- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (Oct. 1 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0547942087
- ISBN-13: 978-0547942087
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.6 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 440 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #957,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Stained Hardcover – Oct 1 2013
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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."
- Publishers Weekly
"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
About the Author
Cheryl Rainfield is the author of the novels Scars and Hunted . A survivor of abuse, she often draws upon her own experience in her intense and highly charged fiction, heralding the strength and courage of ordinary people. She lives in Toronto, Canada. Visit her website at www.cherylrainfield.com.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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The protagonist went through the full range of thought and emotions that a child might in such a situation.
I loved the way the young lady increasingly got insight into the personality and the possible thinking of the criminal as well.
The book feels like it is written by a teenager for teenagers, which shows that the writer remembers how young people feel and think.
The novel opens with sixteen-year-old Sarah Meadows eagerly anticipating treatments to rid her of the port wine birthmark on her cheek –something that has plagued her for her entire life. Sarah has been bullied, teased, shunned and stared at for as long as she can remember. But with treatments about to start, she is hopeful that those days will be behind her.
Such is not to be. On the day of her scheduled treatment, Sarah’s family is thrown into chaos when her father discovers his business is in trouble. Somebody has stolen money from the company. Lots of it. There is no extra for medical treatments now. Sarah is devastated, both for selfish reasons and for the angst that her parents are experiencing.
Things go from bad to worse. Sarah is abducted soon afterwards by a trusted family friend, and held captive for four months in a remote and rural location. She is blindfolded, has limited food, and is subjected to repeated rape, humiliation and plenty of psychological mind games. She is locked up for days on end, with minimal food and no way of escape. How will she ever survive?
This book is not for the faint of heart. It is a brutally honest account of a girl who is thrown into a horrific situation with very little chance of escape. The first person present tense narrative is gritty and dark, but believable and totally gripping. Immediately, you are inside Sarah’s head. You feel her pain. The hopelessness, the injustice...but you also see her strength. Sarah is determined to survive. She endures the unthinkable but throughout it all, she will not let herself lose composure. She knows if she falls apart, she doesn’t stand a chance.
Without giving away any spoilers, STAINED is a novel about courage - not only the courage to survive, but the courage to be who you are. To recognize what’s real and what isn’t, and to cut through the crap and stand strong regardless.
Sarah’s epiphany comes three-quarters of the way through the book. She draws upon strengths she does not know she possesses, and by the end of the book, she is no longer the girl she was. She is no longer a victim, afraid of participating in life...she is Sarah Meadows: a super hero of a different sort.
Cheryl Rainfield is a superb writer. This book was honest and authentic. Some of the writing is stream-of-conciousness writing – portraying exactly the way a girl fighting for her life would think. Sarah's “sort of” boyfriend, Nick, shares alternating chapters with Sarah, also in first person present tense. He is a sensitive, intelligent character who has loved Sarah for longer than she knows. I would have loved to have seen a little more development between he and Sarah in the beginning of the book, but that being said, I loved the way things worked out for the two of them at the end!
Ultimately, STAINED is a story about triumph in the face of adversity, and the unbelievable tenacity of human spirit. It may also cause young people to question what their definition of beauty might be.
An engrossing, terrifying, heart-wrenching, adrenaline-studded story that will take over your day, or...in my case...make you pull over to the side of the road when you’re driving in order to get yourself together!
Well done, Cheryl Rainfield. Five out of five.
At school, Sarah has to share this unexpected news with her group of friends: Charlene who is overweight and the brunt of her father's verbal abuse; Gemma, a lesbian; and Nick, who is considered a geeky "doughboy" by others, though Sarah considers that,
"They don't care that he's kind, smart, and good natured, and sort of cute in a soft, chubby way, with messy, sandy hair that's always falling into his eyes and a quick smile. All they see is his weight and his social awkwardness." (pg. 15)
When Nick narrates a chapter, he emulates the same sentiments about Sarah, calling her beautiful and wishing she could see how amazing she is.
On the way home, a bullying incident has Brian Gormley, her dad's cute assistant, coming to her rescue, offering to help and drive her home. Though she declines, feeling that "Something isn't right" (pg. 35), Brian grabs her, drugs her and locks her away, with a padlocked leather blindfold on. He claims that he will help her and her parents by giving them "freedom from the pain in their lives" (pg. 84) as he has done for others. Thus begins a tortuous imprisonment of months in which Sarah endures physical, sexual and psychological abuse at Brian's hands. Worse is Sarah's ignorance of the efforts being made to find her, especially by Nick and her parents, with the duplicitous Brian even offering assistance. Nick becomes relentless in pursuing every lead possible, outdoing the seemingly ineffective efforts of the police.
Throughout Sarah's imprisonment, she attempts to understand Brian's motivations, determined that she would not "let Brian's lies become my reality." (pg. 154) As she attempts to appease him, Sarah is actually becoming emotionally stronger, learning how to handle him and manipulate situations as she can. It's ironic that the very manipulation Brian accuses Sarah of instigating to derive guilt from her parents is a skill she develops courtesy of his abuse. Though he may see her as becoming weaker and submissive, Sarah continues to look for any means to save herself, recognizing that she "has to get herself out, not wait for someone to save her." (pg. 179)
Cheryl Rainfield has courageously admitted that she has drawn on her personal experiences to write Stained (see original Stained release announcement ), emphasizing the positive attributes of courage, perseverance, and self-reliance rather than on the trauma. This becomes self-evident from the tag line for the book,
Sometimes YOU have to be your own hero.
But just as important is self-acceptance, as Sarah, Nick and her friends learn. They might all see the "better side" of life for those who are beautiful or slender or popular, but a crash course in introspection makes them realize the superficiality of those attributes and the absence of any relationship with goodness. The beautiful Brian Gormley is a prime example of a revolting inside to an oft admired exterior. Sadly for Sarah, this lesson must come at the cost of her freedom.
Not an easy read, Stained will have young adult readers both cringing for the physical, sexual and emotional abuse Sarah must endure and cheering for her efforts and determination to survive, recognizing that her Stained face has only been masking, temporarily, the hero within.
I had read one of this author’s previous books - “Scars” - and I was hoping this one would be just as good. “Stained” exceeded my expectations!
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