Review: Erin Stewart – Scars like wings

A while back, I stumbled upon Scars like wings by Erin Stewart. I immediately added it to my TBR, because such stories interest me. First of all, I haven’t read any book about a burn survivor in Young Adult bfore. Furthermore, this story shows courage and empowerment, themes that are explored more and more these days.

  • Representation: Burn survivor, anxiety, insecurity, depression
  • Trigger warnings: Graphic description of burns and scars, (re-experiences of) a traumatic experience, bullying, suicide attempt
Review: Erin Stewart – Scars like wingsScars like wings by Erin Stewart
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult
Published by Delacorte Press on October 3, 2019
ISBN: 9781984848826
Goodreads
four-stars

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

When starting the book, you’ll get immediately thrown into the story. Ava Lee is about to start school again after a fire made her loose nearly everything. You see her struggles and hopes she will be accepted and find her place there. The story is fast-paced and it’s clear that Erin Stewart did a lot of research regarding burns. However, I cannot judge the representation, which therefore I won’t do.

All characters in Scars like wings are pretty likeable. There’s Ava, who is of course very insecure but shows an enormous growth throughout the book. Then there is Piper who helps Ava, but struggles herself and constantly hides it. Is this a good depression rep? Something I can’t judge either. However, you see Piper’s character shifting towards the end of the story as well. Finally, we have Assad, who treats both Ava and Piper as actual humans instead of different people with scars. He sets a good example for everyone.

Erin Stewart managed to write a story of courage and empowerment. Despite their scars, Ava and Piper manage to find back themselves and their place in the world of high school. I really enjoyed reading Scars like wings and experiencing this character development. Furthermore, after a few very disappointing books, this was such a welcome read that got me out of my lurking reading slump. I managed to read this book from start to finish in just a few hours. I highly recommend Scars like wings to everyone.

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