Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tea Time: Of Scars and Stardust

**Warning: Spoilers May Abound**

Of Scars and Stardust, Andrea Hannah

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she's been dying to leave behind. 

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her "delusions," Claire can't seem to escape the wolf's eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she's ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella's trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister's disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella's past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found. (source:goodreads)

Narrative-This book is told in the first-person POV of Claire Graham, and it's a wonderful perspective to see the world through. Why? Because, put simply, you really can't trust anybody in this novel: including Claire. Everyone loves an unreliable narrator; it's different, and it puts a different perspective on the events happening within the novel. Most of all, there wasn't a single moment I was positive of what was happening; there was a constant shift in: are the wolves real, is the dad crazy, is Claire crazy, is she being unjustly persecuted, what really happened to Ella?

The roller-coaster ride of questions and uncertainties made this whole book so worth it; it's mind-bending.

Plot-So I'm kind of not exactly sure where to start with this.

The beginning kept me wondering: right away there's talks of wolves, of Claire's best friend, Rae (hey, it's me!), running away. At the time I started reading this, I was thinking, "Okay, I know I'm low on sleep, but what is this going to have to do with the book?"

It was a stupid question, ya'll.

SCARS (shortening because, well, long title) is, above all, a mystery. Claire is totally paranoid about these wolves (who seem to have followed her to New York) and after she returns to her hometown she's determined to prove that the wolves had something to do with her sister's disappearance. An old case comes up-about an eight-year-old girl who was killed-and she begins drawing similarities between the two cases. Above all, the only one who seems to believe her is her old crush, Grant.

It's a roller coaster of trying to figure out what happened. At times, you'll find yourself believing Claire: the wolves are real, and there's something sinister happening. At others, you'll start doubting her. The evidence shifts back and forth (showing how interpretation of events is everything), and the ending will probably leave you as breathless as I was, all while touching on mental illness and the different ways it can rear it's ugly head or else hide frighteningly well. Everyone's a suspect, and nothing in this book is obvious until reaching the last thirty pages or so, when the puzzle pieces start clicking into place.

Characters-Claire, Grant, Rae, and Ella are probably the most important characters (or the ones that stood out to me as being important). Claire and Grant: obvious, since they're  the main characters solving the mystery concerning Ella. Rae because she fueled the stories of the wolves in the town, and Ella because, as the reader, I was constantly warring between the ideas that she simply ran away and that something actually happened to her.

Comparing and contrasting Ella and Rae from before Ella's accident and two years later. In the beginning of the book, Ella is super sweet, carefree, and her love for Claire is obvious. After her disappearance, a new side of her is revealed: a girl who's personality has been tamped down due to her parents' worry over her. For Rae, she's controlling and day-dreamy, and when Claire finds her two years later she's still controlling, but there's a difference in her demeanor toward Claire, and also with what she knows about Ella (it's all twisted, their relationships; it was gold).

Grant is a guy who's totally genuine. He and Claire are close, and even as the entire town turns against Claire and her family he's by her side, both believing and trying to believe her (depending on the moment) about the wolves and Ella. His care is heartwarming, particularly when the evidence is overwhelmingly against Claire: he tries to believe her; I'm pretty sure he wants to believe her.

And then there's Claire. As I mentioned above, she's completely unreliable as a narrator. One moment, you're thinking that the wolves are real, and the next you're doubting her. Then you're believing her, again. her own will to believe the stories of the wolves-and to believe that she would never hurt her own sister-is admirable, and is really the driving force behind her, even after the last chapter when you (the reader) realize that things aren't exactly as Claire sees them.

I enjoyed the characters; I enjoyed questioning who's telling the truth and who's not, who's trustworthy, what their motives are. It made for a book that I've been thinking about long after turning the last page.

Final Answer: 4.33 / 5 stars

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A not-so-simple mystery that will leave you guessing. @Rae_Slater reviews OF SCARS AND STARDUST @andeehannah (Click to Tweet)

Do you believe the wolves are real? @Rae_Slater reviews OF SCARS AND STARDUST @andeehannah (Click to Tweet)

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