cover image Stained


Cheryl Rainfield. Harcourt, $16.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-547-94208-7

Seventeen-year-old Sarah Meadows longs to remove the port-wine stain that colors half her face, but when her father’s business loses everything to embezzlement, her family suddenly can’t afford the treatment. Sarah thinks it’s the worst thing that could happen to her, but is quickly proven wrong when she’s abducted by one of her father’s employees. Rainfield (Scars) imbues Sarah’s story with heartfelt emotion that resonates as much as Sarah’s fighting spirit inspires. Despite rape, emotional abuse, and near starvation, Sarah never stops trying to escape. Meanwhile, Sarah’s geeky classmate Nick, who has always loved Sarah but never told her, is working with her parents to bring her home. Nick co-narrates the story, and at times his praise of Sarah is over the top (“She touched a lot of lives through small kindnesses and brave actions, over and over again”), even while readers are witnessing her strength in action. There isn’t a lot of complexity to the characters, but Sarah’s refusal to be a victim will stick with readers. Ages 14–up. Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger. (Oct.)