Hi guys! It’s Kester here. Sorry for a late review, for this week has been jam-packed with all sorts of stuff. I had to finish up a HUGE chemistry project, visit a college fair and talk with different college representatives for a while, study for two tests, determine whether or not I should apply for a Governor’s School, practice and practice more for my All Northwest audition in a week, and try to cram violin practices in all that mess. And yet I only finished a book until now. Enjoy!
DISCLAIMER: The author had sent me a signed bookplate all the way from France (woo hoo!). This is not part of a review trade agreement.
Rating: 9/10 stars
Sarah’s Key intertwines the historical story of Sarah, a girl who was abducted from her home in 1942 France by surprisingly the French police for being a Jew, and the contemporary story of Julia Jarmond, an American reporter living in Paris who is researching the infamous Vel D’Hiv Round-up. Sarah locks her brother in a cupboard to keep him safe, promising she’ll come back to get him, but she realizes that she might never come back, but she wants to reunite with her brother still locked in the cupboard, in which his fate is still unknown. Julia’s life becomes attached to Sarah’s life, and soon Julia’s life changes completely ever since she’s learned the sinister secrets that are unlocked with Sarah’s Key.
*First of all, I love how when you give a synopsis and you tie in the title. Although this is not the real synopsis, I had to do this.*
This book was amazing! I loved it! It was magnifique, like how the Parisians say it! This book is similar to my ratings of Me Before You: wonderful, yet something didn’t make it the “perfect” book. Now is this a new favorite? Yes! I can’t say anything else in this intro, so let’s get onto the juicy review.
I love World War II! There’s just so many sides to the war. You can read hundreds of books on the subject matter than told different sides from different perspectives and places. The only topic of World War II that I cannot stand is Russia. I tried City of Thieves, but it was horrible. Then I attempted The Secret Speech, yet the main character blew up a church in the first few pages. Although it was an Russian Orthodox one (I think), it still struck my heart. I just couldn’t read it. This book, on the other hand, “unlocked” (man, I’m going to make so many key jokes) the infamous Vel D’Hiv, which actually was a REAL event! Learning about how the French police, not the Gestapo, the French police, abducted thousands of men, women, and children from their homes to their deaths later touched me. This book has proven to me that even the greatest of governments can have the worst of times. The French government has had the Vel D’Hiv and the French Revolution (which wasn’t very “enlightened” to me).
I actually enjoyed Julia’s story. A contemporary World War II book might not seem like a good idea, but it did! I loved how Julia was forever changed by these events, especially because of the secrets. I think we ALL need to look back at the past and connect to these events. This has shown me that we need to unite together to stop hatred like World War II. Sadly, it has spread throughout the world today. Julia really felt connected to Sarah’s story. I could actually feel her thoughts and emotions.
The plot line was great, too! Sarah’s part was well-written, full of emotion and suspense. Julia’s was filled with emotion, romance, ups and downs, and all sorts of things! It was like digging for treasure. The more you dig, the more the treasure gets better.
The big con that bugged me at the beginning was the dual-POV. It bugged me at first, but I embraced it later. Then, Sarah’s story just stopped, and I just wanted it to continue! I wished that Sarah’s story could have been more lengthened throughout Julia’s story, which will both parallel each other. It annoyed me when it would stop Sarah’s POV too soon. I just want to finish it!
Name-dropping was another big problem for me. Too many names that were introduced without any introduction. For example, Julia might be talking about a (made-up) guy named Claude, but I don’t know who he is until chapters later. I didn’t like it. I still didn’t know who Bamber was and how he was “related” (as in their relationship) to Julia.
This book will be on my World War II book Hall of Fame. It deserves a spot with Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief and Ruta Sepetys’s Between Shades of Gray. It was unique. It was not the average, typical World War II book. It will hook you from the beginning to the end, especially since the event described in the book is unknown, yet very horrifying.