My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Title: What Kind of Girl
Author: Alyssa Sheinmel
Format: eBook (NetGalley)
Publication Date: February 1, 2020
Categories: Drugs, Dating Abuse, Self Harm, Mental Illness, Young Adult
Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**
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 to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.
First and foremost, this book has triggers all throughout the story. It delves into the thoughts and actions of two teenagers, one who is a girl who reports that her boyfriend abused her. The other girl is her friend, who is a cutter, dealing with life’s pressures in unhealthy ways.
But the way it’s written in the beginning can get a little confusing. There is more than one perspective being told but no name, just a label: The Girlfriend, The Popular Girl, The Bulimic, The Burn Out. The more you read on you understand this is the girlfriend, Mike Parker’s accuser. We get into her thoughts a lot about what happens when she tells her secret. People question her, blame her and in turn she also questions herself and blames herself. It’s no wonder why people who are abused don’t report it when it occurs. We also see her thoughts about how she felt about Mike, how he made her feel, how she had to question if what they had was love? Can it be love still, if he hit her? We are there in her thought process and it’s frustrating but eye-opening, and we eventually learn her name is Maya.
Then in part two we get a different perspective from Maya’s best friend, Juniper, but she too has issues. She’s a cutter. She’s dealing with anxiety, OCD and panic attacks. We get into her head as well and it’s stressful in there.
I really like how the story evolved. I’ve often wondered why people stay with abusers, even though I’ve seen it happen to my own friends and family members. And Maya’s character gives us a chance to see how someone can waver, blame herself, see people question her and then she in turns question herself. I mean Mike is the star athlete at school with everything going for him. People wanted to take his side and given the chance they totally did. But we see Maya is also dealing with other things like her parents’ divorce and bulimia.
Then we see questions come from Juniper as well. They are best friends but even Juniper judged Maya on the situation. Juniper has issues of her own trying to balance her parents expectations, trying to figure out if she’s good enough for her girlfriend Tess, and cutting helps release the pressure from her daily life. She plans a protest to get Mike expelled but things don’t go as planned and it pushes her over the edge.
There was a little relief for me when the best friends finally told each other their secrets. They needed each other and didn’t know what they were going through individually. In the end these two girls choose another label for themselves, the kind of girl who stands up for their truth. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼
It is a story that brings up relevant issues about dating abuse, self harm and mental illness. Overall it’s an engaging and emotional read about some hard subjects.