Jacket description (from ARC):
"Kendra hasn't felt safe since devastating memories of childhood sexual abuse began surfacing, especially because she still can't remember the most important detail-her abuser's identity. She knows someone is always watching, following her and leaving menacing messages, and making her fear for her life. Kendra cuts to relieve the pressure; it's how she copes. Her mother is too self-absorbed to listen, so Kendra finds support elsewhere: from her therapist and her art teacher; from Sandy, a family friend who encourages her brilliant, expressive painting; and from Meghan, a friend and maybe more. Will they ever learn the truth about Kendra's terrible secret?"
From about the fifth page in, I could tell this was not going to be just another "issue" book and that something deeper and more truthful was going on in the Kendra's story. Author Cheryl Rainfield suffered from both sexual abuse and a history of cutting to cope, as she explains in her author's note at the end of the story. And that fact is very apparent, through Kendra's thoughts and emotions, her reactions to certain situations, and her determination to hide from her history. The connection between the author and her main character is visible and beautifully written.
Rainfield also manages to weave other teen issues into this story, like parents that don't listen, love, heartbreak, and desire. Though having suffered through a horrendous ordeal as a child and continuing to suffer through the not knowing, the fear of her attacker coming for her, and the uncertainty of her future, Kendra represents a whole lot of teens out there and can really be used as an inspiration...that hope is out there, that problems can be dealt with, and that there are people in the world that care and will listen.
Therapy for Kendra is incredibly helpful and the scenes which Carolyn is in are some of the best. There is not a simple "cure" for victims of abuse of any kind and that is shown through the sessions Kendra has to fight through, week after week. The raw emotion in these scenes, as well as the scenes in which Kendra and her mother are arguing are standouts.
I think after teens read this, seemingly locked doors could open up for discussion, conversations that really need to be had, and get teens help they desperately need. And if nothing else, this will give teens and parents signs to watch for and help them help others. All libraries should have a copy.
Author Cheryl Rainfield will be having a Twitter chat tomorrow night, 6/23 at 7pm EST. You can follow @cherylrainfield and event details are online here: http://tiny.cc/wy12u
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
Beautiful writing, raw emotion, and hope, most of all.
Review copy received from publisher
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