Friday, January 31, 2020

Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart

Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart
October 2019 Simon & Schuster


Everyone has scars. Some are just easier to see ... 16-year-old Ava Gardener 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 for survival, 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 glass-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.

When a book is described as the 'YA answer to Wonder' just have to read it and see for yourself. 

Life is hard enough for any 16 year old in high school, so imagine if you had to deal with all of the normal high school drama,  while being severely disfigured due to burns sustained from a house fire.  That's only the start of it.  The house fire that was the cause of the burns also took the lives of Ava's parents and her cousin.  So now Ava lives with her Aunt and the room of her now dead cousin.

Like Wonder, this book makes you think about the kind of person you are.  We all like to think that we are good and kind people, but what would it be like when a new girl comes to school, with a melted face, no ear and a toe where her thumb should be?  Would you find it easy to look her in the eye and have a conversation? How would you feel about holding her hand?  Those of who have not been in that circumstance can't answer that, not really...but we all hope we would be able to see past the outside to the person underneath the scars.

Unlike Wonder I found myself putting myself in Ava's shoes.  I don't remember wondering what it would be like for Auggie?  Maybe because he was younger?  Maybe because he, for the most part, had such a positive outlook on life.   But I did wonder how I would feel if I was Ava, maybe because I have been a 16 year old girl.  Would I be brave enough to face the world looking so different?  Would I be able to look people in the eye when they spoke to me, knowing what they see when they look at my face?  Again, we can never know, but I would like to think that I could be even half as brave as Ava. 

I know it's only a story, and Ava is not a real person, but reading a book like this makes me want to be a braver person, just in everyday life. Take more risks, do the things you love without worrying what other people will think of you, and find the people that bring out the best in you.

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