The Merciful Scar  -     By: Rebecca St. James, Nancy Rue
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The Merciful Scar

Thomas Nelson / 2013 / Paperback

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Product Description

Kirsten Peterson was 16 the first time she found release by carving tiny lines into her skin. But when she sees her boyfriend kissing her best friend, she goes too far and is rushed to the ER. Joining a treatment program on a sheep ranch, will she discover that mercy reshapes pain into something beautiful? 368 pages, softcover from Nelson.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 368
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 1401689221
ISBN-13: 9781401689223
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

Kirsten has spent her life trying to forget. But mercy begs her to remember.

When she was in high school, a terrible accident fractured her family, and the only relief Kirsten could find was carving tiny lines into her skin, burying her pain in her flesh. The pain she caused herself was neat and manageable compared to the emotional pain that raged inside.

She was coping. Or so she thought.

But then, eight years later, on the night she expects her long-time boyfriend to propose, Kirsten learns he’s been secretly seeing her best friend. Desperate to escape her feelings, she reaches for the one thing that gives her a sense of control in the midst of chaos.

But this time the cut isn’t so tiny, and it lands her in the psych hospital. Within hours of being there she knows she can’t stay—she isn’t crazy, after all. But she can’t go back to the life she knew before either.

So when her pastor mentions a treatment program on a working ranch, Kirsten decides to take him up on the offer and get away from it all. But the one thing she can’t escape is herself—and her shame.

The ranch is home to a motley crew, each with a lesson to teach. Ever so slowly, Kirsten opens herself to embrace healing—even the scarred places that hurt the most. Mercy begs her to remember the past . . . showing her there’s nothing that cannot be redeemed.

“[St. James and Rue] tackle a tough topic with sensitivity and forthrightness in an intense novel about self-injury, self-esteem, and the numerous shades of love. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal, starred review

Author Bio

Rebecca St. James is a Grammy and Dove Award recipient and a best-selling author whose books include Wait for Me and What Is He Thinking? Her leading role in the film Sarah’s Choice won critical acclaim. A passionate spokesperson for Compassion International, more than 30,000 children have found sponsorship through her worldwide concerts. Twitter: @RebeccaStJames Facebook: RSJames

Nancy Rue is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for teens, tweens, and adults, two of which have won Christy Awards. Nancy is also a popular speaker and radio guest due to her expertise in tween, teen, and young women's issues. She and her husband, Jim, have raised a daughter of their own and now share their Tennessee lake home with two yellow labs. Website: www.nancyrue.com Twitter: @NNRue Facebook: nnrue

Product Reviews

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Displaying items 1-5 of 9
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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    A look into "self-injury"
    October 5, 2014
    Karen Watson
    One of the girls in our book club had experienced this self-injury in her life and she couldn't put the book down! We are trying to learn how to understand and extend the love of Jesus to those who enter our church and are hurting in so many ways we have never experienced ourselves. Nancy Rue teaches through stories that have taught us even more about God's Mercy and Grace.
  2. Summerfield, FL
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    December 21, 2013
    debwilson
    Summerfield, FL
    Age: 18-24
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Merciful Scar - eBook.
    Kirsten is a normal girl on the outside, but she is slowly dying on the inside. An accident in her family has broken how she sees herself, her family, and God; and the only way she feels anything at all is by carving tiny lines into her skin. Despite the physical pain that comes from such actions, the emotional pain she is suffering far outweighs a little blood she draws from time to time. Feeling guilt from the past and thinking she can do nothing to change her life, she tries in vain to ease the pain that is threatening to overwhelm and overtake her.

    Now at twenty-three years old, she still fights the demons of her past. Her boyfriend of several years provides somewhat of a crutch for her, but when she discovers he is seeing her best friend, her world comes crashing down around her. She does what she knows will ease the pain - a knife, a little line, a little blood, and a little guilt eased temporally. But this time the line isn't so little, and this time someone sees her. She lands in the psych ward because it is believed she tried to kill herself.

    Knowing she has gone too far this time, Kirsten takes her pastor's suggestion to go to a sheep ranch that has a treatment program for people like her. But no matter what she does or where she goes, she cannot escape from the pain and guilt of her past. Will she ever find the redeeming grace and forgiveness everyone talks about but seems to elude her? And will she ever be able to forgive herself for what she has done?

    If you have ever done anything in your past that you can't forgive yourself for, you will certainly empathize with Kirsten and understand how she got to the point of cutting herself. While this book is directed more for the YA group, I think that readers of any age (not children, of course) will benefit from reading this novel. Cutting is not something that we know a lot about as a society, and unless it affects us in some way, it's one of the issues that gets swept under the rug. Forgiveness is a simple thing, freeing and liberating in nature. But forgiving yourself is the hardest thing to do sometimes, as Kirsten learns and experiences firsthand.

    This book was provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for free in exchange for an honest review.
  3. Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Beautiful Story of Redemption
    October 16, 2013
    aschae92
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Summary:

    Kirstin's life is complicated. Actually, it's more than that. It hurts. She has a boyfriend who's making her second-guess her convictions, parents for whom she can never be good enough, and constant reminders that she's at least partly responsible for a terrible tragedy that still haunts her years after it happened. She's overwhelmed by life, and she cuts herself. The pain distracts her from the storms in her life, while also giving her a sense of control. But then she accidentally goes too far and finds herself in a psychiatric hospital under the supervision of people who believe she's trying to end her life. The only way out is by staying on a ranch owned by Sister Frankie, a retired nun, and helping take care of Frankie's sheep. The ranch is home to other people weathering other unimaginable hurt. But Kirsten is on the ranch for a reason, and although her physical and emotional scars run deep, they're not to deep to be redeemed by mercy.

    My Thoughts:

    The Merciful Scar is a serious story, showing readers not only Kirsten's wounds, but the wounds of others she encounters. Kirsten deals with her pain by self-injuring. Because of this, some of the scenes made me cringe and want to cover my eyes. But Kirsten is so real that I cared about her too much to leave her in the middle of her darkest moments. Faith plays a huge role in the story, but the book is never preachy. Even if you're like me and can't relate to everything Kirsten goes through, I'm guessing you've still had moments when you felt helpless and maybe even hopeless. Maybe, like Kirsten, your scars run deep. This book shows that, yes, life can be inexplicably hard, but like Sister Frankie so beautifully shows Kirsten on the ranch, we have a Good Shepherd who carries us and loves us. This book is powerful. It'll make you cry, smile, and cry while you smile. It's a story of redemption, healing, and Mercy strong enough to rebuild a broken life.

    **Kirsten is in her young twenties, so this book is a good read for college students. Although some of the big issues in the book are handled well, I recommend this story for people in their late teens or older.

    In Conclusion:

    Rebecca St. James is an inspirational singer, writer, and actress (Sarah's Choice, 2009). I looked forward to seeing her collaborate on this novel. Nancy Rue holds a very dear place in my heart, and will always be one of my very favorite authors. Her books for tweens made me fall in love with reading and I firmly believe my love of story-telling stems from the connection I felt with her books as a middle-school girl. There was something so relatable—so real—about those books that inspired me to live for Jesus and be who I was made to be. Those books still sit on my shelf, and although I've read them countless times, I still flip through them every now and then. I love her adult books, too, and I'm thrilled to add The Merciful Scar to my collection.
  4. WV
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: female
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Something to consider reading!
    September 15, 2013
    PastorsDaughter
    WV
    Age: Under 18
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    My rating: **** Four Stars

    When an accident strikes, fracturing her family, Kirsten turns to cutting herself to relieve the pain she feels. The cutting continues and eight years later she finds that her long-time boyfriend has been secretly seeing her friend. Kirsten cuts herself to get rid of the pain but this time the cut goes deeper then she wanted. Kirsten ends up in a Phys. Hospital and her Pastor suggests she goes to a work ranch where they have a treatment program he hopes will help.

    When Kirsten goes she slowly learns how to heal....

    Pros: I loved the story line! I was caught up in Kirsten's world and saw what it's like for a person who is in depression to go through cutting herself to relieve the pain. The story was fast paced, and sometimes very hard to put down! I become "friends" with the characters, and Rebecca ST. James and Nancy Rue really wrote the story well!

    Cons: Sometimes the story dragged a little, and I wished it ended a little differently (the ending was a little abrupt for me), but other then that no other cons.

    Bad stuff to consider: Kissing (not describe), Kirsten cutting herself for pain relief, Kirsten's ex boyfriend mentioned sleeping together but Kirsten stands up saying no, she won't do it, and nothing more is said about that. Kirsten's ex boyfriend get's her friend pregnant and abortion is mentioned.

    Overall....

    I really enjoyed the story! I had a bad cold the day I got the book in the mail, and all I wanted to do was lay around so this book was awesome to read during that day! Totally something to consider reading!

    Note to ya'll: I got this free from booksneeze, and was required to do a book review on receiving this book, but all thoughts in this review were my own.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Beautifully written
    September 10, 2013
    Christianfictionaddiction
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Nancy Rue and Rebecca St. James have written a beautiful novel, one that mines the depths of human emotion while celebrating the triumph of mercy and God's grace. When I first picked up "The Merciful Scar", I was not entirely sure what to expect. I knew a book featuring a character who engaged in self injury to release her pain was a subject that may, at times, disturb me - and at times I was right. Cutting is a subject I deal with in my job all the time, and it can be difficult to watch people cope with their pain in that manner. However, I wasn't expecting to meet a character that not only made my heart hurt, but actually made me laugh out loud on occasion as well! Kirsten Petersen is one of those characters who steps off the page within seconds of being introduced to them, and I found the book impossible to put down because I simply had to see what would happen next. I loved Kirsten's inner voice, which she refers to as "Nudnik", a voice that seemed all too similar to the one that speaks in my own head sometimes, and one that provided for some hilarious commentary on Kirsten's life. The cast of support characters are equally wonderful, from Sister Frankie to Frankie's nephew Andy, and they add a lot of life and flavour to the story. The pacing is well done, and the scenes unfold with the sensitivity of skilled writers, unveiling ever more from chapter to chapter and drawing you deeper into the characters lives. Prepare to laugh, and cry, and come away filled with hope at all that God can accomplish.

    If you are simply looking for an excellent book, then look no further. But if you are looking for a book that helps you understand why others engage in cutting to deal with pain (or maybe why you yourself struggle with this), then this book is an absolute must-read. Entertaining, insightful, and real, it is a book I plan on picking up again. 5 out of 5 stars.

    A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.
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