I had really high hopes for Scarred by Julia Hoban (also known as Willow). I'm wondering now if these expectations spoilt the reading experience for me or if my own personal experience with self injury put me too close to the story. Either way, I didn't fully connect with Scarred as a novel.
I love the idea of it. I love that self-injury and cutting are topics that are explored because I feel like it's a subject that people need to be more aware of and there should be more understanding and compassion for people who go through it.
One night, Willow's parents drink too much wine and rely on 16 year old Willow to drive them home. She loses control and in the car accident, both of her parents die. Fast-forward seven months and she's living with her older brother, who barely speaks to her, she's left her home and school and she never returns her best friend's calls. She's living with such grief and guilt over the accident that she turns to self harm as an outlet for her pain. Until she meets Guy, a boy who learns her secret and decides to stick around and try to understand and help in whatever way he can.
I think part of the problem is that the story is told in a third person narrative and because of that, it seemed a little detached to me. And while there were a few really emotionally charged scenes, I didn't feel a big emotional impact throughout most of the book. Everything seemed a bit too logical, as Willow and Guy tried to talk through her reasons for turning to cutting to get her through this awful time. I was expecting something more raw. And that might just be me projecting my own experiences onto Willow and finding fault because she didn't go through what I went through. And that's not fair. But it's how I felt.
I did think that Willow and Guy's relationship was quite sweet. And I'm really glad that everything isn't fully resolved at the end. That the whole situation is more complicated and there can never be a happily ever after. I liked that.
I've read so many good reviews of this book, that it makes me sad that I feel this way.