Book Review

Scars Like Wings – Erin Stewart

Today’s review is for the heart-breaking YA novel, Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart. Many thanks to Erin and to Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of the book which I received via NetGalley.


Relatable, heartbreaking, and real, this is a story of resilience–the perfect novel for readers of powerful contemporary fiction like Girl in Pieces and Every Last Word.

Before, I was a million things. Now I’m only one. The Burned Girl.

Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like–she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her.

A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends–no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever.

But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Piper introduces Ava to Asad, a boy who loves theater just as much as she does, and slowly, Ava tries to create a life again. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.

“A heartfelt and unflinching look at the reality of being a burn survivor and at the scars we all carry. This book is for everyone, burned or not, who has ever searched for a light in the darkness.” –Stephanie Nielson, New York Times bestselling author of Heaven Is Here and a burn survivor 



Scars Like Wings is a heart-breaking book in which we meet Ava, a teenage girl struggling to deal with the physical and emotional scars of surviving the catastrophic fire that killed her family. Erin Stewart delicately and beautifully captures not just the pain of the countless surgeries, masks and compression suits, but also the guilt and grief that eats away at Ava, and her writing reduced me to tears on more than one occasion.

Alongside Ava, we have Piper, a larger than life character who pushes Ava to start living again, and who seems to have everything worked out, but who, in reality, is free-falling. The friendship that these two girls forge quickly becomes something that they both need more than anyone can possibly understand, because at the end of the day, the only person who can truly understand is the one who has lived the same experiences and battled the same demons.

This book is a story about becoming comfortable in your own skin, in the truest sense of the phrase. It is about discovering your new normal after your life has been unimaginably and permanently altered. It is devastating and raw and beautiful, all at the same time, and as I sit here I am struggling to fully explain how it made me feel. This truly is a book that everyone needs to read for themselves, because nothing I can say will ever do it justice.

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