Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay tells the invigorating tale of a young Jewish girl that makes a decision she regrets for the rest of her life. As the novel is told through two different perspectives, the story combines the story lines together that reveal a melodramatic denouement. Taking place during the 1942 Vel’d’Hiv Jewish roundup, Sarah Starzynski faces a responsibility of protection over her little brother and locks him into their secret cupboard promising to return, while Julia Jarmond who is a present day journalist, writes a newspaper article about the arrestation. The two stories intervene when Julia Jarmond discovers the deplorable case of the Starzynski family.
During such a calamitous time the Starzynski family was going through, the book had few literary devices that were able to capture the drama of the conflict. While foreshadowing is thoroughly presented throughout the novel, the story seemed predictable at times and the events were strongly anticipated. I believe the author’s strength throughout the book was the comparison from the beginning of the novel. Readers clearly notice the change both Sarah and Julia overcome throughout their experiences, which progress the theme of maturation and independence in both characters.
Although the book was at times monotonous to read, I still enjoyed the concept of both stories and found myself reflecting on my own life through the lessons conveyed. I would recommend this book to the Freshman Honors English students because the book still develops strong themes of regret, perseverance, and maturation that all teenagers our age can relate to and learn from.