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
It's been a year since high school junior Ava escaped the fire that left her badly burned and took the lives of her closest loved ones: both her parents and her cousin Sarah. Nineteen surgeries later, Ava still feels as if she looks like a "monster," but her doctor and new guardians, Sarah's grieving parents, think it's time she return to school. Unable to face her old friends, Ava enrolls in a different school, where she's fully prepared for cruel reactions to her appearance. What she doesn't expect to find are two companions who refuse to let her retreat into isolation: Piper, a fellow burn survivor who harbors a secret, and Pakistani-American Asad, who shares Ava's passion for theater. Together, they coax Ava into auditioning for the school play and letting her talents shine. First-time author Stewart writes a sensitively handled story filled with relatable, three-dimensional characters. Without sugarcoating or overdramatizing her protagonists' circumstances, she focuses on the internal challenges of survivors profoundly affected by trauma. Enhanced by journal entries and poetry, the first-person narrative movingly expresses Ava's lingering sorrow and changing outlook as she navigates her way toward a new form of normalcy. Ages 12 up.