FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Kensington Books (via NetGalley).
Publisher: Kensington Books on September 30, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
The most painful scars are the ones you never see.
In her DJ booth at a Cleveland dance club, Casey feels a sense of connection that's the closest she ever gets to normal. On her college campus, she's reserved, practical--all too aware of the disaster that can result when you trust the wrong person. But inexplicably, Daniel refuses to pay attention to the walls she's put up. Like Casey, he's a senior. In every other way, he's her opposite.
Sexy, open, effortlessly charming, Daniel is willing to take chances and show his feelings. For some reason Casey can't fathom, he's intent on drawing her out of her bubble and back into a world that's messy and unpredictable. He doesn't know about the deep scars that pucker her stomach--or the deeper secret behind them. Since the violent night when everything changed, Casey has never let anyone get close enough to hurt her again. Now, she might be tempted to try.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Casey plays her part well. College student by day, DJ by night, and anything to avoid the past that nearly pulled her under. She keeps to herself, distant from potential friends and certainly not looking for a boyfriend. But when an intriguing guy from one of her classes begins to come around, the carefully structured survival she’s managed so far seems so much more empty…
I actually gave this one a second read before venturing into review territory simply because I couldn’t figure out how I felt about it. On the surface, a character who loves club music is something I would normally avoid, simply because I can’t stand the whole boots and pants bit, but the story here seemed deeper, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
Casey has never really covered from a truly horrific event. The split-second eruption of hell that stole her sense of security and stability in a now obviously crazy world has left her with more than just the ugly scars on her stomach. It’s a topic I don’t imagine many should be writing about, but something about the way this part of the plot was told didn’t seem exploitative. Yeah, I’m being vague, but if you’re gonna read this book, it’s better left to reveal itself. So on to Casey…
While I can certainly understand the traumatic past and the issues she’s had simply pretending to function in college society, I never really connected with her the way I wanted to. Her DJing made her different than your typical college age heroine, and I liked that a lot, but she was so distant from everything and everyone that it made it difficult even for the reader to connect. That’s not to say I couldn’t sympathize with her; I just couldn’t really empathize. Still, her inability to connect with the world except through music, and her sense of isolation made for a very interesting character.
Daniel was a bit of an enigma for me at first; I honestly couldn’t understand why he even took notice of Casey. But it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with him. I kept waiting for it to seem like he was just too good, too mature and understanding for his years, but instead he acted very much his age from time to time, pushing her further than perhaps he should have in coming to terms with her past, and even demanding more when she wasn’t ready to talk. Honestly, that’s one of the things I liked about his character most — he was utterly human and impatient, even when he knew better than to force her hand. His care and concern felt genuine, though, and it was wonderful to see her begin to open up and truly live once he was in her life.
All in all Scratch was a good read with an interesting twist on the typical traumatic past. I think it would have been better perhaps if the story had been longer, taken the time to delve deeper into things and work the readers through the myriad of emotions that we read about but didn’t really get the chance to experience. While it wasn’t my perfect cup of tea, I’m definitely interested in checking out more from Rhonda Helms.