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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 05/2021
  • 9781777230258 B08RXDDHHB
  • 240 pages
  • $3.99
Paperback Details
  • 05/2021
  • 9781777230241
  • 240 pages
  • $12.00
Milan Gupta
Author
These Scars Called Home
Milan Gupta, author
Meet Cassie Martinez – intelligent, fierce, and independent. Her life, and her heart, are a strict no-enter zone for others. Mastering the art of survival at a young age, Cassie keeps her secrets close, and everyone else at bay. Looking out for herself, no matter what the cost. But then enters Ronnie Service. An introverted, socially-awkward man who gets nervous riding elevators alone. Asking Cassie to join him for an elevator ride, their journey begins. Cassie and Ronnie come from entirely different worlds, both carrying hidden scars from their past. Scars that resurface as they discover each other, and themselves. As their pasts catch up to them, can they unlock the door to healing through friendship and love? These Scars Called Home explores the burden of personal trauma, mental illness, and emotional scars that can either threaten or secure a relationship. Is it truly possible to find hope far from home?
Reviews
Gupta (The Mariner’s Grandson) explores romance as healing in a hopeful story that crosses social boundaries and shows that having a rough early life does not destroy the path to happiness. Mexican-born Casandra “Cassie” Matrinez, having run away from her abusive Houston adoptive family after high school, has made it to Miami on the power of her good looks and her self-protective attitude. There, she meets Ronnie Service, a kind if awkward man with schizophrenia, whose strongest attachments are to his mother, his therapist, and his memory of an old crush that he considers to have been the love of his life.

Gupta’s decision to keep this warm, good-natured novel mostly linear puts too much focus on Cassie’s and Ronnie’s lives before introducing them, material that might have been better presented in flashbacks or as part of the extensive therapeutic sessions both characters attend. Nevertheless, he does an admirable job examining how personal growth, relationship growth, and mental health work together, both positively and negatively. While Cassie is around, Ronnie’s fear of imaginary followers lessens, but his sensitivity to rejection means Cassie’s tentative responses to his enthusiasm can trigger him into a psychotic break. Both characters are always presented sympathetically, given complexity beyond their diagnoses, and allowed substantial progress in self-awareness without dismissing lifelong issues as solvable.

Gupta is less assured when depicting introspection, overemphasizing the character’s reactions to outside events and putting big insights into the mouths of therapists or friends. The way Cassie’s abuse story and its resolution are handled leans slightly too heavily into dramatic voyeurism. Nevertheless, Cassie’s struggle to understand whether she could handle a life with someone with schizophrenia feels authentic, and her definitive answer at the end will prove encouraging to readers who may fear that their mental health might exclude them from love.

Takeaway: This warm novel highlights the possibility of supportive love for everyone, no matter what their challenges.

Great for fans of: Melanie Harlow’s Some Sort of Happy, Penny Reid’s Beard in Mind.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 05/2021
  • 9781777230258 B08RXDDHHB
  • 240 pages
  • $3.99
Paperback Details
  • 05/2021
  • 9781777230241
  • 240 pages
  • $12.00

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