“Doing something when you’re scared is braver than doing something when you’re not.”
Rating: 3/5 stars
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Thank you SourceBooks Fire for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for a honest review!
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 police? 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.
After reading Alyssa Sheinmel’s novel A Danger to Herself and Others last year and thoroughly enjoying it, I was really excited to jump back into another one of her books. The author has a way of discussing tougher topics in thought-provoking ways that make you extremely empathic towards her main characters and this book was no exception. Despite the fact that I did not like this story as much as the book I read last year, I still think this was a great book that discusses realizing that it is absolutely okay to not be okay when doing the right thing feels like the hardest thing in the world.
What Kind of Girl is definitely a book that makes you feel a whole lot of emotions throughout your reading journey. Right from the get go, it tugs on your heart when a girl goes into her principal’s office with a black eye claiming it was at the hands of her boyfriend. From there it’s a rollercoaster of emotions when her classmates are divided on whether she was lying or not. Unfortunately, it is difficult to speak on a lot of the plot points of this book without spoiling anything, but if you feel you’re in an okay headspace to read this it is an incredibly moving read.
One of my issues with this book was the way the story is told. Initially, each chapter starts out with an unnamed narrator and instead all we know is that each chapter is told through “the girlfriend, the cool girl, the burnout”, etc. It gives readers just the right amount of suspense to keep going but unfortunately, I think the author overdid it and then killed it too quickly. I caught on easily to the direction the author was going in, and then having the “twist” revealed 25% into the story made for a very weird, jarring experience to move past. Another issue was that the narrators also seemed to go off on tangents and get lost in their thoughts very frequently, so pairing up these two issues really threw off the pacing of the book for me.
The last issue I had with this was the ending. Usually, when books tackle heavier topics I do prefer for them to have an open ending since growth and healing doesn’t happen overnight. However, this was a little too open-ended for me and I found it to be dissatisfying since it was hard to find any closure for the main character since we have no idea what the outcome of the situation was. I think an epilogue may have made the ending a little more favorable for readers since I have seen a few other people talk about feeling the same way over the end.
“We may suffer alone, but we survive together.”
“But maybe the things that happened between us should at least shift his future. Because what happened between us changed my life.”
“Mike never hurt me so badly that I needed a doctor’s care. But the first slap didn’t leave a bruise and the last one did. It was getting worse, not better. With our whole lives ahead of us, we had a lifetime for things to get worse, and worse, and worse still.”
“Bad love is no better than not being loved at all. In fact, I think it might be worse.”
All in all, even though this book was a bit of a let down for me I still think that it’s such an important story and deserves to be heard. I love stories where people stand up for themselves even when it’s so incredibly hard. I am the biggest believer that if you don’t advocate for yourself no one will and I love that there are books out there in the world for young readers to see how important it really is to stand up for yourself and what you believe in.
tw: domestic violence, self-harm, eating disorders (bulimia), panic attacks
Until next time,