Relatable, heartbreaking, and real, this is a story of resilience–the perfect novel for readers of powerful contemporary fiction like Girl in Pieces and Every Last Word.
Before, I was a million things. Now I’m only one. The Burned Girl.
Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like–she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her.
A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends–no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever.
But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Piper introduces Ava to Asad, a boy who loves theater just as much as she does, and slowly, Ava tries to create a life again. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.
“A heartfelt and unflinching look at the reality of being a burn survivor and at the scars we all carry. This book is for everyone, burned or not, who has ever searched for a light in the darkness.” –Stephanie Nielson, New York Times bestselling author of Heaven Is Here and a burn survivor.
Sometimes there are books that you just cannot let go of; even after they end – Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart is EXACTLY that book for me!
Side Bar: I really shouldn’t read what looks to be an emotional read when I am PMSing – I woke my husband because I was sobbing and blubbering like a mad woman *grins*
You read the blurb, and you think, as a reader, that it would be a subject matter that you can handle (Spoiler Alert: You can’t!) – but first chapter in, I just knew I was in for a heartbreaking, emotional journey that could either become one of the recommended books i push at everyone’s faces or it could be one that had so much potential but somehow it just never survived the pressure.
Oh boy, am I glad to say that it was the former 😀
Ava, our wonderful, scrappy and oh so sarcastic protagonist lost everything in a fire – her parents, her best friend, her identity and her body as well. Now a year later, all she wants to do is live her life in a the “normal” she has built for herself; her Aunt and Uncle take care of her, she has gone through countless surgeries for reconstruction – she definitely doesn’t want to go back to regular school, where she will be – for better case scenario; ridiculed and worse case; pitied. Both are horrifying prospects for Ava.
With a little encouragement (okay: a deal & a lot of guilt) with her surrogate parents, Cora and Glenn, she agrees not only to attend group therapy for burn victims like herself but also a regular school for a short period, at the end of which the deal will be renegotiated.
We join Ava in her journey of dashed dreams, stuttered hopes and a lot of laughs and tears as she finally starts on a self healing journey and acceptance.
What I absolutely adored about Ava was that she was a highly realistic character – her hopes, struggles, her fears – oh lord her uncertainties had me sobbing in empathy for her pain, her emotions are visceral, real and gut wrenching – enough so it was a bit hard to read about at times.
But throughout the journey, she found in herself to befriend other teenagers, to understand their grief and pain without giving that scrappy, sarcastic edge of hers.
It was absolutely amazing as well to see Cora, Glenn and Ava forma little family of their own after the tragedy – while neither of them could replace what they lost; they also didn’t let the bitterness of their heartbreak overwhelm their love for each other.
Scars Like Wings is written ferociously; yet somehow brings forward the hope and a little bit of optimism that we all need in our lives – and it does so beautifully and expressively. It is a book that will stay with you long after you are done with the book.
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