Published by Delacorte on October 1, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: The Publisher, Blog Tour
Cover Artist: Jennifer Heuer
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
This book is so engrossing and emotionally compelling that I read it in one evening! I was immediately drawn in by the concept: Ava is the sole survivor of a house fire that claimed the lives of her parents and her cousin—she’s now recovering from burns that covered over 60% of her body and living with her aunt and uncle, who are also trying to hold it together after the loss of their daughter in the very fire that almost claimed Ava’s life. Right there, you can see why the emotional stakes of the story are so incredibly high. Not only is Ava struggling to adapt to her “new normal” after being disfigured in the fire, but she’s dealing with the loss of her parents and the guilt of surviving when her cousin didn’t.
The cast of characters is wonderful. Asad is a hilariously geeky guy (in a theater-geek sort of way), and you can understand how Ava starts to fall for him, especially when he doesn’t seem to see her for only her scars. And, though at first it seems that Piper might be the stereotypical peppy best friend—she sees to handle her own scars and injuries due to a car accident with cheery optimism and a get-yourself-out-there attitude—as the book progresses you start to suspect there might be more to her story than she’s letting on. Throughout the book, the stories of the accidents that caused Piper’s and Ava’s injuries unspool, and you don’t find out all the details until almost the end—a touch of mystery that keeps you turning the pages. The friendships in the story are realistic and complex and not without their difficult moments, which makes them feel that much more “earned” in the end.
Basically, I loved this book. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me want to keep reading until the very last page!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
(Note: This review can also be found in my Bite-Sized Review Post)
About the Author & Illustrator
Erin Stewart is the author of SCARS LIKE WINGS, her debut novel. Erin is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern and a BYU undergraduate who works as a freelance writer and editor, as well as a weekly columnist in Salt Lake City.
Erin lives in Utah with her husband and three children. She is represented by the amazing Brianne Johnson of Writers House.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of SCARS LIKE WINGS, US Only
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I can’t imagine how hard it would be to go on after being burned and having scars.
Yes, it would be quite difficult to deal with, I’m sure.
This character is living one of my worst fears–burns are so horribly painful. This will be hard to read because of the strong emotions it will bring out, but this is a must read for me.
I can’t even imagine living through a fire—I agree!
thanks for sharing
This is one I was definitely interested in as well. I can’t wait to see your review when you get it finished.
I have been hearing more and more about this book lately, and it definitely sounds like one I don’t want to miss out on. It sounds like emotional strength is at the forefront of this novel, and that it is handled incredibly well.
Yes, you should definitely read it!
I don’t know how I missed this post, but I adored this book. I agree with everything you said, and Stewart did such a beautiful job telling Ava’s story. Hit me right in the feels in the best way.
I have this review scheduled to go up in a bite-sized review post in two days, but I also snuck it in here so it would be with my tour post (which is why you missed it—this was originally a spotlight post). 🙂
I saw your review on Goodreads, and even though this was already on my TBR, I definitely need it!
Glad that you found me on Goodreads and that this book was already on your radar—it definitely deserves to be there!
I just read your review and WOW yep I need this book in my life, no question! It sounds AMAZING!
I totally fell in love with these characters—it takes a lot to make me cry at a book lately, but this one definitely did the trick.