Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

GLBT Week- Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield
"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."- summary from Amazon

This book was so haunting, raw, emotional, yet still filled with hope; Rainfield did a great job balancing all the emotions in Kendra's story. What I also really loved about this book is how it treats the lesbian aspect- it's definitely there, but it's not at the forefront or anything and a big deal isn't made about it when it does come up. Kendra already knows and has accepted that she's lesbian; yes, there is the requisite parental blowup about it but it's handled well in the scene where she comes out and they work toward accepting their daughter.

Anyway, the main focus here is Kendra's sexual abuse when she was younger and the cutting she does now to help with the pain and trauma as a result of that abuse. She has no idea who her abuser was, but as the book goes on, more memories come to light and we see the finger being pointed in several directions. It's a hard mystery to solve, and the last 50 pages were read in one big gulp because the climax and reveal were so compelling. I was honestly really shocked at who the abuser turned out to be.

The romance in the book was handled really well too. It starts off with them being friends and growing closer with each interaction and the secrets they let each other in on. I thought Kendra and Meghan made such a cute couple and I loved the scenes they had together. I also loved seeing Kendra's neighbor Sandy, a gay man, and their interactions, as well as those that involved Emil, Sandy's boyfriend. It was nice to see that she had that kind of support system outside of her family, due to her mom being a bit of a bitch and her dad being barely home.

Overall, this was a great, powerful book that featured a compelling, haunting yet hopeful story and some well-written, fleshed out characters. I did have a small complaint (though I guess it's really more of a thought than complaint) about it but it's pretty spoiler-y so if you want to discuss it with me, send me an email.

FTC: Received hardcover at ALA (signed!). Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.


  1. Well I just added another book to my ever growing pile of books to be read. :) Thanks for the great review.
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

  2. I'd seen this book around, but had no idea what it was about (beyond the cover). Now I have to check it out as soon as possible. Thanks for the review!

  3. You always write such meaningful reviews, thank you!

  4. The cover of this book is chilling and so is the premise. I would love to read this book and hope to soon. Again thank you for hosting GLBT books this week (and other weeks too!)