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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield



Scars by Cheryl Rainfield
Publisher: WestSide Books
Genre: Contemporary
Age Recommendation: 14+
Length: Full Length (233 pgs)
Rating: 4 Suns
Reviewed by Fern

The scars that crisscross 15-year-old Kendra’s arms are not for public consumption. Her cutting is kept secret from her parents, her friends, and even her beloved therapist. But things change when she meets Meghan, a classmate whose promiscuity with boys belies her budding romantic interest in Kendra.

Scars is a dark, honest, and raw portrayal of what can occur to a victim of sexual abuse and addresses the unspoken issues that victim face. It’s not an easy read, but as someone who understands the source material, it is a very accurate depiction and I was unable to put the story down once I started reading.

Told through the voice of Kendra, a young-woman on the cusp of adulthood who has recently began reliving her abuse, the narrative is one that is impossible to deny or ignore. She’s terrified of her assailant and fears that once again he has returned to harm her or, if she doesn’t keep her promise to keep her mouth shut, kill her. As she teeter-totters from strong to frail, you’ll get sucked into the past and present. Her memories are the only thing that can save her, yet, are the very things she fears most. Adding to this is her inability to put a face to the attacker. Although she knows who it is, her mind is blocking the information. Counseling, a flourishing relationship, and her own desire to overcome the terror that has trapped her will reveal what she’s kept locked away. However, not is all as it seems, and when you finally learn the truth, you’ll struggle to breathe.

The writing is wonderful and the pace of the story never relents. Author Cheryl Rainfield has managed to get into the head of her character, breathing life into the pages. The stark realism makes what occurs credible, even if it’s not for the faint of heart.

I should warn that this is a story that should be targeted for an older, YA reader. While the book states that it is for a 14+ audience, I’d consider upping that number by a couple of years. It’s not that the message is bad but rather a parent should ensure their children are prepared to approach the subject matter (rape, molestation, homosexuality, incest, cutting, etc) with an open mind, heart, and understanding of how horrific the world can be. Not all of us live inside beautiful houses, living the dream, with only the monsters in our dreams to haunt us at night.

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