*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author, Simon & Schuster and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Everyone has scars. Some are just easier to see …
16-year-old Ava Lee is heading back to school one year after a house fire left her severely disfigured. She’s used to the names, the stares, the discomfort, but there’s one name she hates most of all: Survivor. What do you call someone who didn’t mean to survive? Who sometimes wishes she hadn’t?
When she meets a fellow survivor named Piper at therapy, Ava begins to feel like she’s not facing the nightmare alone. Piper helps Ava reclaim the pieces of Ava Before the Fire, a normal girl who kissed boys and sang on stage. But Piper is fighting her own battle, and when Ava almost loses her best friend, she must decide if the new normal she’s chasing has more to do with the girl in the mirror — or the people by her side.
The beautiful, life-affirming debut from Erin Stewart that’s being called the YA answer to Wonder. Perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson, Nicola Yoon and John Green.
Wow! This book is AMAZING!
Burn-survivor Ava has scars – physical, emotional, psychological… the full set. The accident that took her parents also took her carefree teenage life from her. Her aunt and uncle, and her doctors, are determined that she can pick up where she left off – thankful for her survival against the odds, but is it really that easy?
School life is hard enough, without having to wear your differences right out there on your face for all to see.
Ava is convinced that her real life ended in the fire, and just wants to get through this ‘bonus time’ as unobtrusively as possible: hiding in corners and shadows, and under the covers. But life, and some schoolmates, has other plans for Ava. And it turns out that the scars we can see are only part of our story… it’s the ones that we can’t see that can kill us.
Ava tells her story with real heart and humour. There is sadness, anger and angst, but also hope, smiles and the occasional song. This isn’t about a tragedy turning someone into a hero or a saint. It is about how everyone has to learn to live with the hand they’re dealt and make the best of it; however good or bad it may be. I particularly love that there are no easy romantic ‘fixes’ but instead real relationships, that are messy and complicated, and take work.
In short: I cried buckets; smiled some; held my breath at times. I put the book down feeling drained, but content, and – I’m so sorry, Ava! – inspired.
One year after the fire, my doctor removed my mask and tells me to get a life.
He doesn’t use those exact words, of course, because he’s paid to flash around lots of medical-degree terms like reintegration and isolation, but basically, the Committee on Ava’s Life had a big meeting and decided I have wallowed long enough.
My postburn pity party is over.
– Erin Stewart, Scars Like Wings
Find more from Erin Stewart at her website here, or follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.
Scars Like Wings is available on Amazon right now!
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