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Review SPLENDOR by Elana K. Arnold


Splendor, the stunning sequel
to Sacred, is a story about changing friendships, family, romance,
passion, the study of Kabbalah, and self-discovery.

Sometimes the answers we seek aren’t ours to find. . . .

Scarlett loves her boyfriend, the dashing, mysterious Will Cohen. But now he’s
gone east for college, and Scarlett is stuck home on Catalina Island. Senior
year should be a breeze, but between dealing with her parents’ separation and
her wild best friend, Lily, things are off to a rocky start. And then there’s
Gunner. Dangerous, dark, ferociously attractive Gunner. Lily’s
potential boyfriend, Gunner . . .

     Scarlett distracts herself by spending time with her
horse and delving into ecstatic mysticism, a way to practice Kabbalah. Through
this practice, she hopes to learn to control her emotions, and begin to make
sense of her place in the world. But Scarlett’s world is increasingly

     Are Lily and Scarlett becoming too different to stay
friends? Is Will still the love of Scarlett’s life, even though she has
feelings for Gunner? Does being in love mean only being attracted to one
person? The more Scarlett questions, the fewer answers there seem to be.

ELANA K. ARNOLD completed her M.A. in Creative Writing/Fiction at the
University of California, Davis. She grew up in Southern California, where she
was lucky enough to have her own horse--a gorgeous mare named Rainbow--and a
family who let her read as many books as she wanted. She lives in Long Beach,
California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. She is
represented by Rubin Pfeffer of the East/West Literary Agency. Sacred is her
debut novel



Scarlett has grown up on Catalina Island right off the coast of California surrounded by nature and a small knit community. After a troubling summer , she has just started her senior year and kissed her first boyfriend, Will,  good by as he heads off to Yale.  They text and talk, but is getting the feeling that the distance may become a problem.  On top of this, her parents have separated, with her mother moving to Los Angeles to take up her career as a lawyer since the Bed and Breakfast they run has fallen onto hard times from the neglect of the past year.  Her older brother has recently died from an aneurysm and it has torn the family apart.  Her best friend, Lily, has returned from a trip to Amsterdam a changed person, and more wild than Scarlett could ever image.

With all of these changes, Martin, Will's father, has directed her to a friend that practices Kabbalah in hopes that she will find some peace.  Will also has a secret that might be driving the pair apart:  he can see horrible things before they happen and is driven to prevent them.  This is a gift that cost his own mother her life.  So along with this insight, a new boy starts to pay attention to Scarlett and now she is questioning if her love for Will is really true. Newly transplanted from the UK,  Gunner is present and doesn't have the problems that she and Will must now face.  As Scarlett tries to answer questions about her feelings, she also is trying to find the answer to the meaning of life.

This story is filled with beautiful descriptions as well as perfectly balanced dialogue.  The bits of paranormal are woven in so naturally that the gift Will has just seems natural.  The small town vibe of Catalina is a perfect background to Scarlett's own struggles with growing up in a now broken family.  I really enjoyed the mysticism and how it all worked in the plot.  These characters all seem like kids I know with all of the flaws and accomplishments they should have. I look forward to reading more about them.

Disclosure  I received this book from the publisher at no charge and in no way influenced my review.  If you are considering purchasing this book or anything else from Amazon, please use my link above since I earn a very small percentage of the sale which helps pay for shipping my giveaways!  

1 comment:

  1. Haven't seen this book before, but love the synopsis and your review!


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