Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2614
Scars Run Deep
(Updated: September 22, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
“Once upon a time, there were four friends, two couples, who stopped being friends before they stopped being couples.”

The story takes place in contemporary Florida, nearly a year after five close friends are both the witnesses and unwitting participants to a catastrophic car accident that claimed one of their lives. The account is told entirely through the first-person point of view of 17-year-old Sadie Kingston, who was left disfiguringly scarred in the same incident that killed one of her best friends. Despite a year of corrective surgeries and therapy sessions Sadie’s psyche is stuck in a self-imposed exile, steeped in loss and blame and things left unsaid between those she once loved.

Leisurely paced and thoughtfully written, this intensely relational telling has a sort of teen soap-opera feel to it. It gently weaves together so many minute, seemingly innocuous decisions and their unforeseeable consequences. This book takes a hard look at grieving, in both its effective an ineffective forms—examines the intimacy that often comes from shared secrets and communal trauma. It also serves as a sort of quiet caution against the corrosive tactic of avoidance in conflict resolution

“No one talked about the questions, because talking ruined plausible deniability. Talking burst the bubble of innocence. Talking ended the happily ever after.
These were the truths they believed.
And they were lies.
They should have talked while there was still something to say.”

What I liked:

This book contains an exceptional number of meaningful and memorable quotes. Stevens is a wiz at stretching out her voice and pulling you in with attentive, impactful wording.

*"I fell, and it didn't kill me. So I decided that if I was going to fall, I might as well fall moving up."

*"Above me is a sky full of stars. In front of me is an ocean full of waves. Beneath me are a million grains of sand that used to be rock. That ocean I love so much beat rocks into sand. I'm afraid that's what I've done to you."

I LOVED the salvage yard scenes. The unique relationship Sadie formed with the yard’s endearingly cantankerous owner was one of the most profound and believable parts of the book, in this reader’s opinion. A close second was Sadie’s devoted and remarkably healthy relationship with her parents—a dynamic that’s almost a novelty in the young adult genre.

The author beautifully captures the essence of growing up with the beach as your stomping ground. The amount of detail put into the scenery and ocean-based activities was hugely enriching to the overall feel, and leant itself well to the overall authenticity.


What Didn’t Work For Me:

While I loved the idea of sprinkling in a number of Sadie’s emails to Max over the course of the year to demonstrate how their pen-pal-ish relationship grew, it was disappointing to not be allowed a look at any of Max’s written correspondence. A few pertinent things could be derived from the one-sided conversations readers are privy to, but it sat more like a lost opportunity to get to know Max.

On a related note, the romantic angle seemed a bit detached. Readers may have some trouble buying Max and Sadie’s chemistry once they do come together.

This reader was strongly impacted by the author’s debut book, Faking Normal, but was somewhat relieved to see her second work take on a slightly lighter tone. The telling carries along well enough for the first 30%, propelled by the visceral degree of Sadie’s social struggles and physical/emotional scarring—along with the anticipation of her finally seeing Max again in person after a year of forming deep and romantic interest via email. From there though, the momentum did some dragging.

The ‘big reveal’ comes in the form of two vaguely related secrets that certain members of the group have been keeping from each other—mainly, because they didn’t feel they were their secrets to share. But the seriousness of these two bits of information ultimately felt underwhelming; bordering on melodramatic. And the tension wasn’t much enhanced by finally learning which of Sadie’s friends had been sending her anonymous letters containing her own stolen diary-like quotes. In that way, this quote sums up the conflict succinctly: “Sometimes a small thing is bigger than a big thing.”

A solid pick for readers interested in stories about loss, forgiveness, emotional healing, tight-knit friendship groups, and the impermanent tenuousness of teenage romance.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

My Love is All Around
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Mommy Bear shows Baby Bear how love is all around...
I'm not a Mouse!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Olivia really doesn't like her nickname - mostly because it...
My Panda Sweater
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The other kids may laugh, but I always feel safe...
One Day on our Blue Planet... In the Outback
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From breakfast to dinner, dusk to dawn, children will love...
Mrs Bibi's Elephant
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A heartwarming story with a message as big as an...
The State of Us
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
"Dre and Dean have got my vote!"—Adib Khorram, award-winning...
My Calamity Jane
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to 1876 America, a place bursting with gunslingers,...
Little Creeping Things
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
A compulsively readable debut with a narrator you just...
Fae's Deception (Queens of the Fae Book 1)
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
Brea Robinson is a murderer. That’s what everyone tells...
The Forgotten World (The World Apart Series Book 3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Clark thought he knew what grief was. Addie thought...
Artemis Fowl: Guide to the World of Fairies
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This beautifully illustrated novel is a compendium of Artemis Fowl's...
The Court of Miracles (Court of Miracles, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Les Misérables meets Six of Crows in this page-turning...
Personalized Notebook Doodles Adorable Pets Coloring Book
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From hamsters and hermit crabs to cats and canaries, you'll...
The Last Summer
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
For the first eleven years of their lives, neighbors Lila...
The Falling in Love Montage
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Two girls embark on a summer of montage-worthy dates (with...
Super Puzzletastic Mysteries: Short Stories for Young Sleuths from Mystery Writers of America
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bestselling author Chris Grabenstein and the Mystery Writers of America...

Latest Member Reviews

My Love is All Around
 
4.5
"MY LOVE IS ALL AROUND is a sweet book about love between parent and child and the many ways in..."
I'm not a Mouse!
 
4.0
"I'M NOT A MOUSE! is a cute picture book about nicknames. Olivia's mother always calls her mouse, and she doesn't..."
My Panda Sweater
 
5.0
"MY PANDA SWEATER is a lovely book about the way that clothes can affect us. A young girl loves her..."
One Day on our Blue Planet... In the Outback
 
4.0
"ONE DAY ON OUR BLUE PLANET... IN THE OUTBACK is a picture book that follows a red kangaroo joey through..."
Mrs Bibi's Elephant
 
5.0
"MRS BIBI'S ELEPHANT is a sweet story about the special place we have in our hearts for our pets. Mrs...."
Artemis Fowl: Guide to the World of Fairies
 
4.0
""Written" by dwarf Nord Diggums with contributions from experts in the field of magical creatures such as Professor Ivana Therey..."
Super Puzzletastic Mysteries: Short Stories for Young Sleuths from Mystery Writers of America
 
5.0
"Short story collections are hard to review, especially when one includes so many fantastic authors! My students will be glad..."
Daniela and the Pirate Girls
 
3.5
"DANIELA AND THE PIRATE GIRLS is a fun high-seas adventure about helping others and making new friends. Daniela is the..."
Child of Galaxies
 
4.0
"CHILD OF GALAXIES is a lovely poem about life and the broad meaning of it all. The poem begins by..."
Shy Ones
 
5.0
"SHY ONES is a sweet look at friendship and the people (or sea creatures) who are shy. The story is..."
Once Upon an Eid
 
5.0
"This collection has a wide variety of stories about different aspects of Eid, and is particularly poignant during this time..."
Slamdown Town
 
4.0
"Ollie is in 6th grade and is small for his age. His older brother, Hollis, is in 8th, and has..."
Ragweed and Poppy
 
3.5
"RAGWEED AND POPPY is an interesting middle grade novel that follows Ragweed, a mouse who is on a journey. Ragweed..."
The Right Place
 
3.5
"THE RIGHT PLACE is a picture book that stresses the importance of friends and home. Squirrel wakes up after a..."
I'm Sorry!
 
5.0
"I'M SORRY! is a fantastic picture book about apologizing and compromise. Swoop and Scribble are an owl and squirrel who..."
It's Impossible!
 
4.0
"IT'S IMPOSSIBLE! is a delightful road trip picture book that asserts things are only impossible if you say that they..."
The More We Get Together
 
5.0
"THE MORE WE GET TOGETHER takes the song and adds verses about how children can change the world. The book..."
Good Night, Moon 123 / Buenas Noches, Luna 123: A Counting Book / Un Libro para Contar
 
3.5
"GOODNIGHT, MOON 123 / BUENAS NOCHES, LUNA 123 is a fun counting book themed from the bedtime favorite, GOODNIGHT MOON...."
The Hideout
 
5.0
"If you are a fan of “Where the Wild Things Are” you will love “The Hideout” written by Susanna Mattiangeli..."
Circus Girl
 
3.0
"CIRCUS GIRL is a book about Sky, who dreams of being the star of the circus. The book begins when..."