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Paperback Book Details
  • 12/2020
  • 9781948225922 B08RG4PBZS
  • 296 pages
  • $15.99
Ebook Details
  • 12/2020
  • 1948225921 B08RG4PBZS
  • 298 pages
  • $2.99
Phillip Vega
Searching for Sarah
Phillip Vega, author
Nina’s will reads: “I don’t want one of those generic funerals, where everyone gathers and cries. Be creative. I want something outside the box. You and Sarah can work on this together.” Her brother, Tom’s reaction: “Who the hell is Sarah?” To solve this mystery and honor a final wish, Tomas Ruiz uses Nina’s private journals to guide his global search for the enigmatic Sarah. Frustration mounts as he delves deeper into his sister’s past, uncovering secrets that will change his life forever. Will Tom overcome the seemingly never-ending obstacles and find the mysterious Sarah before putting his sister to rest? This interracial LGBTQ+ love story reaches beyond the grave and straight into your heart.
In this introspective drama, Vega (The Captain & the Queen) essentially tells two intertwined stories about Dominican-American siblings on separate paths in life. Following the sudden death of his beloved older sister Nina, Tomas Ruiz is shocked to learn that she was gay—a secret Nina kept from him for many years. Appointed executor of Nina’s estate, Tom must settle her affairs and plan her funeral. Her will dictates that he work with Sarah, her long-time partner, a woman whose whereabouts are a mystery. While trying to track Sarah down, Tom studies Nina’s journals, gradually uncovering the parts of her life she never shared with him, including her journey of self-exploration and acceptance.

Nina is the story’s heart, as Tomas and readers discover her attempts to balance her personal life and her career as a lawyer, especially the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated profession and a lesbian coming to terms with her sexuality. Told through engaging flashbacks, Nina’s story unfolds from her own perspective, shedding light on her distinctive odyssey. As a result, Tom’s own arc, serving as both a framing device and a postscript to Nina’s life, feels less explored and not quite as gripping. The journal entries, although an entertaining conceit, threaten to keep readers removed from the intimacy of Nina’s own experiences.

However, Vega does an excellent job of infusing the story with telling personal details, allowing readers to get a feel for the Latin culture that ties the Ruiz family together during their trials. While Vega’s narrative voice for Nina’s segment of the tale is sometimes shaky, and the excerpts from her journals not as compelling as the full-fledged flashbacks, her development as a character is persuasive. The romance between Nina and Sarah is moving and believable, making the inevitable tragic conclusion all the more heartbreaking. Overall, Searching for Sarah is a polished, entertaining work.

Takeaway: This tale of love and loss will appeal to readers looking for a character-driven, family-focused, lesbian romance.

Great for fans of: Terri de La Pena’s Margins, Gabby Rivera’s Juliet Takes a Breath.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: B

Books Shelf's Reviews

Wonderful story!

This is my first time reading a book from this author but it won't be the last. Phillip Vega has his way with words.
Searching for Sarah is one rollercoaster of emotions for the reader. Truly amazing book. The story is interesting, there are suspense and lots of twists along the way. The love story is also very moving.
I'm glad I read this book and I will surely read more from the author.

I recommend a hundred percent.

BookViral Reviews

In Last Exit To Montauk Vega gave us a dazzling story of first love that danced through the sights and sounds of Long Island in the 1980s.  Establishing himself as an author not given to serving up the archetypal romance. And in Searching for Sarah he once again gives us a read that is both incredibly moving and wholly original.

He understands that the best romance novels pivot not only on authentic dialogue but the silent musings that occupy the minds of their characters and by keeping thoughts unspoken, by allowing a narrative to show instead of having words telling, much greater depth and sensory details can be achieved. Allowing readers to “be in the room” with the characters.

Searching for Sarah is not simply a novel about love and not about sex, though both have their place. It’s about an idea. About ingrained prejudices, missed opportunities and events beyond our control. It’s about not letting life slip through our fingers. About seizing the moment and all the scenes between Nina and Sarah, Tom and Gabi instinctively find the right notes and shadings.

The framing mechanism involving Nina’s journals is perfectly pitched allowing Vega to unfalteringly capture the emotional tone of past events. And it’s here that the real magic happens. Weaving a spell that is based on that particular knowledge of love and self that only comes with our older years.

A superb release from Vega, Searching For Sarah proves wholly enthralling and without question will attract many new fans to Vega’s inspired novels. It is unreservedly recommended and a BookViral five-star read!

InD’tale Magazine

Sometimes the people who are the closest are the ones who are the farthest. Tom is a loving brother. Nina is the best sister he could ask for, but when tragedy strikes in their adult life and their moments together end, the only way Tom can get to know the pieces of Nina he missed is to read her journals. As a proud Dominican, Nina placed family and hard work first. She blazed a trail through law school and right into a high-paying position with a respected law firm. She visited her mom as often as possible and spoiled her brother’s kids every chance she got. But Nina had secrets. She kept her personal life private for a reason. If Tom wants to truly understand his sister’s heart and unlock the mystery of Sarah, he’ll have to read the words Nina left behind.

Readers looking for an engrossing love story wrapped inside a captivating family drama will find it and much more in “Searching for Sarah”. Phillip Vega’s tale of family secrets, love, regret, and hidden romance snares readers and leads them on a rewarding journey to a shocking, emotional end. The chemistry of the romance is clear and present, though the emotional investment between the lovers could have achieved even greater heights. Mr. Vega’s well-crafted plot is carried along by titillating journal entries and real-time segments in Tom’s life. Flashbacks through Nina’s life flesh out the missing pieces, making “Searching for Sarah” a complex, but smooth read. This heartfelt, respectful LGBTQ read will leave the reader honored to have been invited into the sacred space of honest love and enduring family bonds.

Readers' Favorite

Searching for Sarah by Phillip Vega is a novel for readers who enjoy well-crafted and emotionally moving stories with LGBTQ themes. Still grieving over the death of Nina, his sister, Tom Ruiz sets out to fulfill her dying wish; a journey to unravel the mystery of a woman named Sarah. The only thing he has is Nina’s personal journal. As he begins to look for clues through his sister’s diary, he is startled by the fact that he never even knew her at all, because she had a life partner that Tom did not know. Finding Sarah becomes an adventure that reveals a lot about family dynamics, prejudices, and a love so pure it is inspiring. Will he be able to find Sarah and discover who she is?

Phillip Vega is a great storyteller and an author who writes from the heart. This heartwarming tale will bring tears to the eyes of readers, warm their hearts, and have them reflecting on themes of love, family, and commitment. It is a suspenseful story filled with well-drawn and sophisticated characters. The author writes about family dynamics in a powerful way, using emotions and feelings to enrich the characters and creating situations that enable readers to appreciate the humanity of these characters. Searching for Sarah is a profoundly emotional story that will touch readers at deep and personal levels; it is a story of the triumph of love and its beauty, and fans of LGBTQ will find it irresistible. I found myself rooting for the characters, wanting to discover what will happen at the end of the road as I watched the frustrations in Tom. It is both inspiring and entertaining, one of those rare books that capture honest emotions and strong sentiments of love and loyalty.

Underrated Reads

This is a love story. Not that Love Story but a NEW love story. A mother’s love for her two adult children. A parent’s love for their children. A love for a sibling, a colleague, love of a mentor, the love of your life. How far would you go for that love? How loud would you shout your love from the rooftops? Love can be complicated and love can be simple.

This is a story of love over the years between our narrator, Tom and his sister, Nina. His journey begins at her death and the reading of her will. The attorney reads out Nina’s wishes and Tom is left asking “Who is Sarah?”

Nina’s ‘coming-out’ story is revealed to us through her journals. Tom is reading and learning about her after she has passed away.

Phillip Vega has crafted a good ‘mystery’ as we all discover who SARAH is and we search to understand her throughout the book. Why is she important to Nina? What happened to her? How does she fit into Nina’s life as a lawyer?

I enjoyed this book because it was a pleasant read and definitely relatable. After Nina’s death, we fly back and forth from Florida to New York and experience two different lifestyles: Tom’s ‘family’ life vs. Nina’s ‘single’ life – the difference isn’t only financial. Nina is a very successful lawyer, even winning a case in the Supreme Court. Tom and his wife Gabi are raising two kids and enjoying the slower pace in Florida. Tom is proud of his Dominican heritage, Gabi is a proud Cuban descendent, Nina is a proud gay woman and Sarah is? Where IS Sarah?

The author keeps us engaged until the very end – he has created characters that we care about. If you like reading terms of endearment in a variety of languages, you will enjoy this novel. And if you can embrace different types of love connections, you will truly appreciate this story.

Congratulazioni and Felicidades to Phillip Vega for writing a lovely story.

Book Excellence Awards, Winner, LGBTQ/Fiction, 2021

Phillip Vega’s book helps the LGBTQ community spread the message of love and personal truth.

[Tampa, March 17, 2021] – Phillip Vega‘s Searching for Sarah won a Book Excellence Award in LGBTQ Fiction. Founded in Toronto, Ontario, the Book Excellence Awards is an international book awards competition dedicated to recognizing both independent and traditionally published authors and publishers for excellence in writing, design, and overall market appeal.

The book has already received some great reviews from industry leaders. “Readers looking for an engrossing love story wrapped inside a captivating family drama will find it and much more in Searching for Sarah”, wrote Starling Gray, InD’Tale Magazine.

Ruffina Oserio, Readers' Favorite said, “Searching for Sarah is a profoundly emotional story that will touch readers at deep and personal levels; it is a story of the triumph of love and its beauty, and fans of LGBTQ will find it irresistible.”

About the Author – Phillip Vega has always been a storyteller, but he’d never put pen to paper until a few years ago. Suddenly, he had a publishing contract, and in the midst of the vortex of marketing, analytics, refining, and continuing to write, he discovered what he defines as his true calling, his passion. He is now fully and happily immersed in the whirlwind that is the publishing industry, even as he diligently continues his work in software sales.

About the Book Excellence Awards – Founded in Toronto, Canada, the Book Excellence Awards is an international book awards competition dedicated to recognizing both independent and traditionally published authors for excellence in writing, design, and overall market appeal. Previous Winners and Finalists of the Book Excellence Awards have been New York Times best-sellers, spoken at the United Nations and TEDx, and have had their books optioned by movie studios. To learn more, visit:

Paperback Book Details
  • 12/2020
  • 9781948225922 B08RG4PBZS
  • 296 pages
  • $15.99
Ebook Details
  • 12/2020
  • 1948225921 B08RG4PBZS
  • 298 pages
  • $2.99