Scarlett, a high school junior growing up on Catalina Island, off the California coast, finds it difficult to cope with her brother’s sudden death. She withdraws from her family and friends, drawing comfort only from her horse. Then she meets Will, a senior new to the island. Will seems inexplicably drawn to Scarlett and, although she hesitates to admit it, Scarlett feels the pull, as well, and her journey back to feeling normal begins with their chance meeting.
Author Elana K. Arnold accurately depicts Scarlett’s struggle back from the depths of her grief. She touches on several poignant topics, including eating disorders, self-harm and depression. But, Arnold has also filled Sacred with romance, adventure, a sprinkling of Jewish traditions and mysticism, and even a hint of science fiction. It’s a fast-paced story that will hook readers from the very beginning. Be sure you have extra time to read because once you start this novel, you won’t be able to put it down. Sacred is an excellent read and is highly recommended for ages 13 and up.
Marcia Berneger is a retired teacher who lives with her husband and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and second grade, as well as special education. She currently teaches Torah school, in addition to her volunteer work in classrooms, libraries, and with various fundraisers. She lives in San Diego.