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Beautiful Scars: A Life Redefined – Review

When I injured my back, I was transferred from the high paced Emergency Department to work in a department that was less intense….

…no even less intense than that…

…even lesser…

…grab a blanket..

…and then maybe lie on the floor and get really sleepy…

That? Is what Quality Assurance felt like after working in the Emergency Department for years.

The hospital CEO gave me a temporary home in the Clinical Manager’s office on the Burn/Rehab unit.  I loved that office. It had faced the busiest part of the Metro area and often my brain got lost wondering what the people were up to. And if I swirled the top dog’s leather chair around, I could see the hustle and bustle down the long corridor. Let me tell you, our hospital housed some of the most amazing kids you’d ever meet.

Because of my severe back injury on the job, I was never able to return to nursing but in those short years, I will always remember a handful of patients who have changed my heart forever. One of those children was a little boy who was on our Burn/Rehab Unit. Every day around the same time, I’d rush to open my door to hear him sing Rehab by Amy Winehouse out loud:

“They tried to make me go to rehab
I said, no, no, no
Yes, I been black
But when I come back, you’ll know, know, know
I ain’t got the time
And if my daddy thinks I’m fine
He’s tried to make me go to rehab
I won’t go, go, go”

Even though this was a serious protest, this child’s voice was absolutely beautiful. He would sing this every single day as they wheeled him down to rehab. He went through so much excruciating pain during his stay and he was such a fighter. I’ll never forget him because this was during the same time that I was receiving therapy as well for my own injuries and I thought, “If this little kid can do it, so can I.”

I was reminded of this boy’s determination to overcome when I received a copy of Beautiful Scars: A Life Redefined by Kilee Brookbank and Lori Highlander with Jessica Noll

This is a true story and let me tell you I applaud this girl for reliving her nightmare in order to help encourage and inspire others — So, let me tell you about this young author.

Her name is Kilee Brookbank.

She is a college student, a sister, a lover of shoes, and animals. She is also a burn survivor.

When she was 16 years old, she was severely injured when a gas leak caused her home to explode. She and her very faithful dog Digger were the only ones home at the time. It had burned forty-five percent of her body and had almost taken her life but thankfully Digger was there to wake her up with his barks. He had then followed her to safety outside until neighbours had found her.

This book chronicles Kilee’s harrowing journey back to wellness – thirty eight days of surgeries, skin grafts, physical therapy, and excruciating pain and the mental battle to rediscover how to live and love herself again.

What I love about this book is that she partners with her mom, Lori Highlander, to write this book. So you are getting both angles of the recovery process from a mother’s perspective and the teen’s/patient’s perspective. It makes for an interesting twist especially if you’re a mother. I really felt connected with Lori’s portion in this book – the emotions that she was going through, and how hard it must have been to watch your daughter struggle so much.

Anyone who has a sick child will connect with the bond and trials that these two share –

This book is such a feel good read. Kilee doesn’t want people to feel sorry for her and what she’s been through. She has such a positive attitude throughout this story and that is with the encouragement of her support systems. She is really driven to keep paying forward and and has even started the Kilee Gives Back Foundation which has raised more than $100, 000 for Shriner’s Hospitals for Children-Cinncinati , and Kilee has partnered with Shriner’s Hospitals to promote its national Be Burn Aware Campaign.

She’s also been seen on The Doctors, Inside Edition, and in Redbook, Girls’ Life, and Woman’s World.

She’s going to move mountains this young woman.

I highly recommend this feel good read which was the 2016 Benjamin Franklin winner for Best Inspirational Book!

It’s available November 14, 2017 and you can place orders now: at KiCam Pojects

Beautiful Scars: A Life Redefined by Kilee Brookbank and Lori Highlander with Jessica Noll 


Disclaimer: I received a copy of Beautiful Scars: A Life Redefined for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 



  1. It sounds like an incredible book, and the two perspectives sound fascinating.

  2. Wow, this sounds like a powerful read. I’ll have to pick this up for sure. I think it’s wonder that Kilee gives back so much.

  3. What a unique story and one that give inspiration. Will be looking for this at the library.

  4. This sounds like an amazing book. Going to look out for it.

  5. This book sounds incredible. Kilee sounds like a brave young lady, but I like knowing that her mom will provide some perspective from a parent point of view too. I’ll add this to my list!

  6. I am always looking for books to read with my 16 year old niece. This is one I am going to get TODAY!!

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      It’s a really good book Charity. I think you’d love it.

  7. Wow, what an amazing story. Makes me appreciate the bond between humans and their dogs. It must have felt so empowering for the author to share her story and bring comfort and inspiration to others.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      My poor dog is so blind he wouldn’t even know what to do. If he wasn’t though…animals are so wonderful aren’t they?! This book was great.

  8. This sounds fascinating, Kim. What a survivor she is. I like that her mother wrote in the book as well. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      She really is. And for being that age too – a teen – to go through something like that and to turn it completely around and to give back? I just found it so inspiring. I really loved this book.

  9. Oh my goodness what a thing to have to go through this sounds like an incredible read about a harrowing journey.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      I worked on the Burn unit and just seeing what those children had to go through in order to function again, it’s painful. I can’t even imagine what she had to go through with those types of burns. So the fact that she’s able to turn this event in her life all the way around, it’s just remarkable.

  10. This book sounds like an amazing and powerful read. Will have to add it to my books I want to read list!

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      It is fantastic. You’ll love it Sarah.

  11. Pam Pam

    This sounds like a really inspiring book. Life gives some of us hard circumstances and some people do well at making the best of it.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      And that is why I loved this book. She’s really inspiring.

  12. This sounds like an incredible book to read, especially to put things in perspective with how you can turn any situation into a chance to grow. I feel like both my mom and I would love this book with the moms perspective in it.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      I found this book to be so refreshing – especially right now when everything is so negative in the news. This young woman took such a horrific life event and made something so positive. And I love that the book bounced off of her and her mom. It’s really great.

  13. Oh wow, she sounds like such a brave soul and her dog saving her! That’s so heartwarming. I like that the book is told in hers and her mom’s perspectives. And Shriner’s does great things – I live nearby so I love that they’ve raised money for it!

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      I really love that the book was done in both the mom’s and in Kilee’s perspectives. So when Kilee was healing in the hospital, the mom’s portion of the story took over too. It was heartbreaking in spots. Shriners is absolutely amazing!

  14. What an incredbily brave girl and amazing of her to share your story and help someone else who might be going through the same thing.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      She truly is. her foundation is giving back to so many kids and her book is going to help reach out to so many more!

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      You would really like this book Kim. I did. It’s a nice change of pace from all that’s going on in the world. xoxo

  15. Wow what an inspiring story! I need to get my hands on this book, I love reading people’s life stories.

    • Kimberly Kimberly

      It is such a great book and the young woman is very inspiring indeed!

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