripheral characters were irresponsible and naive as well causing me to think that they did not fully understand the severity of the situation. The main romantic relationship featured was rushed and it felt forced.
This is a very creepy ghost story/horror novel that would definitely appeal to a YA audience. I found the friend, Finn very annoying, but otherwise this was a tense, enjoyable read. The action built to a scary climax with a satisfying last twist.
This book is a phenomenal sorry from word one. Creepy, with a hint of chic lit. Loved it!
Fun quick read for the YA horror loving set. I blew through this in one sitting. Fun story with a few good scares that younger audiences will enjoy.
Cain witnesses a number of creepy inexplicable occurrences in his bedroom and the attic storage space above it. When he finds out that his house was linked to the disappearance of a student from his school, he suspects his home might be haunted but doesn't count on the vengeance that ensues. This YA horror thriller did some things very well, such as, the atmospheric haunting of Cain's room, depicting his relationship with Finn, his bestfriend, and his relationship with his younger sister, Maddie and his Mum. However, I found the pace variable throughout and the story a little repetitive, but the book ended on a cliffhanger and I am intrigued enough to pick up the next instalment if there is one in this series. A haunting read.
I feel very conflicted about this YA novel so please bear with me as I try to explain why! The positives first. The plot is very interesting and well thought out. Although not entirely original it isn't your run of the mill haunted house story either. The main characters are well rounded and sympathetic. They each have a strong voice and are relatable. The author is very good at creating tension and does not shy away from scary/unsettling images. The narration and pace of the story feels perfect for a young adult book - no slow enough to be condescending but with simple sentence structures and short chapters that will help to encourage reluctant or not so confident readers to stick with it. I would certainly use this book in my teaching role for my higher level students - adults that struggle with literacy and/or have slight learning difficulties. The messages that this story carries are important ones. The main message is especially vital for both male and female readers. Now for the negative's. There is rather a lot of repetition in the story. Not just parts of the back story but actual sentences in a couple of instances. This did grow to be tiresome and, had I read this aged fourteen I would have felt the same way. Unfortunately this did tend to slow the story down at times. Reading the exact same joke from four chapters ago isn't great. The book centres on one character and what happened to her. I felt that the sudden shift in her personality was rushed. More time should have been taken to really understand her and what happened to her. The fact that she is automatically disbelieved is not great. It's a VERY sensitive subject and to have the rest of the characters do that could easily lodge the idea, in some young people's heads, that they would also be treated with scepticism. A few times throughout the story there were errors. Mostly continuation errors but a couple of glaring mistakes. For example, two of the characters are playing a video game. Fallout 4. In the story one of the characters 'gets the guy' of the other. Fallout 4 is not a multiplayer game, a friend cannot 'get' you in any way. Yes, a small thing but hugely annoying when you know that it is wrong. As Fallout 4 is such a popular game this will not go unnoticed by many young adults! The ending did feel rather rushed. An extra chapter or two to explain what happened and to explore the feelings of the characters properly would have been nice. So yes, this is an extremely mixed review. Most of the negative's are small and I would have given another star if not for the slightly mixed message surrounding the title character - I was disappointed with that. The author is obviously very talented and writes perfectly for the YA market. Just a little more time and care would have made it awesome.
sarah by Teri Polen. 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. absolutely fantastic read with fantastic characters. hooked from page 1. I was reading this with all the lights on. so spooky. highly recommended. 5*. netgalley and black rose writing.
Thank you NetGalley for lending me this book for an honest review! What a great read, with some wonderful surprises to boot. The three main characters are wonderfully loyal to each other and have a great relationship. I loved how that was highlighted in the book and loved how the main character treated his family and friends with respect. This was a great, fast paced, easy to read book and the ghost story part was pretty freaky. The suspense was built up pretty quickly and well played out. I would recommend this book to anyone and would read more by this author! Solid 4 stars!
Well tbh I didn't find this book that scary until towards the end! Then it got real scary ahah the twist was amazing and in all it was worth waiting for, started off strong but lacked depth I thought in the middle then the end got going and boom there you are!.....I enjoyed the book quite a lot though and would read more by the author, reminded me of a cross between Blair with and that creepy ring character oh and the kid that sees dead things!!!!....in all not a bad read not too unrealistic just right.
‘Sarah’ is an interesting novel as it is written for the young adult fiction market. It is centred around Cain, the normal high school jock who is a bit deeper than the run of the mill. His best friend Liam who is the quirky best friend and the mother and sister family unit rounding out the central characters. There is also the airhead materialistic girlfriend and the more suited friend who is more suited for the main character. The book starts out innocently enough with Cain leading his life in his typical fashion when something starts to go amiss. Polen builds her plotting very well and she has really done a superior job with her characterisations and action. The action moves at a reasonably good pace keeping the reader engaged. The book kept my interest and I was eager to see how everything plays out. As you continue reading the rather well done haunting thriller, the story starts to take a turn that made me feel uncomfortable. This was not due to the haunting aspect or the violence that soon ensures. It had to do with the victimisation of Sarah and the almost justification of the crimes that were permitted against her. I personally felt that the author missed the ball on this and should have made Sarah more sympathetic considering what she had to endure which caused her premature death. The retribution which is the result of this injustice is turned inward to provide a killing machine hinged on revenge no matter what. With the main characters protecting the perpetrators of the original crime and not a real sense of the wrong in which they initially committed, this left me feeling that what they did was not necessarily wrong. With the added character of Lindsey, I felt that she could have rounded out the story to give a woman’s perspective to the crime. This aspect sat really uneasy with me. This may be due to the fact that this is written for a specific market and felt this issue could have been better handled. The story is well written though there are some cultural references that should have been better investigated such as Fallout 4 reference which is not a multiplatform game and the young adult market would know this. The usage of the term ‘Dude’ from time to time as this places the characters in a time warp from the 90’s instead of the millennials in which they are. These are very small critiques in the overall effect of the novel. The story is well written and although repetition sometimes overshadow the original writing style this novel is a winner and it delivers on so many more aspects than some of the contemporaries out there at present time. The characters are very likable and their interrelationships help carry the plot to their horror conclusion. The characters are written to the effect that you truly care about their outcome and Teri Polen has really shown her true style in producing and materialising these to make them real and fleshed out. The overall haunting aspects are very well done and handled masterfully and the tension is built brilliantly. The Sarah character from her metamorphosis into the horror she is to become is described in absolute detail and lifts off the page. Teri Polen looks like an author to look out for and could be very interesting from this new voice. Overall, this is well worth the read but as stated below, the reasoning behind the crime that was committed has left me feeling a bit anxious on how this will play to a younger audience. If it wasn’t for this aspect I would have rated this five stars but due to personal conflict about this issue I have rated this a 3.5 star rating.
I have to admit the cover of this book immediately caught my attention. It was creepy and fit perfect for a horror story. The plot is carried out pretty much like your standard paranormal tale. It's done well, keeping the reader entertained and engaged. I found myself on the edge of my seat once of twice, ok several times. Sarah is one of those conflicting antagonists that you feel bad for yet still want to see defeated. Her story could have been ripped straight from the current news headlines, which makes it feel more real in a way. Cain was a good hero. I like how even though he was a jock, captain of the soccer team, he wasn't really high on the social ladder making him more relatable. I was conflicted about the romance angle though. He whined through half the book that he didn't like his current girlfriend, while flirting with another girl, yet didn't want to hurt her feeling by breaking up with her. Yet he was making dates with the other girl. In my opinion this was un-needed the whole thing only gave us one plot point, and lowered the character in my eyes. Despite this little issue the overall plot and characters were wonderful. I really enjoyed this book and would like to see more from this author.
I had a really hard time with this book- it took me literally forever to finish yet wasn't a bad book. The story follows a couple of friends who are haunted by a ghost, Sarah. They set out to verify whether the story of Sarah's murder is true and to find her body so that they can properly dispose of it and she can move on into the afterlife. All in all, not a bad plot for a story. Yet there wasn't quite enough mystery and excitement to keep me hooked. This book definitely had some creepy moments. It's a good horror/thriller perfectly suited for the 14-19 age range. Reading it in bed at night was probably not the smartest move because it definitely creeped me out- props to the author there. The characters in this story are all decently likable or decently hatable. There weren't any super strong characters but they weren't weak either. If I were a few years younger I would have liked the fact that all of the characters were teenagers, but as I'm not a few years younger I didn't really enjoy that all that much. Would have liked the characters to be either a few years older or younger- college age actually seems more appropriate to the story anyways. The writing in this book was decent. It wasn't the most polished writing that I've ever read but it was certainly readable and didn't annoy me. Overall, I don't know why I really struggled to finish this book. Everything about this book is decent- the writing, the plot, the characters. Yet, I just had a hard time picking it back up once I put it down. I probably won't read anything else by this author but that isn't to say that you shouldn't give this book a try. If you're into mild horror stories that star teenage characters, you will certainly enjoy this book. I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
After losing his dad Cain moves into a new house with his mother and his younger sister. His mom is a realtor, so she got a great deal on this house. The door to the attic is in Cain's bedroom and soon after moving in strange things are starting to happen. Doors are opening by themselves, temperatures suddenly drop and stuff is moving on its own. Cain decides to investigate by setting up a video camera and the results are shocking. Can he find out what needs to be done to restore the peace in his home? Sarah was a girl who went to the same school as Cain. He never really knew her, but he did know that she disappeared a while ago. Her body was never found and the police weren't able to find out what happened to her. Cain has a pretty good idea now that he knows that Sarah's ghost is living in his attic. Cain and his best friend Finn are trying to help Sarah to get justice. They discover that a bet went wrong in a horrible way, which ended with Sarah passing away. When Cain realizes that he's blacking out he fears that Sarah has been taking over his body. He needs to find a way to protect himself against a ghost that seemed harmless in the beginning. But what if Sarah has no intention of leaving? Cain has had a hard time after his father died. He feels responsible because he's the only man in the house and tries to help his mother by taking care of his younger sister. They're close and considerate towards one another. Cain is very good at sports and is even the captain of his soccer team. He has no clue about how to handle girls, but he's confident on the soccer field. Cain is a sensible boy. I loved how he thinks about his family first and how protective he is. When Cain says exactly what's on his mind he is absolutely hilarious. I laughed out loud many times while reading his perception of the people around him. Cain is a great guy with a terrific resourceful brain. Sarah is a creepy story that made my heart race. I hate attics and basements, I avoid them as much as I can and will only go there if I have no other choice. At my former job all of the supplies were stored in the basement and if I was the unlucky one who had to go down there, I always felt miserable and uneasy. I recognized the feelings Cain describes when he's being watched. When I saw the eerie cover of Sarah I couldn't wait to find out if the story would be just as scary. It absolutely is. I put down the book several times while I was reading late at night because it was so frightening. I'm definitely curious to find out what more Teri Polen has in store for her readers.
This book is everything you could hope for in a teen haunting story - Cain, a likable high school student. He's a talented soccer 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. 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.
If you like ghost stories you are gonna love this book. It is creepy, scary, and even terrifying in parts. Teri Polen has done an awesome job on this book. If it were made into a movie I would definitely go see it. Seventeen year old Cain has a lot going on his life. He is the captain of the soccer team. He has a horrible snob girlfriend he can't stand. He has recently lost his Father to a tragic accident and has moved into a new house. Cain and his best friend Finn are in his bedroom one night playing video games when the attic door opens by itself and a rush of freezing air comes in. The boys go to check it out but find nothing. The attic door continues to open by itself at different times. One night while Cain is alone he goes back up to the attic to see if he can figure out what is going on. While upstairs he sees fresh blood on the floor then it disappears. He hen finds out Sarah a missing girl from his high school's blood was found in the attic but she was never found. Eventually Sarah takes form and tells Can what happened that night. Cain decides to try and help her so she can rest in peace. Bad move Dude. Sarah takes advantage of Cain's generosity. She is out for revenge not for help. As things get deadly Cain decides to try and exorcise Sarah. Sarah isn't going to stand for this at all. Not only is she after her killers but she turns on Cain as well. I received this book from the Author or Publisher via Netgalley.com to read and review.
If the cover is any thing to go by, you know there are going to be quite a few things that make you stay up a night. From being possessed unknowingly by a ghost to being witness to horrific paranormal outbursts of murderous rage, Sarah sits high on the shelf of How To Write Proper YA Ghost Thrillers. Nothing in this book has bored me and it’s quite apparent why it was an Indie Next Generation Book Award finalist. Scary.
My first impression of this book came from its cover and the knowledge that this is the debut of Teri Polen. I was reminded of ghost stories in pop culture movies and thought this could go one of two ways: a suspenseful and terrifying ride or end up a complete flop. As the story begins we are immediately met with the inner dialogue of Cain Shannon and begin to understand his everyday high school problems, particularly in the dating department. This gives the reader plenty of time to adjust and prepare for the conflict that is coming. It almost seems like your typical cut and dry exposition but, considering the length of the work being shorter, Polen's writing begins to create settings but also fairly rounded characters and situations with depth. Cain is immediately relatable in his sarcastic and witty thoughts, filled with humor edged with truth that every teen can relate to. Primary character relationships are entertaining and even wholesome at times, balancing the much darker contemporary tones the novel has: from bullying and body-shaming to physically assaulting people. When the spooks and eerie situations begin, a theme of characters stating the obvious begin to appear but, while this would normally give the book a stale taste, Polen crafts the story so that it actually adds an element of self-awareness. Rather than being outright terrifying, there is a sense of impending dread and tension as characters know what they probably should and shouldn't do and make decisions based on that comprehension. It reminds the reader that these characters are just teens, just like the intended reader and that grabs you and holds you in the story. "Neither one of us remembered much about Sarah, but she was right about the cliques at school. Like you needed to belong to one of them to validate your existence..." What I found most surprising, and eventually the most captivating, aspect of the work was how morals were utilized and how Cain, and even his friend Finn, mature in their understanding of people and of themselves. Without the paranormal elements this story could easily be something along the lines of a contemporary mystery. Overall, Sarah is a 4 out of 5, in my opinion. The social commentary of school status, popularity, even gender and the amount of privilege that accompanies each of these themes makes this a compelling read but also how Polen uses her knowledge of horror to create a multi-dimensional tale filled with chills and an edge.
From the beginning I was engrossed in this story, although towards the middle where I expected the storyline to become fast paced it became more predictable and slow burning, which disappointed me quite a bit due to my high expectations of the book. But then the unexpected happened and I that led myself that I held in there, the ending was amazing! It became much darker and twisted, i just wish tge whole book was leveled (as i said the 1st and 3rd part were phenominal!) Really great stuff! I loved the twist at the end a LOT.
First let me state I am not the audience for this book. I do enjoy a good scary book on occasion tho' and this one's cover just drew me in (it reminds me of creatures I've seen in a couple movies I can't recall the names of just now...one had a guy crawling across a ceiling, and the other some hideous girl crawling down some steps with what looked like her head on wrong- *shudder*). But over all, I think younger YA's will enjoy this tale. It has a ghost, a possession, wrong girlfriend, right girlfriend, friends and family. Just enough chill to read with the lights on!
Ja, das Cover von „Sarah“ sieht sehr düster aus und schreit eher nach einem Geist, der aus einem Brunnen krabbelt, obschon es sich bei „Sarah“ wenn zwar auch um einen wütenden und rachsüchtigen Geist handelt, die Geschichte aber doch eher in den Bereich der klassischen Spukerzählungen fällt. Die Handlung könnte weitgehend auch während einer Episode der berühmt-berüchtigten Spuk-Mockumentarys erzählt werden; für jene „Geisterbegegnungen im echten Leben“-Sendungen wäre das große Finale wohl zu überdramatisiert, das war nun eher spielfilmmäßig, aber ich habe mir auch gut vorstellen können, dass anstelle des Showdowns zum Schluss plötzlich Sky du Mont ankäme, um sein TLC-„Haunted“-Sprüchlein aufzusagen: „Klingt unglaublich? Aber so wurde es uns zugetragen!“ Der Jugendliche Cain, frisch zum Fußballkapitän der hiesigen Highschoolmannschaft befördert (und darum doch etwas cooler und statusbehafteter als seine Teamkollegen, wobei die Mannschaft per se ja schon nur wenig ernstgenommen wird: immerhin spielen die bloß Fußball und nicht ordentliches Football!) und darum jetzt mit einer sehr nervigen und shoppingsüchtigen Trophy Girlfriend gesegnet, wobei er diesen Segen verflucht, sich aber aus Schüchternheit und Nettigkeit nicht traut, Schluss zu machen, stellt in diesem Roman bald fest, dass es bei ihm zuhause auf dem Dachboden spukt. Natürlich befindet sich der Zugang zum Dachboden auch in seinem Zimmer und so erhält er regelmäßig Besuch von Sarah, die zwar in seinem Alter ist und zu Lebzeiten auch auf dieselbe Schule gegangen ist, die er aber nicht wirklich kannte: Irgendwann ist Sarah spurlos verschwunden und da sie nun bei Cain spukt, ist sie offensichtlich tot – und in ihren Tod und das darauffolgende Verschwinden ihrer Leiche sind laut Sarahs Erzählungen drei Mitschüler involviert. Cain will Sarah nach dem ersten Schreck zunächst helfen, ihren Frieden zu finden, stellt aber zu seinem Schreck fest, dass Sarah sich nach einer Verletzung seines geschwächten Körpers bemächtigen kann und dass sie eben doch eher auf Rache als auf ewigen Frieden aus ist… tja, aber wie wird Otto Normalbürger nun also überhaupt einen Geist los?! Schwer, wie sich im Verlauf der Geschichte herausstellt… „Sarah“s Zielgruppe dürfte sich alterstechnisch eher im Bereich Cains ansiedeln; ich würde sagen, dieses Buch ist für Leser ab 14 geeignet, sofern sie nicht vor ihrem eigenen Schatten Angst haben. Minderjährige, die inzwischen zu alt für „Trapped in Room 217“ von Thomas Kingsley Troupe sind, sind dann grade alt genug für „Sarah“ geworden. ;) Ich empfand „Sarah“ als durchaus guten Jugend-Horrorroman, zumal Cain auch eine recht sympathische Hauptfigur war, die zuweilen einen gewissen Galgenhumor an den Tag legte und grade sein bester Freund, der ihm mehr Bruder war, war zudem mit einer gehörigen Portion Sarkasmus ausgestattet, so dass die Geschichte nicht nur Angst machte, sondern auch mal zum Lachen brachte. Was mich ein wenig störte, war jedoch, dass Sarah sehr viel redete; eigentlich wurde die komplette Hintergrundgeschichte ganz freimütig vom Geist ausgebreitet (ja, mir war das Gespenst zu geschwätzig): Ich hätte es einfach noch etwas schöner gefunden, wenn da auch noch ein bisschen mehr erforscht hätte werden müssen als nur wie man einen Geist bekämpft.