I honestly feel kind of bad being the first person who didn’t really like Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart. And I was initially really excited and thrilled to get a chance to read it, but somewhere along the way I just found myself quickly losing interest both in the character and in the story. Scars Like Wings follows a teenager, Ava, through the aftermath of experiencing the trauma of a fire that not only left her world in upheaval as she deals with the mental damage such an event causes and the struggle to work through and accept her injuries, she deals with the loss of her parents and cousin. Everything about Ava’s life has changed as a result of her burns; from her outward appearance to the way she spends her days. Though the book begins long after she has worked through much of her recovery, with its focus more on her mental healing rather than her physical healing, so much of what she faces seems to continually be a fight that stands as a testament to her own inner strength.
And I just didn’t like it. I grew annoyed with the characters and I grew bored with the story. Perhaps the only character in the whole novel I felt any connection to enough to like as a person was Asad. And while I’ve never had to deal, personally, with much of what Ava goes through I feel as though I just wanted her to be a more likable character. And this isn’t to demean her struggle in any way shape or form. I couldn’t begin to fathom how my life would change if I were in her shoes. The only thing Ava and I really have in common lies in our depression, so that aspect I did understand to an extent. But I think the truth of the matter is that I don’t want to read about depressed people who take it out on those around them. I’ve never been the kind of person to see it as okay to lash out, despite my depression, and while I know it is how some cope it bugged me immensely about Ava and infuriated me about Piper.
So, what I think my opinion on Scars Like Wings really boiled down to in the end was the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to like any of the characters. Kenzie was awful, Cora was very “meh,” Piper was awful, Ava was frustrating, and all the other side characters–again, minus Asad–were so dull that I barely remember them. And maybe we can chock it up to the fact that the bitterness within the traumatized characters was not something I felt comfortable reading because, on a personal level, I can’t fathom being that awful to those around you simply because of the hurt you went through, but I just didn’t like this book. I don’t think it was horrendously terrible and it was definitely researched and written well. It just wasn’t for me.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.