Title: What Kind of Girl
Author: Alyssa Sheinmel
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: February 4, 2020
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Girl In Pieces meets Moxie in this unflinching exploration of the many forms of abuse society inflicts upon women, and the strength it takes to rise above it all to claim your worth.
The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions. Why did she go to the principal and not the polcie? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true?
Some girls want to rally for his expulsion—and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.
Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Content warnings: dating abuse, bulimia, self harm (cutting), anxiety/OCD and drug use
Wow, I am completely blown away. This was not an easy book to read whatsoever. What Kind of Girl broke my heart and made my blood boil, but it also gave me so much hope. These characters and their stories will stay with me for a long time. This book deserves all the praise but I’ll admit, nothing I write in this review will do it enough justice.
I was a little overwhelmed in the beginning of the book. There were so many POVs and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep all of them straight. After part one was over though, everything clicked and it all made complete sense. I kind of had an *OMG* moment when I realized what the author was doing. I don’t want to go into detail, but Alyssa Sheinmel put a twist on the way the story was told.
In What Kind of Girl, the main characters face some pretty heavy stuff. We follow one character who was in an abusive relationship. We see the reality of what it’s like before and after reporting the abuse. The character struggles with victim blaming, self blaming and guilt. She is constantly worried that any and every move she makes will be misconstrued. It was infuriating to read what all she went through. We also follow another character who has anxiety/OCD & self harms. She is really just trying to cope. There are many things going on if her life and she feels that the only way to not hurt anymore is to cut. We get to see what lead her to that point and how easy it is to resort to other unhealthy ways of coping.
The author did a fantastic job making these characters and their stories so accurate and realistic. My heart truly hurt for them, but seeing how much they learn and grow by the end of the book is beautiful.
I really appreciate that these issues were discussed in a Young Adult novel. I feel as though we never think that something like dating abuse can happen to teenagers. Unfortunately though, it does. It probably happens more than anyone really knows. The same goes for self harm. I hope that when this book is released it will help & give hope to those who need it.