I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel
on February 4, 2020
Genres: Cutting & Self-Harm, Dating & Sex, Eating Disorders & Body Image, Mental Illness, Physical & Emotional Abuse, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Themes, Young Adult Fiction
“That’s a very serious accusation.” A girl walks into her principal’s office and reveals that her boyfriend, a well-liked athlete, has been hitting her and she wants it to stop. Her proof, a black eye from that weekend. But the abuse started three months earlier, which begs the question “what kind of girl lets it go on so long? What kind of girl doesn’t go to the police? What kind of girl would still be in love with the boy abusing her? These are the questions that her classmates ask, but also more importantly, the girl asks of herself too. The teenage girls in this book grapple with how they see themselves, how they perceive others see them and who they actually are inside.
There were so many layers to the characters in this book. No one is one-dimensional, they are actually on the other end of the spectrum, which made this book a heavy read. I don’t want to give away any spoiler alerts so I won’t even put names to the characters. But I definitely took a huge double-take, reverse, re-read and pause before I proceeded into part two.
I was thankful for the trigger warnings, because it not only dealt with domestic violence, but bulimia, cutting, anxiety, drug use. The issues are super heavy and it made it a really tough read during certain parts.
This story did a great job of highlighting that you can feel multiple things and question yourself repeatedly in difficult situations and that is okay, because it’s part of the process of understanding who you are. The effects of self-isolation and the healing benefits of communication, love and support when you allow it into your life.
This was a heavy book, but I’m sure that it will help teenagers who are grappling with these issues as well as those who need to develop empathy for those who are going through these ordeals.
I received this book as an ARC from the publisher at the ALAN Workshop.
- Would I Read it Again?: No. There were too many issues packed into the characters for me. It was tough reading some of the scenes. But I do have more empathy and some additional understanding now for people that suffer from those issues.
- Recommend: Cautiously. If you are an educator recommending an independent read to a kid, know who you are recommending too. There are a LOT of triggers in this book. It also gets a little graphic in spots regarding the self-harm. (I hate the sight of blood…)But that isn’t to say that it wouldn’t help a lot of teens either going through the same thing, know someone who is, or have no clue about these issues and therefore have no empathy for others suffering from them.