Sarah's Choice

Sarah's Choice

by Rebecca St. James, Nancy N. Rue


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401689247
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 05/27/2014
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Rebecca St. James, an Australian born Christian recording artist, is both a Grammy Award winner and multiple Dove Award recipient. She is also the bestselling author of Wait for Me, SHE Teen, and What Is He Thinking. She has appeared in the film Sarah’s Choice and provided a voice in VeggieTales An Easter Story.

Nancy Rue has written over 100 books for girls, is the editor of the Faithgirlz Bible, and is a popular speaker and radio guest with her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and husband, Jim, have raised a daughter of their own and now live in Tennessee.

Read an Excerpt

Sara's Choice

A Novel


Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2014 Nancy Rue and Rebecca St. James
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8924-7


Last night's dinner was up before Sarah that morning. Between tripping over two pairs of boots and stomping on her briefcase, she barely made it from the daybed to the bathroom before the jalapeños put in their second appearance.

The tiny black-and-white floor tiles blurred to a fuzz as she pressed her forehead to them. For once she was grateful the radiator wasn't working. Again.

Oh my gosh, she hated to throw up. Hated. It.

She doused her face with cold water—because it would take at least five minutes for any hot water to come through the faucet—and muttered a few threats against Matt. He was the one who ordered the jalapeños on the nachos, knowing full well his parents would be watching every choke and spew.

The boy was cute, but shameless.

She managed to avoid an encore now by skipping the coffee—in fact, the entire kitchenette—and taking enough deep breaths to hyperventilate a hippo as she leaned on the sink, shook back the dark tendrils of hair that stuck to her face, and squinted at her reflection. A little makeup would cover that asparagus-green tinge, right?

Okay, a lot of makeup.

You should stay home, the sunken brown eyes told her.

And miss work with the promotion being decided? Uh, no. Thad Nussbaum wouldn't risk a sick day right now if he had the plague. Sarah wasn't sure she didn't, actually.

Another dive for the toilet. She definitely hated to throw up.

Avocado-skinned or not, she needed to get a move on. After that round she chugged a half bottle of Pepto-Bismol and stepped over a stack of how-to-succeed books on loan from Megan to get to the desk crammed between the daybed and the bathroom door. Fortunately she only had to paw through one layer of unpaid bills to find Megan's list.

1. Dress professionally. You're not in grad school any more. Go monochromatic if you can, but with a splash of color. Advertising IS a creative field—at least that's what they tell me. And do NOT wear that ratty scarf.

Sarah groaned, not a difficult sound to manage at that point. She hoped the money she'd spent on wardrobe improvements at T.J. Maxx, under Megan's step-away-from-the-jeans-skirt tutelage, would be worth it if—when—she got the promotion. Between that and the new briefcase, no wonder AT&T was threatening to turn off her phone.

The other bills were tucked into their compartments in the organizer, although they still glared at her no matter how tightly she closed their little plastic drawers. As for her personal bills ... she looked for something to cover them up so they, too, wouldn't give her the stink eye when she got home from work.

The only thing she could come up with to conceal them without doing a complete renovation of the entire studio apartment was the framed picture her mom gave her on Thanksgiving, which she hadn't hung up yet because ... she just hadn't.

In spite of the queasies, Sarah had to grin at the photo. Megan would have a complete meltdown over Sarah at twelve: hair straightened in an attempt to look like a dark-haired Christina Aguilera and a too-big royal-blue choir robe with a large and admittedly tacky cross for a zipper pull. The identical robe looked so much better on her father. But then, anything he wore was handsome because he was in it. The photographer had caught Sarah looking up at her father, eyes whispering "I'm gonna make you proud, Daddy" ...

A lump in the throat paired with nausea: not a good choice.

Sarah pressed the photo facedown on the stack and headed for the closet to attempt monochromatic with a splash of color.

Ten minutes later she was as close as she was going to get. The shopping spree notwithstanding, it wasn't like there was a whole lot to choose from in there. Black pencil skirt with boots, tailored white blouse, charcoal fitted sweater trimmed in apricot, subtle jewelry. Then the wool camel coat—a cast-off of Megan's—and the paid-too-much-for-it-even-on-sale leather briefcase.

She paused, the multi-brown scarf between her hands. With so many pulled strands it was starting to resemble a very sad boa, but it still smelled like Dad—all British Sterling and strong coffee and some musky undefinable thing that was just him. One whiff at the right moment and she could almost hear him saying, You've got this, SJ.

Yeah, she was wearing the scarf. Sorry, Megan.

Okay—a final look in the full-length mirror and she was out of there.

Almost out of there. Hand on the knob, she saw something had been slipped under the door. Looked like a Christmas card without an envelope. Before she even picked it up, Sarah knew it was from Catfish.

Merry Christmas, Ms. Collins he'd written under a drawing of what was probably supposed to be the Grinch. But Santa won't be visiting you if you don't pay the rent. Sincerely, Your Building Manager.

Sarah tossed the thing toward the desk, but not before she smelled him on it: that whole hipster, unbathed, let's-see-how-long-I-can-wear -these-jeans-before-the-rips-get-too-big-to-be-legal aroma. If she met him face-to-face this morning she would probably puke on his shoes.

The chances were good he'd made the delivery in the wee hours and was still asleep. Catfish was a wannabe musician who stayed up half the night pretending he was making a living playing the sitar and then slept half the day. Sarah could probably make it to the car without running into him.

The studios all opened onto open walkways, not the best scenario for brutal subzero Chicago winters. But the Sandburg Arms had once been a Motel Four and the renovators obviously hadn't wanted to spend the money on closing it in. Or on much of anything else for that matter.

Like a super who would at least throw some cat litter on the cement steps when the ice set in.

Sarah picked her way down them and then checked to be sure the proverbial coast was clear of all things Catfish before she hopped between the icy patches to the parking lot. As she passed his first-floor apartment, holding her breath so she wouldn't take in any fumes wafting under the door, she made him a silent promise that once she got this promotion, she'd pay the back rent and bid him a cheery good-bye as she moved out.

After she paid off the ones in the plastic compartments.

No wonder she was queasy, Sarah decided as she stitched her faded red Toyota through the early morning traffic. "Rush" hour was a complete misnomer. Cars crawled off the Ike onto West Congress and huffed around the Loop with maddening slowness. Exhaust coughed from every vehicle as hot vapors met frigid air and created a mist so heavy you could cut it into cubes.

She'd lived here all her life, except for the six years she spent in New York at college, and she'd spent more hours sitting on the Eisenhower Expressway than she had on her own couch. When had this smell become so nauseating?

The train probably wouldn't be much better when it came to fumes, but it was definitely faster. Too bad she needed a car during the day to deliver projects outside the city proper. And too bad Carson Creative didn't give her a company car for that. Although right now, any vehicle would call up the heaves. Ugh.

A distraction—that's what she needed. Sarah pushed the motivational CD Megan had given her into the ancient player and waited for the way-too-enthusiastic-for-8:00-a.m. voice to tell her that success was 90 percent attitude.

Or as Megan put it under number 2 on the list:

From the time you arrive at Carson Creative Services in the morning until you pull out of the parking garage at night, you have to keep your game face on. You can't let down. You never know when a potential client will walk in, so you have to wear a constant expression that says, "I can sell anything for you."

Sarah glanced in the rearview mirror. She could only hope any client she saw today wanted an ad campaign for acid reflux medication.

She turned off Mr. Positive Attitude. She needed to focus on the road anyway. Snow was now plastering the windshield with wet, heavy clumps the size of bear paws, and her wipers weren't in optimal shape.

Neither, apparently, was her engine. Just as she inched the Toyota into the State/Jackson intersection, it died. At least five horns blared and more than one window opened so a driver could spew out angry, frosty breaths and a multicolored string of expletives.

It was Chicago, after all.

Sarah turned the key with a vengeance and stomped repeatedly on the gas pedal, just the way Matt had told her not to do. What he had told her to do currently eluded her.

"Come on, Buzz," she said, although that definitely hadn't been included in Matt's instructions. "Don't do this to me. Not today."

She could feel the trail of traffic behind her virtually seething as she continued pumping and pleading. The engine struggled to turn over, while the cars with the green light on either side of her struggled to avoid sliding into her like bumper cars. Any minute this was going to turn into a scene from The Blues Brothers.

Most were successful in screeching to an icy halt. One had to veer around her while its driver hollered—as only a native of Chicago could—"Get that $%##@!!! hunk of junk off the road, lady!"

"I'm working on it," Sarah muttered. Her teeth were clenched so hard she could feel the enamel eroding.

One more foot jam and Buzz wheezed himself back to life. Together they limped the remaining few blocks to Michigan Avenue and managed to climb to her space in the parking garage, where she pulled in beside Megan's white BMW SUV. Before Sarah had really gotten to know Megan—what was it, five months ago now?—she'd always had her for a sports model: something black and fast-looking even when it was standing still. Ten minutes into their friendship and Sarah knew a Boxster wouldn't fit the image Megan was going for. Megan slid from the front seat of that SUV now with more grace than Sarah could manage on her best day, especially while simultaneously holding two Starbucks cups.

She eyed the Toyota as it shuddered itself into a coma. "Don't worry," she said. "You'll be buying a brand-new one soon."

Sarah closed the car door with a gentle hand and waited. Nothing fell off. There was at least that.

"Don't jinx it," she said.

Megan handed her a cup. "Are you talking about the car or the promotion?"

"Both." Sarah pretended to take a sip, but the very steam of the latte beckoned to what was left of the nachos. Matt was so dead. She stuck him back in his little plastic compartment and tried to focus.

"I can't vouch for your vehicle." Megan gave Buzz the look she usually reserved for the backs of high-maintenance clients she'd charmed out the door. "But the promotion is practically a done deal."

Sarah should have such confidence. Actually, anyone should. Megan oozed the stuff. Her hair was always sleek enough and blonde enough, as if roots were terrified to even show up. Her makeup was magazine flawless, down to the eyeliner that lifted in perfect tilts at the corners of her blue eyes. Eyes that said, I have this handled so why are we even talking?

But it was Megan's mouth Sarah could never hope to emulate. Full. Strong. Slightly ironic. If you could make it smile, you might as well call the day as good as it was going to get. Sarah usually could, which she figured was the reason Megan had taken her on.

But Megan was miles from a smile now as she assessed Sarah.

"What?" Sarah said.

"You look terrible."

"I'm just a little nauseous."


"Jalapeños. And Matt's parents."

Megan's eyebrows lifted in velvety arches.

"I like them, but they don't like me."

"The jalapeños or the parents?"

"Both." Megan continued to survey Sarah until a male figure dashed past them, calling, "You shouldn't be carrying that stuff, Audrey! Let me give you a hand!"

Sarah tried not to roll her eyes. That was on the list too. Something about avoiding obvious reactions to the juveniles you have to work with. But she couldn't help muttering to Megan: "Look at him. He just ... schmoozes."

"Thad Nussbaum's picture is next to the word schlemiel in the dictionary."

Sarah made a mental note to look it up and watched the wiry, almost-panting Thad help a very pregnant Audrey Goetze wriggle out from behind the wheel of her Suburban. He piled her briefcase, her lunch tote, and a bag of what appeared to be knitting onto his person like a Sherpa, leaving Audrey empty-handed to waddle her way to the lobby door.

She was so pregnant.

"He's wasting his time anyway." Megan nodded Sarah toward the same door. "We're talking 'Arrivederci, Audrey.'"

"What makes you say that?"

"I know she's not coming back after she has that kid. Seriously, you haven't seen the way she glows when you bring up the whole baby thing? She turns into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

Sarah let out a guffaw. Not a wise choice, what with the nausea threatening again. She took in a long breath as Megan pushed open the glass doors and let her through.

"Even if Audrey does come back, she won't be working the ConEx account. Too much travel." Megan shook her head as they watched Thad lug Audrey's belongings up the stairs to the second floor, grinning and assuring Audrey that she still looked great.

She didn't look great. She looked like the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Audrey had never been the glamorous account executive, not like Jennifer Nolte or, come to think of it, Megan, who was a peg below in the echelon. Audrey wore business suits from Macy's and was always the consummate professional at meetings, but she was Eleanor Roosevelt to Jennifer's Jackie Kennedy. Now when her maternity sweaters strained across her belly like plastic wrap, it was hard for her to even pull that much off.

Megan nudged Sarah with her elbow. "You're right. Thad does schmooze."

"He's like a little puppy dog." Sarah followed Megan up the steps. "He does everything but lick her face and say, 'Like me! Like me!'"

Megan waited for Sarah to fall into step beside her in the hall and lowered her voice as if she were about to impart the details of the Area 51 conspiracy.

"Thad's not smart enough to know that's not going to get him anywhere."

"What should he be doing? Chasing after Henry and Nick and—"

"No. He should be chasing after me."

"He did chase after you and you practically freeze-dried him with your eyes."

Megan stopped and narrowed those eyes at Sarah. "I mean he should be getting the same kind of advice I've been giving you."

Sarah felt her brow pucker. "Don't give him any ideas."

Megan produced one of her almost-smiles as they entered the maze of cubicles bordered by glass-walled offices. "Not to worry. You're my only protégée."

"And how am I doing?"

"Fabulous. But no more jalapeños." Megan lifted only one of the velvet eyebrows. "And how many times have I told you to lose that scarf?"

Megan eased into her fishbowl of a space with its on-trend black leather and metal décor. Sarah leaned against the sign on the door that read: Megan Hollister, Assistant Director of International Accounts and tried to suppress a sigh that would broadcast envy up and down the hall.

"In a couple of months, you'll have an office like this," Megan said.

"What do you do, read my face?"

"I just remember what it was like working in a prairie-dog cell. And I didn't have as much going for me then as you do now."

Sarah resisted the urge to snort. "I can't imagine that. What is it that I have—"

"You know exactly what you want." The blue eyes dug in. "And you won't give up until you get it."

That brooked no argument. Except Sarah didn't just want it. She needed it. But since Never, ever look desperate was somewhere around number 6 on the list, Sarah just gave Megan a firm nod and headed straight-shouldered down the hall. Behind her Megan called: "But get rid of that scarf."


Excerpted from Sara's Choice by REBECCA ST. JAMES, NANCY RUE. Copyright © 2014 Nancy Rue and Rebecca St. James. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sarah's Choice 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
JodyJ More than 1 year ago
Sarah's Choice, briefly, tells the story of Sarah Collins who is struggling to make her name in the advertising business and is up for a promotion along with another fellow employee in the company. She is ambitious and really wants the promotion, knowing that it will help her with some of the money problems she has inherited, having taken on the responsibility of paying for her dad's medical bills with his cancer treatment, although he has subsequently passed on several years prior. She is always trying to avoid the manager of her apartment building because she is always late in rent. An inspiring read for anyone who has felt like maybe God was far off or distant at times; for anyone who feels they have turned away from Him for too long and long to come home or if they are just on the fence. I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson part of the Book Look review bloggers program, for my honest and un-biased opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of SARAH’S CHOICE by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze/BookLook Bloggers. This story captured me and refused to let go. I told myself I would only read for a half-hour - I had many other things to do, but the cover was just too tantalizing to surrender – and two hours later, I closed the cover and sighed. I really want to know what happens next in the lives of Sarah and Matt. Sarah is excited about a new career opportunity that will empower her to success. Matt is her boyfriend, an overall good guy. Sarah starts to feel ill, and soon discovers she is pregnant. She confronts Matt with a choice: marry her or take her to the clinic. Matt struggles to come to terms with what he is faced with, while Sarah is urged at work to have an abortion. Her mother is strongly against that. Sarah and Matt both turn to God to learn what path they must take. At the end of the book, tears were filling my eyes. The characters grow and love, and the awakenings are sweet. The book is filled with real emotions. It is a situation many women face. I highly recommend this story.
itsraymarie More than 1 year ago
I have not yet seen this movie. I've been wanting to for years, just never have. I've heard it really isn't the best movie ever (or, honestly, that good) but let's face it. Inspirational movies always get the short end of the stick when it comes to quality movies. So when I saw that they made a book adaptation of it, I decided to pick it up. (Although, 5 years later? What?) Story-wise, this book wasn't bad, necessarily. It bordered a bit on boring, though. I know that books that are made off movies are usually more true to script (at least, than book-to-movies are). This seemed like it might have been word-for-word based off the script, and honestly, I could only see how this would play out on screen. I do think the movie might be a little better. At least, not as boring, since it was made for that.  The writing didn't suck me in. Although Sarah, our MC, does grow or change a lot, I just didn't feel it. I don't know if I was supposed to feel any emotional ties to any of our characters, but I couldn't really connect to them. I did like Sarah, and admire her strength. Sure, I got frustrated with her a lot, but you could see where she was coming from, and you could see her growth, both spiritually and emotionally. I loved Matt, and how he developed as a character. Although I will admit, some of that growth seemed to come out of nowhere, and wasn't really explained. The plot was enough to keep me interested, but not enough that I couldn't tear my eyes away. And the spiritual aspect, while there, just really didn't pack a punch. This should have been a message that really resonated with readers, but I found that I just didn't really feel anything. All in all, this probably made a better movie. I would still like to see it, to see how it compares, if they changed anything, how this book holds up to the movie. But, I didn't feel like this made a great book adaptation. The things that would have been great in movie format are not the same things that work great in book format, and I think this is one that should just have been left alone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A remarkable read, Sarah’s Choice by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue, presents us with a young woman’s dilemma, actually a life and death choice. Sarah Collins is an up and coming marketing employee at Carson Creative. She is in line for a promotion that would enrich her paycheck so much that she could get a better apartment, a dependable automobile, and help out her widowed mom. Pregnancy is definitely not in the plans for this single career girl. Her co-worker advises Sarah to have an abortion; her mother says that abortion is a sin; her boyfriend can’t seem to handle the situation at all. As she struggles with the decision, Sarah must come to grips with her relationship with God and with her father’s death. Contemporary characters with real-life personalities and conflicts are the real strength of this novel. Boyfriend Matt, who spends work hours conducting desk chair races down the office hall, has a lot of growing up to do. Sarah faces her situation with understandable anguish symbolized by her daily morning sickness. Co-worker Megan, who urges Sarah to end the pregnancy, is confronted with her own past. This novel is written with able and compassionate voices of the two authors. Described here is a situation many may face. The story is told with humor and realism but also honestly. It is highly recommended. I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the words expressed here are my own.
Christianfictionaddiction More than 1 year ago
Nancy Rue and Rebecca St. James return for another joint effort with "Sarah's Choice", a novel that follows the emotional journey of a woman who is caught in a situation where every option seems to be an impossible choice.  Sarah has turned her back on God after the loss of her father, yet at the same times blames him for abandoning her. After taking on the financial burden of paying off the debts he left behind so that her mother is not crushed under the bills, Sarah is focused on getting a promotion that will help her start living again. She is convinced that the pay increase, followed by a new car and apartment, will turn her bleak life around. When she finds out she's pregnant, she doesn't believe she can count on her boyfriend to stand by her as he's never shown himself to be responsible but is always chasing one scheme after another. As all the people in her life try to make her choose the path they feel is best for her, Sarah must discover what she believes, and find the courage to make the right choice. As with their prior collaboration (The Merciful Scar), I greatly enjoyed this latest book from these talented authors. While the book is primarily aimed at women, I think that anyone would enjoy delving into this story, and discovering the plans God has for our lives. The issue of abortion is a difficult one indeed, both for women and for men who are also impacted by the decision to end the life of a child. The authors have done a fantastic job at looking at the issue from many different angles, exploring the many reasons abortion is considered, and the terrible emotional fallout arising from such decisions. I also like the mysterious supernatural element to the story where Sarah is given visions of the possible future should she choose to keep the baby or abort. Other deep themes like forgiveness and reconciliation are also explored, along with the role of men as fathers and the need for men to man up and take responsibility for their choices as well. The words flow smoothly, and I found my emotions to be deeply engaged as I read through the story. The characters are realistic and ones I easily connected with, and I found myself wishing I could meet them again in future novels! Poignant, moving, and ultimately hopeful, "Sarah's Choice" is a wonderful book. 4.5 out of 5 stars. A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.