"I write the books I needed as a teen and couldn't find."
Cheryl Rainfield has been said to write with “great empathy and compassion” (VOYA)
and to write stories that “can, perhaps, save a life.” (CM Magazine)
SLJ said of her work: “[Readers] will be on the edge of their seats.”
SCARS has been increasingly banned & challenged
SCARS was banned and challenged in some Texas schools Oct 2021, along with hundreds of other YA books, after Republican Matt Krause issued a list of 850 books he wanted banned. The majority of books he targeted were books by or about queer and Black, brown, and Indigenous voices. Kids and teens have the right to see themselves reflected in books.
Book bans and challenges have dramatically increased since 2021, and are often organized by far-right groups, targeting marginalized voices to silence and erase us, in conjunction with increasing homophobic, transphobic, racist, and misogynist bills and laws.
2021. SCARS was banned in at least 2 TX schools, McKinney ISD Texas school, and Northeast ISD Texas.
Sept 26, 2022. SCARS was challenged at Escambia Public School in Florida by an English teacher for being “obscene,” in her list of 117 books.
Sept. 27, 2022. SCARS was challenged at Williston Basin School District #7 Board in North Dakota by Moms For Liberty group, likely for “glorification of self harm” which was one of the reasons mentioned–and is the exact opposite of what SCARS does.
Oct 2022. SCARS was challenged at Beaufort County school district, South Carolina, and at least temporarily removed from shelves for “adult content.”
Dec 8, 2022. SCARS was challenged at Horry County School libraries, South Carolina, by Moms for Liberty of Horry County along with 76 other books.
Dec 22, 2022. SCARS was challenged in St. Tammany Parish Library system, Covington, LA, with 79 titles under review.
2022. SCARS was challenged at Manatee County in Florida.
April 2023. SCARS was challenged at Timber Creek school district in Florida.
These are only the book challenges I know of because they were mentioned in news articles or someone told me. Do you know of an instance where SCARS was banned or challenged? Please let me know.
No book should be banned. It goes against the freedom to read and is censorship. Banning books causes harm. Kids and teens need to see themselves in books to know they’re not alone, especially traumatized & marginalized teens. Books can save lives. If you don’t like a book you have the right to keep your kid from reading it but not all the other kids & teens who need it.
Want to fight against book banning and censorship? Join UniteAgainstBooksBans.org, read their Action Kit, National Coalition Against Censorship’s (NCAC) Book Censorship Action Kit, and read PENAmerica’s 2022 report on the increasing book bans.
Find more resources about book bans and challenges
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I write the books I needed as a teen and couldn’t find. I draw on my abuse and trauma experience for every book I write–it’s important to me to encourage healing and hope, and to break silence–but I also write to entertain and to move people. I put strong-girl and LGBTQ characters into every book I write.
I still get reader messages every week telling me how SCARS helped them stop cutting; get help; talk to someone for the first time; know that they’re not alone about being a survivor, being queer, or using self-harm to cope; and even keep from killing themselves. That is a HUGE part of why I write. I also hear from readers who tell me that they don’t have any of those experiences, but that my books helped them have greater compassion for others who have. And I hear from readers that STAINED helped them feel stronger or braver, like they could get through anything that comes at them. I delight in all the letters and messages and read every one, and I try to answer them all, though some slip past.
And yes, it is my own arm on the cover of SCARS. You are not alone–and it does get better.
We all need positive reminders, so this is mine for you:
I hope you always remember that you don’t deserve to be hurt, not ever–not even by yourself.
You do deserve to be treated with compassion, empathy, and love by others and by yourself.
I hope you take good care of yourself. And I hope you keep connecting with others. We need those connections. And we need to treat ourselves gently and kindly, as kindly and gently as we would a friend.
P. S. Feel free to download this video and play it whenever you need to. I mean every word.
Want more positive-message videos? See them here.
I am honored that YA author Jennifer Brown calls me “a hero for girls,” saying “When it comes to using past experiences as power, there is no greater female voice in YA than that of Cheryl Rainfield.”
Edgy YA that talks about real, painful issues can help teens know they are not alone, and help them heal. My response to the WSJ article that slammed Scars remains the same. I could not have survived my child- and teenhood without books. YA saves!
It shouldn’t need to be said, but self-harm is NOT trendy.
The sadness of banned books – a poem by Cheryl Rainfield.
On SCARS being challenged: