Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Title:  Scars
Author:  Cheryl Rainfield
Release date:  March 24, 2010
Publisher:  WestSide Books
Pages:  250
Genre:  Young adult fiction
Source:  Publisher

Fifteen-year-old Kendra has scars all up and down her arms which she hides from everyone in her life.  Kendra is a cutter and she mutilates her own body in order to escape the emotional scars that ravage her mind and soul.  See, Kendra was sexually abused for years – she actually doesn’t recall when it started and stopped, but she knows that she spent a good part of her life being abused and raped by someone close to her family.  The problem is, she doesn’t know who the person was who did this to her.  And she knows that she must keep his identity a secret, so she doesn’t allow her mind to go there, doesn’t allow her mind to process the identity of this person.  But now that she’s in therapy, her therapist is getting dangerously close to pulling the truth out of her.  Not only that, but she’s starting to fall in love, and it won’t be long before her love interest sees her scars and realizes the extent of her pain.  As she gets closer to the truth of who her abuser was, she has more and more breakdowns as this person begins stalking her, threatening her, and reminding her of her place.  Will she find out who he is?  And will the healing powers of her therapist and her new girlfriend help her through the pain?

Scars sort of reminds me of another YA book I read recently about cutting called Willow (my review).  The books are quite different, but I would say that if you read and enjoyed Willow you will most likely appreciate Scars as well.  And I haven’t seen this book get too much attention, which is unfortunate as it is a really excellent book for teens and young adults.

The best thing about this novel, in my opinion, is the main character, Kendra.  She is just such an honest and raw character, I completely believed her.  She had been through SUCH a trauma and no one in her life seemed to understand or care about the pain she was in.  A few scenes actually made me cry, her pain was so palpable and I felt it right along with her.  One part in particular, when she is trying to tell her mom about the abuse (at the age of three or four) and her mom is literally ignoring her… this broke my heart into a million pieces.  I cannot describe quite how realistic Kendra is – I felt like I was getting to know a very sad, upset, and literally scarred teenager – and all I wanted to do was help her.

I highly enjoyed the way Kendra’s relationship with Meaghan was portrayed in the book.  She was in a relationship with a girl, but Rainfield didn’t make it out to be this big issue that some other books have a tendency to do.  There were clearly people in Kendra’s life who took issue with her sexuality, but there was no “hi, I’m a lesbian” moment in the book.  It was just Kendra, being herself, being attracted to girls and finally finding the right person who could appreciate her and, ultimately, help her heal.

I must admit that I correctly predicted the identity of Kendra’s abuser, but that didn’t make it any less heart-wrenching when Kendra finally figured it out for herself.  If anything, it was the opposite – sort of like realizing that two cars are about to have a huge accident and being completely unable to stop it.  You know there’s major destruction about to happen, and not only are you unable to prevent it, but you also can’t tear your eyes away.  That was exactly what happened when Kendra remembered the identity of her abuser – complete destruction.  But in the end, it was exactly what she needed to do to begin down the road of healing.

I could go on forever about Scars, but I would rather you read it for yourself.  This is an extremely powerful novel about one girl’s path to self-destruction and back again.  Highly recommended.

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27 thoughts on “Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

  1. i work in a high school and am always on the lookout for students exhibiting signs like these. this book might be worthwhile to read and pass on to my kiddos. they are always on the lookout for good YA with realistic narrators and characters. thanks for tipping me off about such a powerful book about an important topic.

  2. I’m sold on this one. I’m a huge cheerleader for Willow..love the rawness, intensity, honesty, and how authentic the story was. This one sounds like another important book. I work in a middle school…cutters exist. I love how people try to deny these important facts…HELLO wake up!

  3. Kendra’s story sounds heartbreaking.. but the book seems worth reading. As a mom of a teenager I find cutting quite scary especially since I’ve heard that it seems to be quite common these days. Thank you for your great review!

    1. My advice for you is talk with your teenager and have them know you will always be there to listen to their problems and they won’t hurt themselves.

  4. I just got this book at the library.
    I’ve also read Willow, which was a very good book, but very…unrealistic. I still liked it anyway though.
    Anyway, I’m also writing my own novel called The Scar Collector. It may be a work of fiction, but it is also very autobiographical.

  5. I love the engaging cahpters of scars and honestly as a student in a Catholic middle school I didn’t think kids would cut themselves. I have been proven wrong many times and someway or another reading this book has helped them stop. So, this book is FABULOUS!!!!!!!!!

  6. This book is absolutly AMAZING! I wish there could bea story told by meghans side also from the pains she has suffered.

  7. i was compleetly sold on this book just by the cover. i used to cut, myself. but for compleetly difrent reasons than this. althou i do no a freind who was a rape victem.

  8. Actually…I am a cutter. I’m in middle school, which is probally a young age for self injuring. 😛 But i’ve sorta been on the lookout for books like these….I’ll find time to read this:)

  9. I loved this book so much. As a cutter myself, it explained a lot of feelings that people don’t seem to understand.

  10. I loved this book so much. As a cutter myself, it explained a lot of feelings that people don’t seem to understand.

  11. This book was like the story of my life years ago except it wasnt my father. My niece actually is the one who told me i had to read it as she is one of the few I’ve told since we’re very close. I cried for hours and it brought up a lot of memories, but to see a story out there (true or not) made me realize I really wasnt as alone as I felt. I recomend this book to so many people now 🙂

  12. This book, It honestly Spoke to me…. Kendra’s story reminds me sooooo muuch of my own life, and i guesss by reading it, it made it easier for me to not feel “alone” I myself was a cutter and delt with abuse, and have had People critisize me for my atraction to some girls… I guess what im tryin to say is this book is a very VERY good book, And id most DEFFINETLY Read it Over and Over again. 🙂

  13. i havnt read this book yet but the moment i get home im ordering it!! i used to cut.. i got better and then i fell right back into my depression of my past and started cutting again.. i stuggle to get better and by the looks of it this book has helped others so its deff a book il look into asap! ❤

    1. You should, it is a amazing book. I couldn’t put it down. I read like the whole thing in a day and a half. It really does make you understand cutting, and it has a twisting ending. Hope you like it. 😀

  14. i use to cause harm to myself because of what happened but after reading a child called it the lost boy willow and scars it made me realize im not the only one who has promblems with depression and just as well as they gotten through this imma get throught this

  15. I never liked to read but when I began reading this I couldn’t even put the book down.
    It is one of my faverote books ever

  16. I read this book years ago…think none of what happened to her would happen to me. It did. This book helped me realized things do get better. As now while things are at their worst with my cutting and therapy and the investigation of my sexual abuse I am now reading it again to let me know that one day things will be better

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