Author: Elana K. Arnold
Publisher: Random House Children's Books, 2012.
Pages: 368 p.
Life can be separated into two distinct parts for 16-year-old Scarlet Wenderoth: before and after her brother's death. Before his death she was happy and popular and had big future plans. After his death she is depressed and withdrawn, finding it difficult to relate to the people she once loved. It does not help that her mother is so distraught and grief-stricken that she does not see Scarlet withering away. Her father is consumed with worry for his wife, so Scarlet is able to skip meals and cut herself with no parental intervention. Scar—even her nickname is symbolic—is painfully broken and wasting away until she meets a strange boy, Will, who somehow senses her secrets and is drawn to save her.
Arnold has written a poignant novel of loss and grief, but also of hope. Scarlet and Will are both hurting from their own losses and secrets, but together they are able to heal. Teens will be attracted to Scarlet’s melancholy and hidden despair, as well as Will’s heroic desire to rescue his damsel in distress. As much as Will wants to save her, ultimately it is Scarlet who has to pick herself up off the ground and choose life over death. Teens will root for her as she struggles and will be pleased to know her story continues in a planned sequel.
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