SACRED by Elana K. Arnold


Age Range: 13 - 16
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Scarlett’s peaceful life on Catalina Island bifurcated last spring into the time Before Ronny Died and her miserable present.

With the death of her brother, all the life seemed to go out of her family, too: Her mother has retreated into a pill-enhanced haze of grief, while her father gardens ineffectually. Scarlett copes by riding her beloved mare and slowly starving herself. When she meets a beautiful young man with startling green eyes on the trail, he seems to have been looking for her: Why? Green-eyed Will Cohen then turns up in school, which provokes obnoxious possessiveness in her boyfriend. But Scarlett can’t deny her attraction, and it seems to be mutual….Arnold stuffs way too much into this novel, piling dating violence onto cutting onto anorexia onto depression. And that’s just the first half. The second half swerves out of realistic problem-novel territory into mysticism, as Scarlett begins to study the Kabbalah under the tutelage of Will’s rabbi/theology professor father—it turns out Will is more than just gorgeous, he is a modern-day incarnation of extreme Jewish holiness. Although Arnold achieves the occasional fresh turn of phrase—Scarlett shreds a note from her contrite boyfriend into “a nice little pile of apology confetti”—too often she settles for cliché, with yearning skin, fluttering hearts and searing glances aplenty bundled into sentences that seem to go on forever.

Schlock. (Paranormal romance. 13-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 13th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-385-74211-5
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2012


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