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.
After seeing what Scars was first about, I'll admit I was a bit hesitant- mainly because I'm not very used to reading the contemporary genre. BUT! (yes there is a but) after I read the first chapter, I was honestly already hooked. It started off with what I assumed would be a slow start, the main character Kendra is in her therapists office, talking about the sexual abuse she went through and about her rapist. Then things got exciting. We learn that Kendra is not only partaking in self harm, but that the man who sexually abused her might be following her.
How do we know this? Well, first we get wrenched into a memory of her abuse. From that point on (still in the first chapter) my heart was pounding. How did I know that I was going to love the book? Because to end the chapter, Kendra gets a note from him.
Scars was a novel that I found myself reading without stopping. It's one of those novels that you just can't put down. Cheryl Rainfield's writing was one of those descriptive yet thoughtful styles where you can vividly imagine everything and still feel the pain and emotions that Kendra did. I even found myself shivering and staring at my arms whenever the detailing of splitting skin during a cut was written.
As for the main character Kendra, I thought of her as a strong and tortured character. Her home life was one that I found irritating. The fact that her mother constantly blamed herself for what happened to Kendra and was always yelling at her about not letting her in had me clawing at the pages (in a good way) because her mother never tried to help Kendra during the abuse. As for her father, he seems alright (*narrows eyes*). Back to Kendra! I felt like she went through some of those more painful and touchy subjects that lead most teenagers to suicide (sexual abuse, homosexuality, self harm, etc.) and it was commonly referenced in the book that Kendra used to consider killing herself.
The entire novel was a mystery too, I was constantly trying to figure out who Kendra's stalker/abuser was. Rainfield planted the idea of so many people Kendra knew as her stalker/abuser who was commonly referenced to as him. I am happy to admit that by the time I was guessing who he actually was, the novel finally revealed who Kendra's abuser was and it is definitely one of those twists that you NEVER saw coming.
I recommend this to any fans of the contemporary genre, mystery or just want a good fast paced read in general. Scars is one of those novels that you continue thinking about long after you finish it. You won't be able to forget Kendra's story and struggle to stop her self harm and to find out who hurt her before things get too dangerous...