Westside Books, March 2010
Summary from Goodreads:
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.This was a powerful book, and quite realistic. It didn't surprise me at all to read in the author's note that Cheryl herself was a victim of sexual abuse and had turned to self-harm to cope. The cutting scenes were just that realistic for me.
I was a little conflicted by the mystery aspect of the story. The story was certainly propelled by Kenda's need to know who her assailant was, and why he's chosen now to begin stalking her. I did get a sense that too much emphasis was placed on the mystery--that once she discovered who had attacked her, she would be (almost) healed. I absolutely agree that knowing will offer up some closure for Kendra, but I don't think anyone can just simply recover from a sexual attack like that.
However, I did enjoy all of the characters in this story, and thought they were very strong. Even though she feels very alone, Kendra is actually supported by some awesome people: Sandy, a family friend; Mrs. Archer, her art teacher; her therapist (whose name currently escapes me); and Meghan, a new friend--who might become more than a friend. I also liked that Kendra was an artist, and a talented one at that.
Kendra's parents--well, they disgusted me. And that makes for a realistic story. I was better able to understand Kendra's coping mechanisms knowing that her parents (especially Mom) were utter idiots. What's that? We're having money problems? Well, of course it makes perfect sense to uproot our unstable daughter from the only home she's ever known, make her leave her friends and give up therapy! Let's do it all at once--like ripping off a Band-Aid! It'll only hurt for a minute, then you'll be fine! (By the way, I don't believe that at all. I'm a slowly-peel-the-Band-Aid-off kind of girl.)
While an emotional read, Scars is also a strong mystery thriller, and readers should be quite surprised by the end of the novel.
Borrowed book from library.
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