Verdict: 5 Stars
Cheryl Rainfield has done it again. As one of the powerhouse young adult authors who championed the #YASaves hashtag on Twitter, a cause that was taken up by authors and readers alike who felt that powerful teen literature had helped them survive high school and shaped them into the adults they are today, Rainfield often writes about the characters and topics that teen readers hunger for but that the adults in their lives want to pretend aren’t real.
In this latest work from Rainfield, who has openly shared that her childhood of physical and sexual abuse is a strong motivation for what prompts her to write for young adults, teen Sarah Meadows has lived with taunting, staring, and bullying for a birth mark that covers half of her face. But when she is kidnapped one day on the way home from school, she has to look inside herself and find the courageous person who hides inside her, or risk further torture and death.
As with all of Rainfield’s books, what drives the story isn’t so much the very real circumstances that far too many teens today find themselves in, but the very real characters she creates on the page. All of us can identify with the main and supporting characters in her stories because she knows teenagers and their struggles like virtually no other writer today.
In an interesting aside, Rainfield’s most recent title was basically sent back to the drawing board by book retailers who felt the original cover was too intense for their shelves. Stained has been redesigned, but still contains the same thrilling plot structures and real-life characters that have made Rainfield such a force in young adult literature.
Stained (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) will be available on October 1st from book retailers everywhere.