Book Review: The Stealing by S.A. Sutila


She chose to die.
Now she chooses to live. And love.

Sarah Vise’s life is a literal dead-end street. Abandoned by her mother as a child, she lives on a coastal road to nowhere, working endless hours on her domineering father’s fishing boat in the shadow of a run-down lighthouse. As her high school graduation approaches, the end of the relentless monotony seems to be on the horizon. She is accepted into college and has an intriguing encounter with Grant Eriksen, the tall, blue-eyed neighbor who appears intent on making amends for past mistakes.

But when Sarah’s father forbids her from going away to college, she is forced to face a future without hope. Sarah decides to surrender her life to the sea.

Grant saves her from drowning, but that night her weakened spirit is carried to a dreamy afterlife world, where a handsome hunter-sage takes her under his wing. Sarah is happy to remain with him until she learns he is even more possessive and dangerous than the men in her “real” life.

To escape his clutches, she makes a terrible bargain. He will return her to the life she now so desperately desires. She will be free to follow her heart, but only for a while. The clock is ticking.

Once she fulfills her end of the bargain, he will steal her spirit again. Forever.

My Thoughts

I was excited to join the book tour of The Stealing by S.A. Sutila for two reasons, 1) the Delaware vibe 2) supernatural YA is a favorite of mine.

The Stealing was a nice pallet cleanser from books I have been reading. I was quickly pulled into this eerie chaotic tale. The story moves quickly. I would read two chapters and think “what’s a few more,” and before I knew it was done with the book. I loved the little hints at the Delaware landscape and locations. Having lived in Delaware, it gave the story a homey feel.

I enjoyed the darkness surrounding Sarah, the main character. This may be a deal breaker for some readers. She has had a troubled life, bringing her unhappiness and a plan to start a new life after high school. Her family life is not great and she has been bullied for most of her childhood. As if that is not enough for her to deal with, one of her childhood bullies, admits to liking Sarah. Sarah and Grant navigate their budding relationship awkwardly.

Sarah carries the weight of her trauma and then some, building the perfect storm for her to act recklessly once her father breaks the news she will not be leaving after high school. I have to warn The Stealing covers themes such as suicide, abuse, and dark thoughts. If you do not feel comfortable reading about topics, such as those, this is not the book for you.

As much as I disliked Sarah’s father as a character, I liked him. I felt as if he embodied the harshness of the sea. He was cold and rough, which shaped a problematic relationship with Sarah. I loved the details of Sarah working on the boat with her father and really the sea life element as a whole. Unfortunately, Sarah’s father was not the only character to treat Sarah unkindly, most of the male characters in The Stealing were problematic.

Overall, S.A. Sutila crafts the perfect eerie sea town. I loved the gothic feel, the haunting darkness, and the supernatural elements. If you are looking for a quick read look no further than The Stealing.

About the Author

“Business is the ultimate romantic journey, after all.”

Inspired by her own upbringing on the haunting, rugged coast of Delaware, first time novelist Sharon Sutila wrote The Stealing in the isolating lockdowns of 2020, creating a modern reincarnation of the classic gothic romance and a heroine fighting serious issues all too relevant today.

Like the protagonist, Sutila fought against a gender-role bias and graduated from the University of South Florida in Engineering Technology she become a licensed private investigator and CEO of her own firm, Cluso Investigation. Sutila is an industry expert in global identity fraud, a private pilot, a conference speaker, and a dedicated breaker of barriers for women.

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