Sara When She Chooses is a book about a young girl, her ties to a mysterious heritage and a choice that has the potential to change her life. The novel is written for readers ages nine to twelve, but I enjoyed it as an adult reader.
Every summer, eleven-year-old Sara is sent to spend a few weeks with her grandmother in the deep, deep bayou where there is no electricity or other links to the outside world. World building is obviously a strength of author Cat Jenkins, who creates a lush, mysterious environment that slowly begins to reveal itself to Sarah in unexpected ways. It is thus that Sara realizes she has special gifts, and that her visits to her grandmother are not mere social visits. She is there to learn and grow her unusual talents. She is there to choose the path she will take for the rest of her life.
The author skillfully leads the reader until we willingly suspend disbelief and enter the main character’s fantastical world, comprised of a crew of imaginative, mythical creatures, each with its own quirks and purpose.
I particularly enjoyed the dialogue, especially that of Sara’s grandmother. It is authentically homespun—not an easy achievement, especially because the author carries the thread very well throughout the entire book.
I really hope there will be a sequel because at the end.... Well. You’ll see what I mean when you get there!