cover image Scars Like Wings

Scars Like Wings

Erin Stewart. Delacorte, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-9848-4882-6

It’s been a year since high school junior Ava escaped the fire that left her badly burned and took the lives of her closest loved ones: both her parents and her cousin Sarah. Nineteen surgeries later, Ava still feels as if she looks like a “monster,” but her doctor and new guardians, Sarah’s grieving parents, think it’s time she return to school. Unable to face her old friends, Ava enrolls in a different school, where she’s fully prepared for cruel reactions to her appearance. What she doesn’t expect to find are two companions who refuse to let her retreat into isolation: Piper, a fellow burn survivor who harbors a secret, and Pakistani-American Asad, who shares Ava’s passion for theater. Together, they coax Ava into auditioning for the school play and letting her talents shine. First-time author Stewart writes a sensitively handled story filled with relatable, three-dimensional characters. Without sugarcoating or overdramatizing her protagonists’ circumstances, she focuses on the internal challenges of survivors profoundly affected by trauma. Enhanced by journal entries and poetry, the first-person narrative movingly expresses Ava’s lingering sorrow and changing outlook as she navigates her way toward a new form of normalcy. Ages 12–up. [em](Oct.) [/em]