Review: Scars Like Wings, Erin Stewart

There are no spoilers in this review.

You know that feeling when you read a book and just… wow. I wish I had a word to express how I felt while reading Scars Like Wings, but it’s really, really hard to define. This was a powerful, very emotional, strong debut and honestly, a book that somehow hit me really hard, too.



Scars Like Wings tells the story of Ava, a teenager who has lost everything when her house caught fire. Her parents, her cousin and best friend, her home. Her face. Badly burned, but still alive, Ava has to face life after a traumatic event, after losing it all and somehow, has to face high school and normal teenagehood when over half of her body is covered in scars.

Scars Like Wings is a difficult story to read, at times, yet I also found it so powerful. I empathized with Ava right from the very beginning, feeling for her loss, feeling for her story, wanting right off the bat for her to be okay, to be better, to feel somehow, worthy. I loved her as a main character so much and found her growth absolutely stunning, from the very beginning of the story, from hiding behind her scars to slowly, but surely, finding this place where things are okay, or at least as okay as they can be, given the circumstances and tragedy in her life.



Something I adored in Scars Like Wings, was the strong cast of characters surrounding Ava, each with their own motives, their own flaws and issues, each of them feeling so real and standing off the page.

Most of it all, I loved that Scars Like Wings had such a big emphasis on friendship. Ava finds in Piper, a new friend and survivor as well, confidence and strength and, somehow, both of them balanced each other out perfectly, creating a real, complex friendship I loved seeing grow in the story. Asad was another really nice addition to the story, this quirky, fun, theater-geek friend that somehow was always compassionate and just wonderful. The friendships and interactions between them all were heartwarming and lovely.

When it comes to family, Ava is surrounded by her aunt and uncle, who both happened to have lost their daughter (Ava’s cousin) and sister (Ava’s mom), in the house fire that left Ava scarred. I loved how their relationship wasn’t all black and white, I loved seeing how they all struggled, getting used to this new normal, this new life, while dealing with a loss as big and as devastating as this one.



Scars Like Wings was overall, such a beautiful, highly emotional read. I felt chocked up while reading more than once and just wanted to cry. I felt emotional and wanted for Ava to be okay more than once, but that was the beauty of this story, too: it showed that it’s okay not to be okay, too. If you’re looking for a story like that, one that is powerful and that you will think long, long after reading, I’ll definitely recommend this one.

Final rating: 4,5 drops!

A million thanks to Penguin Random House Internatinal & NetGalley for sending me an e-ARC of this book. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.

Trigger warnings: bullying, homophobia, ableism, depression, loss of parents, loss of a loved one, suicide attempt, grief.
Diversity: Multiple characters and the main character (Ava) are covered in burns and scars, another main character is in a wheelchair (Piper), another main character is Pakistani (Asad).

Erin Stewart, Scars Like Wings, Published on October, 3rd, 2019 by Delacorte.


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.

Did you read Scars Like Wings? Do you want to?

What was the latest book you’ve read that gave you all the emotions? I’d love to hear from you in comments!





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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

15 thoughts on “Review: Scars Like Wings, Erin Stewart

  1. This book was a hit for me. Like you, I thought the cast was fantastic. Not only did Ava stand out, but Piper and Ava’s aunt were incredible characters too. The aunt broke my heart, and I think I connected to her as a mother. But, I really loved that Ava was portrayed not as a victim, but a survivor. Beautiful and inspiring story.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed this novel as well! An interesting facet of the friendship between Ava and Piper was the often unhealthy dynamic between the two and could push teens to explore where they would draw the line regarding boundaries between friends.

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  3. Wow – this sounds so emotional. It reminds me of reading FACE by Benjamin Zephaniah when I was still in school, another YA book, this time about a young boy who has to figure out how to live his life after receiving devastating facial burns. It takes such a talented writer to tell the story with empathy. I definitely want to read this one!

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    1. Ohhh, I didn’t know about this book, I’ll have to check it out 🙂 Scars Like Wings was certainly a very emotional read, I hope you’ll get a chance to read it 🙂


  4. Wowww I need this book! I have yet to read a negative review, every single person I know who’s read it has loved it. I love that it;s so powerful, and the kind of book that stays with you- those are the BEST! Obviously I am going to have to read this ASAP! Thanks for the great review!!

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  5. Yep – this book made me cry. I’ll admit it. I absolutely agree that the characters made this story. The differences and yet also the sameness of their struggle was really something. Fantastic review.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I have only seen review posts which brim with love for this book, and yours is another. I have it on my to read list and it sounds like such an emotional but powerful book. I love the sound of a complex friendship and family being centric to the book as well. I can’t wait to read it and experience everything too.

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