I need to begin with a digression.
Why do so many books right now have cover art featuring young children running -- usually barefoot and/or in a white cotton nightgown of sorts? Am I supposed to be like, oh wow look how innocent that child is, running about the field, hair whipping in the wind, like a miniature hippie? Am I supposed to be moved by the indefatigable spirit of humanity before it reaches age 10 and gets utterly destroyed by the evils of the adult world? Because all I think when I see covers like this is oh my lord, child, put your goddamn shoes on and go find your mother.
(While I'm on the subject, can we please also agree that the whole "The _______'s Daughter" is grossly overused as a title and needs to be banned? The Bonesetter's Daughter, The General's Daughter, The Memory Keeper's Daughter...isn't it time to write about somebody's son for a change? Aunts? Nephews? Second cousins?? What about their stories, dammit?!)
Right, so uh, onto Sarah's Key. Now in fairness, the little kids running away on the cover of this book at least had the sense to put on shoes before running around Paris, so they do have that going for them. Upon closer inspection, though, who exactly are these cover kids? Sarah and her brother had blond hair, remember? I'm willing to admit that this isn't really a crucial element of my review, but it should be noted as a general lack of effort on the editor's part.
As for the book...it was okay (thus the two-star, "it was okay" rating). I read a lot of military history and books on WWII, so I suppose I'm usually unimpressed with a pop fiction writer's rendering of the time period. That whole section of the book seemed overly stylized and terse, which I think was supposed to showcase the era and the heartache of it all, but instead it just came across like it was badly translated from Czech or something. The author seemed more comfortable writing in the voice of the present-day narrator, but that story was just predictable beyond belief and entirely expected.
The book totally fell apart for me in the end, where the author proceeded to incorporate every cliche a 40-something woman can experience into the story while simultaneously trying to make me cry with her bad poetry. This little maneuver had zero effect on me whatsoever.
Don't let any of this deter you from reading the book, though -- I still breezed through it and was entertained enough to keep turning the pages. It's much better than that Guernsey Potato Peel...whatever it's called book, but both are similar in that they introduced me through fiction to an element of the war I knew next to nothing about. I'd be interested in reading more seriously about the Vel d'Hiv -- I think it deserves better.