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Reviewed by Kayla Cook for Readers' Favorite
Constellations of Scars by Melissa Eskue Ousley is the gripping tale of a young woman’s search for independence. When Amelia Weaver turned twelve, she started sprouting pearls from her back. Since then, Amelia’s mother, Denise, has kept her hidden away from the world for fear of someone abducting her to exploit what Denise claims is Amelia’s “gift.” To Amelia, the pearls are a curse that causes her to ache and bleed, but her mother only sees the wealth they provide. Eventually, Amelia comes to realize that her mother has become her captor. Now a young woman, Amelia decides to run away, but her sheltered life did little to prepare her for the harsh realities of the world. When Amelia is led to a museum of human oddities, she thinks she’s finally found a true family in the performers who work there, but what she finds is far more sinister than even her mother could have imagined.
Constellations of Scars is one of the best, most original books I’ve read all year. I loved that Constellations of Scars presented a realistic view of the world—its dangers and pitfalls—without sacrificing its overarching hopeful tone. Amelia faced many trials and horrors, but while she did suffer trauma, she used her experiences to grow wiser. Amelia’s mentality evolved from that of a naïve, frightened girl to an independent, tenacious young woman. It was an amazing transition to read and one that felt completely natural, which made the story all the more absorbing. Adding to this empowering development were the vivid descriptions of the beautiful Oregon coastline and the well-rounded supporting characters. Constellations of Scars by Melissa Eskue Ousley is an immersive masterpiece of fiction that I won’t be able to stop talking about for a long time to come.