Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Reading level: Young Adult
Publisher: Westside Books
First edition: March 24, 2010
Source: The Teen {Book} Scene
Language: English

Synopsis: 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 has been so long since I've read a contemporary novel and Scars, with its raw subject matter, was the right book to yank me out of my fantasy kick. Kendra is a character who readers will immediately identify with because Rainfield did a fantastic job of making her protagonist's voice sound genuine; Kendra, however, suffers from a terrible tragedy that very few of us can even fathom. As a survivor of sexual abuse, her attitude towards everyone around her and herself has always been tainted with doubt and leaves her in a painful and lonely place in life. Kenda's emotions of confusion and despair rolled off the pages and seeped into me that as the reader I couldn't help feeling concern for her, hoping that she'd find the emotional strength to cope and forge ahead in life.

While the main focus of Scars is Kendra trying to come to terms with the abuse she endured, Rainfield skillfully incorporated other elements to the story that served as undercurrents to the novel's plot. The issue of self-harm, or in Kendra's case, cutting, really magnified the emotional pain that she felt and through her self-destructive actions the author was able to show the reader why the act of cutting helps take away the pain, if only for a while. Sexual orientation (specifically Kendra's) is also touched upon and is done in a positive way with the subtle message of acceptance. These topics are handled smoothly and instead of taking attention away from the central plot, they help guide the reader into understanding Kendra's character and her situation with more clarity.

Steadfast and powerful, Scars is a harrowing glimpse into the life of a survivor of sexual abuse and her painful journey to discover the truth of why, and who, did this to her.  Cheryl Rainfield has created something inspirational with her novel and I have no doubt that it will give comfort to those that suffered and a better understanding to those that haven't. Scars is a brave book that pays homage to the power of human strength, understanding and love.

Rating: 4.0


  1. Yet Another Great Review Pirate P! I've been seeing Scars reviewed a lot recently and am now starting to consider aqquiring a copy, thanks for helping me to make up my mind :)

  2. this is such a fantastically written review! well done. i think i'll enjoy this but have to wait until i;m in the right mood...


  3. Sounds difficult but really good. Great review!

  4. It sounds really emotional. I don't know if I'm up to it. Great review.

  5. Really fantastic, well written review. This one sounds very intense and dark and difficult, one you have to be in the right mood for, but it sounds like it has a very powerful message. I really enjoyed reading your opinion and I'm going to be adding this one to my list!