Wednesday, September 17, 2014

YA Wednesday! Review & Facebook Giveaway~ Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M.


By: Sieni A.M.

             Published: July 9, 2014

  ARC Provided by the author for honest review


"Her heart wept when she realized that the hardest part about loving him was the idea that his love was never meant for her."

Walking with a pronounced limp all her life has never stopped fifteen-year-old Kiva Mau from doing what she loves. While most girls her age are playing sports and perfecting their traditional Samoan dance, Kiva finds serenity in her sketchbook and volunteering at the run-down art center her extended family owns.

When seventeen-year-old Ryler Cade steps into the art center for the first time, Kiva is drawn to the angry and misguided student sent from abroad to reform his violent ways. Scarred and tattooed, an unlikely friendship is formed when the gentle Kiva shows him kindness and beauty through art.

But after a tragic accident leaves Kiva severely disfigured, she struggles to see the beauty she has been brought up to believe. Just when she thinks she’s found her place, Ryler begins to pull away, leaving her heartbroken and confused. The patriarch of the family then takes a turn for the worse and Kiva is forced to give up her dreams to help with familial obligations, until an old family secret surfaces that makes her question everything.

Immersed in the world of traditional art and culture, this is the story of self-sacrifice and discovery, of acceptance and forbearance, of overcoming adversity and finding one’s purpose. Spanning years, it is a story about an intuitive girl and a misunderstood boy and love that becomes real when tested.
Sometimes we find books and sometimes they find us. This book found it's way to me. I read over it's description and thought it would be something that I would enjoy. There are YA elements there so that caught my attention right away but what sealed the deal was that this was a story that featured diversity. Something that is incredibly lacking in contemporary literature. Sure, people are writing diverse stories but the masses are quickly overlooking them to read the same themes over and over again.
Our main characters are Kiva (who reminds me a lot of Frida Kahlo, whom I absolutely adore) and Rylar "Ry". When we first meet Kiva we are introduced to this great young woman who is fully immersed in her art and family. Kiva is being raised by her Aunt after her mother abandoned her. Kiva's been through so much in her young life. She lives with her family in Samoa. Samoa and the Samoan culture play a huge role in the novel and I loved that exposure.
Ry is from the States and has been getting into a lot of trouble. He is dealing with a lot of emotional issues. A lot of his strife comes from how he is treated because he is Arab. Ry is bi-racial. His mother is white. His mother's family did and does not approve of his father. This causes Ry a lot of pain and confusion. Ry is very proud of being Arab. It's awful he is being raised in a home that does not celebrate nor acknowledge his race and culture.  Ry gets sent to Samoa to attend a boy's academy to finish his senior year of high school. The academy provides treatment and therapy for troubled boys.
An unlikely friendship forms between the angry Ry and the peaceful Kiva while Kiva is assisting her uncle in the schools art program. Kiva begins to fall in love with Ry and as Ry lets his guard down becomes like part of her family. A lot happens during this period and I do not want to spoil anything. So you will just have to read to find out. But let me tell you there are so many things happening and so many great moments.
When Ry finishes the program he leaves WITHOUT saying goodbye to Kiva. I KNOW!!!! My heart BROKE!!!!!!!!!! After this there are years that pass. Kiva continues with her art but stays in Samoa to help her family with their business. Ry goes to college and when he finishes he decides to join the Peace Corps and returns to Samoa. I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 years later!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  A lot of things get resolved too which I loved about this story. I never have to wonder what becomes of everyone because each character gets some type of resolution. I know!!! It's so good!!! So hurry up and read this so we can discuss.
I really suffered in this book. It tore my heart apart. But I never stopped reading and I never stopped hoping that Ry and Kiva would somehow be reunited. Further, I was glad it had hardship and grit. Life is messy and love can rip us apart as easy as it can heal us. To experience a great love, a love returned to us is the most beautiful thing we can hope for in life. This was an emotional and beautifully written story and I am so thankful it fell into my hands.





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