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YA Book Review: Scars by Cheryl Rainfield

Scars by Cheryl Rainfield is an incredibly powerful story about self-harm, rape, abuse, and homophobia written in a completely authentic and compelling (and non-overwhelming!) way. Never did I question the author’s “teen voice” or authority to tell this story. When the main character’s parents behaved in unexpected or unbelievable ways, it all felt (unfortunately) totally realistic. For me, this was the first time I really understood why someone would want to intentionally hurt themselves when they weren’t suicidal.

The story wasn’t perfect (for example, I figured out who the rapist had been pretty early on and wasn’t sure the thriller/whodunit format was necessary), but because the book was otherwise so well done and surprisingly easy to relate to (and had to have been so tricky to write for so many reasons) I found myself overlooking any problems I saw.

A worthwhile read and not just for girls and women in similar situations .

What writers can take away from this book: –how to write an emotional “issues” book without being heavy handed. –how to take personal stories and turn them into believable fiction –how to write about serious psychological/psychiatric issues while still keeping your characters relatable (as an MD, I also appreciated that the therapist character was key to the main character’s recovery and not completely useless, which often happens in these kinds of stories)

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