Review: Touching Scars by Stacy Borel

Touching Scars - Stacy Borel

If I had to describe Touching Scars with one word alone, that would be unfinished.

Perhaps I should've read the blurb more closely before picking it up, because then I'd been more prepared for what to read. Now, I barely even skimmed it; I only noticed the PTSD the guy, Timber has. Instead of a wounded soldier I get two people, where none of them acting properly considering their troubled pasts. The girl, Kat, of course needed to have her own demons, and considering the NA genre, I could've figured out what her demons would be brought on by. 

Yes, rape.

(show spoiler)


The main problem with this novel is the execution of both MC's pasts which they handle in the presence with the help of each other. I find books with soldiers suffering from PTSD highly interesting because I find the condition in itself interesting, but I also believe it takes more than one person to cure someone with it, as is done in Touching Scars. It takes more than one girl with her own issues for this troubled Timber and his possessiveness to cure his condition. Unfortunately, as with many other books in the NA genre, the main character's haunted past is more of a device for her/him to hook up with a person which is "special" and will be the cure. This haunted past is also often forgotten until it can be used to make the other person even that more special, despite in a more realistic setting it would require more than this person can provide him/her with unless said person is a trained psychologist, which they rarely are in the NA genre.

But, as said, Timber isn't the only one with a traumatic past. Kat has had her fair share of memories pressing her down. Honestly, it's not so much the fact that both main characters have these pasts. In this case it's the fact that Timber's condition is put in the shadows whereas Kat's past is the prominent issue they have to tackle. To be frank, I felt while reading that Timber had much more to process and handle than Kat's character did. I had the impression, while she hadn't fully processed her past, Kat had moved past it, living a relatively good life. Timber on the other hand, went straight from being on the alcoholic side to loving and feeling possessive of Kat, most of his trauma forgotten until it made for a good story.

That aside, the second biggest issue with Touching Scars was the reactions in several scenes. Already forgotten most of the concrete examples, I only have one very prominent, which is Timber walking into the bar Kat works after meeting her once since coming back to the States. His thoughts when seeing her is that she's someone to love, someone to keep, no other kind of girl. Most of all, it bothered me how he almost immediately thought of her as my girl. It bothered me how quickly he just decided she was it. A lovely fantasy, but I hardly believe it to be found often in reality. Then there were a few things that just didn't match up, such as Kat sunbathing every Sunday, yet her skin is "milky white".

It's not that the book is terrible, the plot is rather well, if a bit predictable. The writing was nothing special, but definitely not bad either (finally a NA not written in present tense!). Unfortunately the execution, as I said, ruined it by not giving both characters proper time to tackle their demons. Now it mostly focuses on Kat, and not nearly enough on Timber to make me believe his recovery from his PTSD. The best thing would've been to give the book more length to deal with this, or simply just focus on either the PTSD or Kat to make one of their recoveries the main problem instead of adding two. Therefore, I left the book feeling unfinished with these characters since both of them, in my opinion, needed much more to them for the book in itself to be done!