Elana K. Arnold
  • Review
By – June 6, 2014

Splen­dor, the sequel to Sacred, is the con­tin­u­ing sto­ry of Scar­lett, a non-Jew­ish teenag­er from Catali­na Island out­side of LA, her Jew­ish boyfriend Will Cohen, and her out of con­trol friend Lily. Will returns to the East Coast to go to col­lege towards the begin­ning of the book leav­ing Scar­lett feel­ing lone­ly and vul­ner­a­ble. Gun­ner, a for­eign exchange stu­dent in her high school, has caught her eye, as well as that of her best friend Lily who has already proven to make bad per­son­al choices.

Scar­lett is still recov­er­ing from her moth­er hav­ing moved to Los Ange­les and hav­ing lit­tle con­tact with her, a father who is most­ly absent, and the death the pre­vi­ous year of her broth­er. Each of these alone would make for an invit­ing young adult nov­el with issues of drink­ing, dis­cus­sions about sex and search­es for iden­ti­ty. Arnold adds into the mix Scarlett’s care for Delilah, her horse, who has been insem­i­nat­ed and is preg­nant and is Scarlett’s out­let for self-reflec­tion. Over­all, Scar­lett is a char­ac­ter with chal­lenges, excite­ments and frus­tra­tions, to whom many teens today can relate.

The Jew­ish con­nec­tion is ten­u­ous at best. It stems from the psy­chic qual­i­ties in some of Will and Scarlett’s thoughts and dreams. Will’s father sends Scar­lett to a Jew­ish Kab­bal­ist in LA who shares her love of the mys­ti­cal, search­es for the spir­i­tu­al with­in Scar­lett and invites her to share in some Jew­ish rit­u­als with her fam­i­ly and prayer group.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 13 – 18.

Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

Discussion Questions