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Stained Hardcover – October 1, 2013
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
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Seventeen-year-old Sarah feels as if she’s from another planet. Born with a port-wine stain on half her face, she is the subject of stares, rude comments, and constant bullying. That’s why she has created her own imaginary superhero, Diamond, whose skin is as strong as, yes, a diamond; nothing hurts her. But where is Diamond when, on the way home from school, Sarah is abducted? Soon, she finds herself blindfolded and helpless, locked in a shack in the middle of nowhere with a kidnapper who rapes her and is clearly mentally unstable. How can she possibly escape his abuse, which includes mind games that tempt her to doubt her own self? Will Nick, the boy who loves her, find her? Will the police? Rainfield (Scars, 2010) has written a novel of psychological suspense that, though sometimes veering into the melodramatic, nevertheless sends a strong message to all those who are in any way different: finding your own Diamond within yourself can help you heal and become a survivor. Grades 8-12. --Michael Cart
A Bank Street College Best Book of the Year
"Sarah's determination to stay alive and escape will resonate with readers, and they will cheer her efforts to overcome her underdog status."
"Sarah's refusal to be a victim will stick with readers."
"Rainfield has written a novel of psychological suspense."
"Rainfield has drawn upon her own experiences to create a powerful and disturbing novel about the abduction and torture of a young woman that recalls recent horrifying news stories. . . . Readers will find Stained almost impossible to read and, at the same time, almost impossible to put down."
—VOYA, 4Q 4P S
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Told in Sarah and Nick's first person POVs in alternate chapters STAINED will keep readers rooting for Sarah's release. Even though Sarah and Nick had flawed personalities, I didn't find the them particularly authentic. Sarah's arc was entirely predictable and cliche, but I don't want to be spoiler-y so I won't say more. The end are some over-the-top scenes, particularly toward the end of the book. Write Cheryl Rainfield, in the afterward, says that she had some of the same scenarios in her childhood that Sarah faced, but those events are foreign to what most readers will have experienced or even heard of. While I don't disbelieve Rainfield, STAINED Would have been more believable if she had stuck to the less bizarre events. Writing wise, STAINED is a fast paced, enjoyable read despite the tough subject matter.
STAINED is a difficult book to rate. For some sensitive readers, the subject matter --rape and other abusers-- may be too difficult, although there aren't graphic descriptions. I liked this novel, but couldn't help to think with some tweaking, how much better it could have been
Caroline Cooney released The Face on the Milk Carton in 1990 and Lois Duncan spent the entire 90s writing about being victimized after experiencing personal trauma. I haven't read the author April Henry, who writes with similar themes, but Cheryl Rainfield includes Henry as an influence so I've added Henry to my to-read list.
Two, working on three, decades later, there's still a need for books like these to help prepare our kids for this world. Duncan, Cooney, and Henry started telling young adults about violence; Cheryl Rainfield took that premise and built on it. She goes one step further, giving details about what happens after reporting the crime - what happens at the hospital. So many court cases are lost because victims don't know what to do after the crime happens. That's my favorite part of this book.