I so hate doing reviews like this. I much prefer to write glowing reviews about books that I really adored. I love sharing books that touched me, and sadly this book was so far off the mark I don’t even know what to say.
Scarred Souls had a few subplots that I think could have been really incredible. First, it dealt with severe mental illness and cutting. I love books that compassionately handle real world afflictions, so if I were to name something about this book that I could have loved that would be it. Second, Damian is Asexual. It’s not a secret, you pretty much find out right off the bat. He legitimately has no interest at all in having sex, which is a completely untouched topic in any book I’ve ever read. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it, but I was ready to be wowed by a perspective I had never read before.
The reality of the story, however, was as far from ‘wow’ as you can get. The two characters had no connection at all, I thought. There was no chemistry. I appreciate how Damian’s being Asexual was the perfect relationship for someone who had been through the trauma that Josh had, but then the emotional connection between these two character should have been off the dang charts and it just wasn’t. It was so… bland. Perhaps I’m being too hard on the story, you had these two very distinctive personality types and it was obvious that the author was trying to really stay true to the core of who each person was, but the result was one that was tepid. Tepid is never good for your reader.
In addition to that, Josh came across as extremely intellectually stunted. It wasn’t even an effect of everything he had been through. Obviously he would be behind in school, and he would struggle with anything that hit him on an emotional level, but even his journal entries felt like they were written by an 11 year old, which made the romance seem extremely uneven to read. It was so hard to understand why these two worked.
Basically, the characters did not gel.
Then, you take all this going on and add to it that every single character has some huge emotional upheaval in their life. I’m not talking ‘dad died of cancer’ story. I’m saying that each character seemed to have lived through something you’d watch on True Crime TV. It’s fiction, I get it, but the importance of those histories is lessened when everyone has one. It’s especially lessened when each character thinks to themselves that ‘so-in-so’s sordid past is worse/better than mine’.
Epic fail for this reader. Epic. Fail.
Thank you to Less Than Three Press and Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
See this review, and others, at Badass Book Reviews!