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About Me: Cheryl Rainfield is the author of SCARS (an ALA Top 10 Quick Picks & Rainbow List book) about Kendra, a girl who must face her past and stop hurting herself before it's too late; HUNTED (Oct 2011) about Cassie, a telepath on the run from government troopers who must choose between saving herself or saving the world, and two hi-lo (high interest, low vocabulary) fantasies: SkinWalkers: Walking Both Sides, and Dragon Speaker: The Last Dragon. YA author Ellen Hopkins described SCARS as "a brave novel, a read-in-one-sitting-except-when-you-have-to-put-it-down-to-breathe novel." Cheryl is an advocate for teens who’ve been through rough experiences, especially self-harm, sexual abuse, and queer teens.
As a child, Cassie watched as an angry mob killed her father, murdering him for being a Paranormal. Since then, she and her mother have been on the run from government troopers, and constantly searching for her missing brother who disappeared during the riots. When Cassie starts at a new school she thinks she will have to do what she's always done--blend in as hard as she can, and never, ever let anyone know sheâs a Para--able to read peopleâs thoughts. But then she meets Alex, a fellow swimmer who she starts to fall for hard, as well as Rachel, one of her first true friends, and she finds herself not wanting to hide any more. But the government is closing in, and someone is killing Paras, draining of them of their life energy. Cassie knows that she doesnât have much time before her identity is discovered. Ultimately, she must make the decision whether to save herself or save the whole human race.
Fifteen-year-old Kendra is being stalked by someone who wants her dead, and she is overwhelmed by the compulsion to cut herself. She is dealing with shadowy memories of sexual abuse from her early childhood and wonders why she cannot recall her rapist's face. Kendra is a tough, vulnerable, troubled teen, a survivor who will win readers' hearts as she struggles to deal with her life. While her biggest challenges may be extreme, there is much that any teen can relate to: frustration with a clueless mother, delight as her friendship with Meghan grows into love, and the struggle for identity and self-knowledge. Watching, guiding, and caring for this emerging young woman are three adults who offer emotional support rather than answers: a gay mentor, a therapist, and a teacher who knows true artistic talent when she sees it. Particularly well written are the scenes with Kendra's therapist; there's no miracle working here, just the long hard slog through pain and uncertainty. And when the revelation comes, there is no cardboard villain in the shadows, but rather a complex person whose cruelties and self-deceptions are believable and deeply sad. The excellent resource section covers widely respected books, Web sites, organizations, and help lines for youth seeking information on extreme abuse, cutting, same-sex attraction, and dissociation. This book will be a particular comfort and source of insight for teens facing any of these challenges, but whatever their life experience, they will be on the edge of their seats, rooting for Kendra to unravel the mystery that shadows her life. This is one heck of a good book!