Sara Gruen’s Best Books 📚

Sara Gruen is a novelist who uses well-researched details to present themes in her books. The prominent theme in all of her works is love of animals.

Sara Gruen

Canadian-American Writer

Sara Gruen is a novelist that has some bestselling and award-winning novels to her credit. She uses her art to create awareness about human relationships and Animal Rights. Her most famous book is the 2006 circus novel Water for Elephants. Her other books include Riding Lessons (2004), Flying Changes (2005) Water for Elephants (2006), Ape House (2010), At the Water’s Edge (2015), and a 2016 children’s book titled, Fawnie Stops Pushing Things Off. Read below to know more about Sara Gruen’s books.

Riding Lessons

Sara Gruen made her writing debut with this contemporary novel Riding Lessons. Riding Lessons is the story of Annemarie Zimmer, an equestrian Olympic player whose riding career is cut short by a riding accident that kills her favorite horse and leaves her with a perpetual fear of riding horses.

Leaving her small town in New Hampshire and memories of her eventful youth behind, she moves to Minneapolis where she marries and has a daughter.

Twenty years later, everything comes crashing on her with the loss of her job, her husband leaving her for a younger woman, her daughter in danger of expulsion from school, and her father falling ill. She is forced to return to her home now as an adult, but the unresolved issues of her youth continue to haunt her and threaten her relationship with everyone in her life.

Riding Lessons is followed by a sequel titled Flying Changes.

Flying Changes

Annemarie Zimmer, the quirky protagonist from Riding Lessons returns in this 2005 sequel. In Flying Changes, Annemarie, who as a teenager suffered from a riding accident as an equestrian Olympic contender relives her fears as her teenage daughter Eva decides to become an equestrian Olympic contender too.

In addition to the parenting challenges of having a surly teenager, Annemarie struggles in her love life as well as the spark in her relationship with the man she loves waxes cold. As Annemarie struggles to resolve issues of her past, the present brings more challenges to undermine her past victories, and she must deal with tragedy and pain but her ultimate victory will be determined by her courage to face flying changes.

Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen Digital Art
Water for Elephants Digital Art

Water for Elephants is the most famous of the Sara Gruen books. The story is narrated by the character Jacob Jancowski, a hale and hearty old man in his nineties as he flashes back to the days of his youth as a veterinarian in a traveling circus.

Water for Elephants alternates between two timelines— we see Jacob Jankowski as a twenty-three-year-old who inadvertently finds himself working in a circus where he must confront forbidden love and a cruel boss, then as a ninety or ninety-three-year-old man who feels betrayed by his family for confining him to a nursing home for old people where everything is regimented and dull.

Water for Elephants earned Sara Gruen some awards, accolades, and the renowned position of a bestselling author. The novel is widely praised for its detailed depiction of the 1930s circus and its endearing portrayal of animals.

Ape House

This 2010 novel by Sara Gruen focuses on themes of Animal Rights and Evolution. Ape House is about a research facility run by a researcher Isabel Duncan who studies communication with bonobo apes. John is a reporter assigned to write about Isabel’s facility.

The plot unfolds when Isabel’s facility gets bombed. We see an unexpectedly high level of intellect in the apes, human exploitation of these great apes, and the intricacies of relationships between humans and animals. The novel got a well-deserved good reception by the literary world because of Gruen’s educative storytelling in this piece.

At The Water’s Edge

At the Water’s Edge (2015) is a novel by Sara Gruen which follows Maddie and Ellis, socialites who travel from the United States to Scotland to hunt the famous Loch Ness, a creature whom Ellis wealthy father had tried to hunt in the past but failed. Ellis hopes that successfully hunting Loch Ness will make him regain his lost position with his father in their 1940s society social ranks.

Maddie and Ellis are joined in the venture by their friend Hank. As they get to Scotland, the venture takes a different turn with Maddie making discoveries and finding love and friendship in unexpected places.

Fawnie Stops Pushing Things Off

Fawnie Stops Pushing Things Off by Sara Gruen is a children’s book about a deer called Fawnie who procrastinates walking so much that her brothers, her friends, and her grandma device many treats to entice her into walking. They keep her food farther away from her, keep shiny presents in corners of the forest, and a lot more, but she remains content just to lie back and relax in the forest.

It is a fun book with lessons for children about the problems of procrastination. It was published in August 2016.


What books has Sara Gruen written?

Sara Gruen has written six books in total — five novels and a children’s book. Her first novel is titled Riding Lessons (2004), followed by Flying Changes (2005), Water for Elephants (2006), Ape House (2010), At the Water’s Edge (2015) and Fawnie Stops Pushing Things Off (2016).

When is Sara Gruen’s birthday?

Sara Gruen was born on June 26, 1969. She is currently 53 years old.

Where is Sara Gruen?

Sara Gruen is in the United States of America. She currently lives in Ashville, North Carolina where she owns a home with her family.

Onyekachi Osuji
About Onyekachi Osuji
Onyekachi is a lecturer of Public Administration and a Literature enthusiast. After gaining accreditation in English Literature, Onyeka analyzes novels on Book Analysis, whilst working as an academic and writing short stories.
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