- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 250 pages
- Publisher: Westside Books; First edition (March 24, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 193481332X
- ISBN-13: 978-1934813324
- Author's Website: http://www.cherylrainfield.com/
- Author's Twitter: http://twitter.com/CherylRainfield
Kendra, fifteen, hasn't felt safe since she began to recall devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse, especially because she still can't remember the most important detail-- her abuser's identity. Frightened, Kendra believes someone is always watching and following her, leaving menacing messages only she understands. If she lets her guard down even for a minute, it could cost Kendra her life. To relieve the pressure, Kendra cuts; aside from her brilliantly expressive artwork, it's her only way of coping. Since her own mother is too self-absorbed to hear her cries for help, Kendra finds support in others instead: from her therapist and her art teacher, from Sandy, the close family friend who encourages her artwork, and from Meghan, the classmate who's becoming a friend and maybe more. But the truth about Kendra's abuse is just waiting to explode, with startling unforeseen consequences. Scars is the unforgettable story of one girl's frightening path to the truth.
It's hard to talk about a book like this and say that I liked it. The subject is so overwhelming, that "like" just doesn't fit. It absolutely held my attention. I felt a range of emotions throughout the entire book. Anger, sadness, fear, sometimes hope, and always disbelief that anyone could go through what Kendra had to go through and survive. I can't imagine going through every day life with this kind of pain. How she could be expected to care about school, classes, etc. when she was dealing with the memory of being raped since she was two years old is unfathomable. And to know that her attacker was still out there, ready to hurt her again if she ever remembered and told who he was...
I've never read a book about cutting before. I think it was a really good thing for a mother of a teenager to read. It really helped me to understand what goes on in the mind of someone who cuts. The hurt that she is trying to escape from, and yet at the same time is trying to express in a visible way. I think Cheryl did a really good job of explaining what Kendra was going through, which is not surprising because Cheryl has lived though a similar experience herself. The book was a mixture of Kendra's irrational thoughts about blame, guilt, and insecurity but at the same time, very logical thoughts about why she was doing what she was doing, and how it really wasn't her fault at all. I think this was a good approach, because if someone is going through this kind of hurt, she will relate to Kendra's thoughts, but then will be able to see that she is not to blame, and hopefully be able to see that she can trust people to help her.
Scars not only dealt with the trauma of rape and cutting, but it also had an element of mystery. The end of the book read like a horror movie. As Kendra works to figure out who it was that raped her, letting the memories flood her, and realizes that she is being stalked and threatened by the man who harmed her. My heart was racing as I came to the explosive ending of this book.
Overall, I think SCARS a very powerful book. One that would be good for abuse survivors, people who self-injure, and for adults who need to know the signs of abuse that teens are trying to show them but don't know how. I hurt for Kendra, and for all children that have gone through abuse. Thankfully there are books like this, and resources (which Cheryl helpfully provides at the end of her book) that can help teens learn how to cope with the abuse they have suffered.
Pirate Penguin's Reads about her struggle with cutting and dealing with her abuse. I learned from reading the interview that the arms on the cover are hers. If you're interested in reading the interview, you can check it out here.
You can check out the other blogs on this tour here: http://theteenbookscene.weebly.com/scars-tour-details.html
Enter to Win a SIGNED hardback copy of SCARS!
Ends 9/24, winner will be announced during Second Hand Saturday post 9/25.
You may want to know: This book deals with the difficult subject of sexual abuse, with some details given. There is also quite a bit of cussing and some scary/tense situations, and some sexual dialog and kissing. For more information, go to SCARS on Parental Book Reviews.