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Sarah's Key

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  454,982 ratings  ·  30,323 reviews
Paris, July 1942: Ten-year-old Sarah is brutally arrested with her family in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, the most notorious act of French collaboration with the Nazis. but before the police come to take them, Sarah locks her younger brother, Michel, in their favorite hiding place, a cupboard in the family's apartment. She keeps the key, thinking that she will be back within a ...more
Hardcover, First Edition, 294 pages
Published June 2007 by St. Martins Press (first published September 1st 2006)
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Ciel Depends entirely on the reader. The book is not spoiled by being told it's about the Nazi roundup of French Jews. Does your reader enjoy such well kno…moreDepends entirely on the reader. The book is not spoiled by being told it's about the Nazi roundup of French Jews. Does your reader enjoy such well known books as The Diary of Anne Frank? Then that reader may enjoy this. Not every reader, of any age, is sure to respond to such a topic. I would say only a very sensitive reader would appreciate this book, that is its intended audience. Fragile, now that may be another thing entirely. (less)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  454,982 ratings  ·  30,323 reviews

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Dec 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
It should never be forgotten

By Sol Tetelbaum

Review: Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Almost a hundred readers published their reviews on Tatiana de Rosnay’s novel Sarah’s Key. Most of them rated the book in four or five stars, but some of them calling the novel “mediocre” showed a lower rating – three stars. It is necessary to admit that their opinions weren’t unfounded and most critical comments were fair. However, from my standpoint, despite the fair critical comments (I don’t think it is ne
Dec 11, 2008 rated it did not like it
I was intrigued by the plot for this book. A young girl locks her brother in a cupboard at their apartment in Paris before the Police, at the behest of the Nazi's, take away her and her family. They wait for several days in a detention center, in conditions like the Superdome, before being sent to camps in Southern France, and we wonder if she will retrieve her little brother before he dies or starves or hopefully, is rescued. Unfortunately, another storyline involving a two dimensional American ...more
Feb 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
I might have given this book higher marks if I hadn't just finished the infinitely superior The Book Thief. But as it is I'm feeling pretty generous with my 2 stars. The subject matter was intriguing. I didn't realize what had happened with the Jews in France. But the author spent too little time with Sarah and her experience there and too much time with boring, self-absorbed, present day Julia and her sex life. Snore! ...more
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This story could only have been written by a French person because anyone else could, and possibly would, be seen as casting stones. Fortunately, Tatiana de Rosnay is a French citizen and her bravery is outstanding as she brings to light the heartbreaking historical story that runs underneath the fictional story like a dark, terrifying catacomb below the streets of Paris.

On July 16 and 17, 1942, 13,152 Jews were arrested in Paris and the suburbs, deported and assassinated at Auschwitz. In the
*spoilers!!! Lots of spoilers. Don't read this.*

disclaimer: This is a review of the book, Sarah's Key, and not the Holocaust. (I give the Holocaust negative infinity stars, if you were wondering.)

Fuck you Sarah's Key, you manipulative sonofabitching asshole. How dare you make me feel like this at Christmas?! Dead baby brother in a cupboard?! Really?! Gassing the parents at Auschwitz wasn't enough? I don’t give a goddamn what you throw at me for the rest of the story. I WILL NOT CRY AFTER THAT BU
Carol Wagers
Nov 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
October 2009: re-reading this book again for another book club. I hope I like it better than the 1st time but so far I'm not seeing it. Why would she use a word like "ingurgitating" when you can say "ate"?? That kind of writing irritates me a lot. The true story is heartbreaking, and very interesting, but her writing just doesn't impress me as expressing the true horrors experienced by the deported Jews, or any real feeling for Julia's anger at her husband disdainful treatment of her.

Spring 200
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars. This is a dual-timeline historical fiction novel, about the arrests of Jewish families in France during WWII and their terrible experiences, focusing on the actual historic Vel' d'Hiv' roundup in July 1942, and a modern journalist's investigation of that event and her search for some of the people involved.

The inside of the Vélodrome d'Hiver bicycle stadium, demolished in 1959

In the 1942 timeline, in Paris: a 10 year old girl is arrested with her Polish mother and father in the middle
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, ww2
A tragic and beautifully told story that is moving and evocative. Having read this as a book club read some years ago it was nice to read it again and take it for what it was just a well written and beautifully told story, and a book that will stay with me many years from now.

Sarah's Key is the poignant story of two families, forever linked and haunted by one of the darkest days in France's past. In this emotionally intense, page-turning novel, Tatiana de Rosnay reveals the guilt brought on by
Aug 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished "Sarah's Key" this morning and I have so many thoughts going through my head about it. I loved the pacing of the story, how it switched between Sarah's story and Julia's story up until the point where the two merged. I loved how the style of Sarah's story was completely different than the style of Julia's story. I loved how both stories made me cry, even though I knew what was coming. I loved how realistically the characters were portrayed. Nobody was all good or all bad, just human w ...more
Feb 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
I agree with Katie on this one. I did not enjoy this book. It tells two stories -- one, about a young French girl whose family is rounded up and taken away during the Holocaust, and the other about a modern-day journalist who is tracking down her story. Julia, the contemporary narrator, was self-obsessed, clueless and downright annoying. I couldn't stand her husband, or even her perfect little kid, for that matter. It made it hard to root for them because they were just so unlikeable. The premis ...more
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
3 1/2 stars

This author grew up in France and was never taught at school about the French complicity in rounding up Jews for the Nazis. When she discovered information about the Vel' D'Hiv' roundup, she knew she had to write about it. The book is her tribute to the 4,000 children who were victims of that roundup.
I cried for these little people. They were robbed of their chance at life before it ever really got started. Bad enough that they were killed, but before that, they were left in the Fren
Ahmad Sharabiani
Sarah's Key, Tatiana de Rosnay

The first plot follows the Starzynski family. On 16 July 1942, French police raided the Starzynski apartment in Paris, arresting ten-year-old Sarah and her parents.

First, the family is sent to an enclosed stadium that housed a bicycling track for racing. The captors held more than 7,000 Jews, mostly women and children in the stadium, which was made to hold far fewer people, and they were eventually sent to Drancy, a refugee camp, to separate the men from the women
Corinne Edwards
Let me start off by saying I could not put this book down. I must also say, that this book ripped my heart into tiny pieces and I'm not sure I'll ever be the same. Really. Maybe it's because I'm a mom or maybe I'm just an incredibly sensitive person. But I now have images in my brain that will never leave.

Sarah's Key takes place in France - switching between the modern day and the early days of World War II. I really like books like this, and I think the author did a fine job of transitioning us
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
My first by this author and I found it very readable. I was aware of the treatment of the Jews in Paris as a group but I had never heard of this particular event where the children were separated, subjected to terrible cruelty and finally killed. Horrible.
Actually my worst moment in the book was right at the beginning when Sophie turns the key in the cupboard door. I spent the next few chapters praying that it would be okay (view spoiler)
Joy H.
Added 11/8/09.

In _Sarah's Key_ the chapters alternate between the war era and the time sixty years later. We watch as a reporter tries to find out more about what happened during the 1942 round-up of Jewish people in France (known as the "Vel' d’Hiv’ Roundup") (Vélodrome d'Hiver). We also watch the actual round-up as it is happening. The alternating views keep you reading as the suspense builds up.

This is a heartbreaking piece of fiction. It brings home the horror of those Holocaust days and war
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ankit Saxena
Frankly, I don't know where to start from.

Something happened and it's still in my mind and heart for this book. These are the kind of books that makes feel like there is nothing outside the world of reading. These are the writers of particular category that always makes me realize that my dream of publishing book someday, even if that come true, I'll never be able to put myself across these authors, ever.

Tatiana de Rosnay had done something exceptional with this book that you can't be left untou
Lisa Vegan
I wasn’t sure how the back and forth chapters between one girl in 1942 and a different woman in 2002 were going to work for me, but this story is so well told.

I thought I’d be interested in the 1942 story but wasn’t sure how much I’d become involved with the 2002 story, but much to my relief I enjoyed both stories, although I did think Sarah’s 1942 story was slightly stronger than Julia’s 2002 story. However, I do think my favorite character might be Zoe from the 2002 story.

Reading this was chil
This is a very hard hitting Historical Fiction that takes place during WWII. The books jumps between Sarah has a child and Julia in present day (an reporter that her in laws lived in Sarah's childhood home). In the reviews people said that did not like Julia's parts, but I enjoyed both Sarah's and Julia's part. I have to say there is parts of this book that is super hard to read, so if you get upset because of things you read then Please look more into this book before reading this book. This bo ...more
This is one of those books with an interesting idea that was executed very poorly. It's always disappointing to read books like this because I can't help but think with every wrong turn, every cringe worthy sentence that this could have been so much better in a capable writer's hands.

First off, as I said, it's a very interesting idea. The basic story of Sarah is intriguing and the story of the Vel' d'Hiv' children should be read. However, de Rosnay just doesn't pull it off. She simply is not a
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An emotional, harrowing, poignant and well written book. This revolves around two periods of time. Set in July 1942 during the roundup of Jews in Paris to send them to their deaths in Auschwitz, known as the vel d hiv.Ten year old Sarah Starzynski's life is forever changes when the Vichy police come to her family's apartment to arrest her and her parents, She hides her four year old brother in a cupboard and promises him she will return for him. She is deported to an internment camp in route to ...more
Julia Jarmond, an American journalist living in Paris, is assigned to cover the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Vel 'd 'Hiv, the day French Jews were arrested in the "roundup," and ultimately sent to the death camps in Auschwitz. She becomes obsessed with what she learns, particularly about the fate of one young girl and her family.

I found the story extraordinary on several levels. First, I was unaware of this historic event and found it astounding that so little is ever mentioned of France's
Mar 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Reporter Julia Jarmond is investigating the events of 1942, when French authorities rounded up the Jews of the cities and put them in concentration camps, an investigation that uncovers links to her husband's family. But how will her tale intersect with that of the title character, a 10 year old girl separated from her family during the 1942 roundup?

First off, this is not something I would pick for myself. However, in the aftermath of a dinner featuring the best biscuits and gravy I've ever had,
Dec 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. A little predictable and melodramatic for a subject that doesn't need anyone playing with your emotions, but still a solid read. It was interesting learning about the French police involvement in the round up of Jews in what was the first deportation of women and children. I was left with not only a sadness for all those families torn from their lives and torn apart, but also for the lost culture and religion for the survivors. Children hidden and raised as Christian children, childre ...more
Jun 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: summer-scrabble
This book has been on my TBR for a very long time. Why I do not know.
This is the haunting story of a little girl who hides her brother in a cupboard She and her parents are arrested in Paris in 1942, because they are Jewish.
Sarah needs to get back to Paris to rescue her brother. She keeps the key secretly in her pocket. Time is the essence. Will she succeed?
Current day Julia Jarmond is an American journalist doing a story on the 60th anniversary of Vel d’Hiv, the roundup of Jews in Paris. She is
Jun 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
Two horrible situations form the premise of this novel. The first is the factual story of the French roundup of the Jews during World War II, which took place in Paris under the auspices of the French Police. It was the French Police, not the Nazis, who dragged French Jews from their homes, separated parents from children, and sent them on to their deaths, all of which was witnessed by French citizens who did little to stop these horrific events. Because so few people are aware of this chapter o ...more
Chris Horsefield
World War II and its legacy in France, and a project on the "rafle du Vel d'Hiv"- the massive round-up of Jews that took place in Paris on July 16th, 1942. The story is haunting, and interesting, as we follow it in flashbacks. I am doing an annotated bibliography of books on the subject for my seminar project. This story will appeal to my younger students, teaching them at the same time of this shameful episode of French collaboration with the German occupiers, under the Vichy government. Franc ...more
Dorie  - Cats&Books :) (on hiatus until Oct 10)
Quite good story of Paris during the round up of 1942, Vel di Hiv (so named for the stadium where the Jewish people were initially held). The French police by orders of the Nazi's rounded up thousands of their own Jewish citizens, mostly women and children. They were held under horrible conditions and then sent to Auschwitz. This is the story of one little girl who escaped, Sara.

Parallel story current time, American woman married to a French man, one child, who is a journalist. She is assigned t
Merphy Napier
Jul 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
I know I'm in the minority with my review, and I know that this book meant a lot to a lot of people. I'm happy it did, and while I love the main story (Sarah's story) I did not like the book as a whole. I'll tell you why.

What I loved:
- this is an important time in history to remember. I love that this book helps us remember.
- Sarah's story was heartbreaking and beautiful. I'm happy I know it.
- Juilia's choice at (view spoiler). I was on the edge of my seat a
Amy (Bossy Bookworm)
Feb 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
If I'm going to read hundreds of pages past the horrifying situation set up at the beginning of this book, the writing's going to need to be more than sub-par. Telling me that characters are interesting and complex instead of self-indulgent and one-dimensional doesn't make it so.

Don't tell me you actually drove me away from a Holocaust book, de Rosnay. That's pretty hard to do.

File under "Life's too short to read this book," please.
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