Cover Image: What Kind of Girl

What Kind of Girl

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I'm a little out of touch with the teenager side of things, being a 36 year old woman, so this was a punch to the gut.
It was very beautifully written and it gives you a lot of emotions.

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this book needs every trigger warning possible, so read with care.

an interesting look at the reactions of a group of high school students when one of them reveals her boyfriend has been abusing her. how this book played with pov was interesting, a kind of puzzle for the reader to sift through. i won't say i loved this book, but i do think it did a good job of seeing so many different kinds of thoughts & reactions people could have.

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I got this book from Netgally for review but loved it so much I bought it in physical form, this book has a lot of trgger warnings so I'd look into those before delving into this but the main plot of the story revolves around Maya who has been hit by her boyfriend Mike, Mike is the golden boy and the champion of the schools running team so the powers that be at the school and the other students don't really know how to react to the news that Mike is abusive, we also follow Mayas best friend Junie who has a whole lot of issues to deal with herself as well as trying to support Maya and stand by her.

This book was emotional and thought provoking and more than that important for a young adult audience.

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After reading this book, I took a few days to process what I just read. It hits you hard with emotions. While reading this I would think about how I could relate to it and how many others may relate to this book. I think that's what broke my heart the most about this book, is that things like this does happen in real life. It was well written and dealt with a lot of issues carefully. It was one of the hardest books I've ever read but I'm glad I got the chance to read it.

Thank you #Netgalley for the arch of
What Kind of Girl
by Alyssa Sheinmel
Pub Date: 01 Feb 2020

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I wasn't a fan of this one. I loved the idea and the courageous handling of really difficult topics. While I loved the idea of the perspective switching to different characters, it didn't work for me in this case because of the repetition that occurred. The writing didn't pull me in which was the hardest part. I'd be curious to try another Alyssa Shienmel novel in the future!

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I find this novel being an interesting, rewarding reading for teenagers, focused on the topic of low self-esteem and lack of trust in oneself and others, which manifests itself in the behavior of these characters. The book covers physical violence in a relationship, self-harm or bulimia; and at the same time solves deeper topics - like complicated situation in the family (parents overwhelmed by their interests and ideas; difficult divorce).
Both main heroines are trying to find themselves, they solve their inner pains the best they know how to (which is not always the best way for them as it can become a shortcut (like drugs, self-harm etc.); one becomes a victim of partnership violence, but the other does not solve less serious problems.
I especially like how at the end of the book the two heroines reflect on their actions in-depth, including confrontation not only with the problems they face, but also with the reasons for those problems.

So why 3 stars? The topic and its solutions shown through the rosy colored lens at some parts (mostly related to inner journeys of characters). The topic could get deeper, the growth of the heroines could have been slower, but more permanent, as the wound healing processes are more complex in reality.
I understand that it is YA, but I would still welcome an even more comprehensive view (for example, the nature or reasons for the behavior of the abusive boy or the parents of both girls. We never see their side and this could add to the better understanding of the topic).

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I could not get into this story and will not be finishing it. I hope that others can enjoy it more than I did.

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What Kind of Girl is a harsh look at how we treat those who have been abused and those who are suspected of abusing someone? This notion runs wild in Mike's school after his girlfriend shows up with a bruise on her face and a story tying him to the assault. But who is telling the truth? I rode the rollercoaster of a ride to find the truth.

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‘What Kind of Girl’ by Alyssa Sheinmel was a tough read for sure, but so important and worth it. The author handled the subject matter very well. This book was moving and will make you feel so many things. Be aware of trigger warnings.

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What Kind of Girl follows two friends as they navigate their teen years. One has OCD and has a history of cutting, so this book does need trigger warnings for sure. The other has been abused by her shining high school star of a boyfriend and is battling bulimia. When she finally has had enough and speaks out about the abuse, the story unfolds into a battle between his side and hers. The two friends have to navigate their issues and figure out the best way to ultimately help themselves as well as each other. This book deals with some very important issues and I feel it would be a great book for young adults to read. It was quick and packed a punch. 3.5 stars. Thank you, NetGalley for the eARC.

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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I wish I liked this book more than I did but it was just ok for me. I wanted to like this but it just didn't work for me.

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This book needs to have a bright red trigger warning, even more than the one already included, as it can induce anxiety and is graphic about abuse.

First thing to know about the book that is positive is how the author utilized different POV characters. Some people don’t like that as they can find it confusing, but for me, it breaks up the monotony of the story. It’s also good to see how different people view and react to the same set of facts.

The bad, the boom drags on a little towards the end. As I mentioned above, the book does a really good set up with the POVs and details of the characters and how the story is unfolding, but after it unfolds it takes a long time to get anywhere else. I think sometimes, with these types of novels, and by that I mean novels that discuss traumatic experiences, it’s better to get in and out. Give details where needed but don’t drag us along. Over all it’s a decent read.

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What Kind of Girl was a really emotional read for me. It touches on so many elements that teenagers and especially teenage girls struggle with and I am someone who has personally dealt with several of them, You can be the "cool girl" and be secretly suffering. You can be the "smart girl" and suffer from severe anxiety. You can be the "golden boy" and be an abuser. What we portray to the world isn't always reality and I think the author did a great job at show this. I loved how the author titled the chapters to show these different identities. Please do check out the trigger warnings as there are some heavy ones.

This book starts with a girl going to her principal’s office with a black eye. She says her boyfriend Mike hit her- and this wasn't the first time. This is the starting point for the rest of the book where we see how the school divides with the accusation, the victim blaming and the multiple layers of the girl and everyone in her lives. I recommend going into this blind from a plot perspective but with knowledge of the subject matter. This book will stay with me.

Thank you to Sourcebooks and Netgalley for the e-arc. All thoughts are my own. This book was published February 4, 2020 and is out now.

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Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley, Alyssa Sheinwel, and Sourcebooks Fire for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.

Content warnings: Eating Disorder (bulimia), Self-Harm (cutting), Domestic Abuse, Mental Health (Anxiety, Panic Attacks), Drug Use/Abuse

Representation: Queer (Lesbian couple), Anxiety Rep (possibly depression as well)

I finished this book about a couple of days ago, so while it should still be fresh in my mind, I’ll do my best to write up a decent review. Here goes!

Also, keep in mind that the names of the girls in the book are considered spoilers, so I’ll have to be pretty vague about who I’m talking about.

From the moment I read this book’s synopsis, I knew that I was going to be in for a ride. Domestic abuse is somewhat of a trigger of mine, and it gets even worse when people don’t want to believe the victim because the abuser is a “golden” kid. It kills me that this ends up being a popular thought among bystanders, and I hate that I feel like I probably would have done the same if I was younger and this happened in my own high school – or if it was reported… since I don’t remember hearing about an incident but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one.

Looking at the cover, I was curious to see how the opinions of each “kind” of girl in regards to what happened. It also made me wonder who was going to be on the believing side versus the skeptical side. So I knew that I was going to have some strong opinions about this book no matter what happened.

Forgive Yourself for Not Leaving Earlier

Mike Parker’s girlfriend went to the principal office on Monday morning, sporting a black eye from when Mike slapped her on the weekend. She didn’t know why she went to the principal’s office, or why she even reported it, but she believed that a part of her wanted the principal to make it stop. What happens next is what usually happens: people seeing her black eye in school, the rumor mill going on about if it’s true, was it really Mike because “he’s such a good guy?”, why didn’t she leave when he first hit her months ago?… Stuff like that.

Hearing what people have to say about her makes her wonder what kind of girl she has to be to stay with someone who has hit her and hurt her before. Why didn’t she say anything the first time? Did she really want to report him? Did she ruin his life? If the Board of Trustees votes to expel him, he could lose his scholarship… but is that more important than her well-being? There comes a point in the novel where she feels like it was her fault for not getting out sooner, and that if she really thought what he was doing was wrong, then she wouldn’t have continued to stay and love him like she did.

Both the inner monologue of this girl and the outside commentary from the rest of the school plays a huge part in this thinking, and that’s no surprise. But no matter what others think, and even if they can’t believe something because they thought the abuser was just a great guy in public, SHE has to be the one to forgive herself. It wasn’t her fault that she still loved him even after the first time, and it shouldn’t be her fault. No matter what she did or didn’t do, she did not deserve to be abused in any capacity.

You Can Be Multiple Kinds of Girls at Once
Look at the descriptions on the cover: the activist, the burnout, the bulimic, etc. Can you truly judge someone by one thing alone? Can you truly claim to know someone as only “the activist” without knowing everything about that person? Why put them in a box and not allow this person to choose who they are and what they want to be, flaws and all? Sometimes it just takes a little self-reflection – and sometimes professional help – to understand one’s self, and to learn all the facets that make them the person they are today.

Just a little thought before reading the novel…

I wish I could get more into the development without spoilers but that seems a little too difficult. Or at least, I haven’t figured out a way to do so. I guess one thing I could say is that despite how everything started in the beginning, by the time the novel was over, I was slightly more reassured that these characters would be okay. I felt like they learned so much about themselves and one another, and were able to make a decision on what is or isn’t right in their eyes.

I was more inclined to root for the characters when the novel ended, if that makes sense.

I’ve mentioned this in my Instagram post while I was reading the novel, but to reiterate, I was going through a few emotions while I was reading this. I was angry by what happened to the girlfriend and by the gaslighting and manipulation that Mike did to her. I was frustrated that she would start to doubt herself after being gaslight and hearing what her peers had to say about her behind her back. I was worried because of the cutting and the bulimia, knowing that while these girls knew it wasn’t the best thing to do, that was the only thing that seemed to ease their pain. I was hopeful when the girls finally shared everything with one another, and found that even though they weren’t in each others lives as much as before, it didn’t mean their friendship was hurt or broken.

I know I said angry before, but I was really, really angry when I read the opinions of others, especially those that made the girlfriend feel like it was her fault that she was hit, and that she had to have been mistaken on WHO hit her or that it had to have been a misunderstanding. I was angry at the girls that victim blamed rather than supported their classmate. I was angry at the boys that pressured the girlfriend to take it back, so that their friend Mike could have a future again. I know that this was the point of the book, and this kind of dialogue has been happening and still happens in our world today. Nothing in this book was outlandish to me, or something that I couldn’t believe would happen; it was very much accurate to the current commentary. I guess it made me angry because like I mentioned, this kind of thing STILL happens, and people are still prone to victim blaming or second guessing a victim’s report. It makes other victims not want to speak up out of fear that they won’t be believed or worse, and I understand that. I wish it wasn’t the case.

The narration choice that Sheinwel has in this novel works well to tell a story from multiple points of view. It also seems like each chapter takes place either during or right after the previous chapter, and we are able to get a good idea of where everyone is at roughly around the same time. I listened to the audiobook, and it made it easier for me to tell the difference between the different narrators. Yes, the way that the narrator changed her voice for each one helped, but even if I wasn’t paying attention to who was talking, I could tell who it was based on previous chapters. If that makes sense? It makes sense in my head. There wasn’t anything super special about it, but that’s not an issue here. It worked just fine with the plot and what it needed to do for this story.

I’ll remind you again that if any of the above trigger warnings are an issue for you, I would skip this novel or read it when you’re able to deal with the content in a healthy way. This was a great example of having a nuanced conversation about domestic violence and self harm. Characters weren’t misguided by others thinking that getting rid of these negative aspects will suddenly make life better. They were also encouraged to speak to a professional or even join support groups to help them process their trauma. This novel also didn’t romanticize either of the difficult topics involved, which is really important to me when I read a story. While I don’t know if I could handle reading this again in the near future, I would recommend it to those that want to read more novels that deal with mental health.

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I really loved this fast-paced, high-stakes narrative that explores the politics of girlhood. It was equal parts devastatingly beautiful and thrilling.

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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of What Kind of GIrl, by Alyssa Sheinmel.

I liked this book for so many reasons. It's difficult to talk about why without giving too much away, except to say that it makes you think twice before labeling people, or allowing someone, or oneself to become defined by the things that have happened to them.

The Golden Boy at school has just been accused of hitting his girlfriend. And while the school has an anti-violence policy, he struck her off campus, and no one saw it. This is an unprecedented situation in the school, and while everyone also has their own struggles that they're dealing with, they are also trying to decide what should happen to these allegations.

The style of the book is very unique, and written through the lenses of several different students. As the story unfolds, it becomes clearer who is actually who, how they relate to the story, and how they overcome their issues.

I would have no problem letting my teens read this book. It attacks so many important issues for not just young people, but for everyone. It dives into issues of eating disorders, self harm, drug use, romance, friendships, LGBTQ+ identity, activism, violence, and being believed. So obviously, this needs to be approached with caution for trigger purposes.

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After several chapters I knew it would not appeal to my students and do not plan to purchase it. Thank you for the opportunity to read it for preview purposes.

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ARC eBook provided by Netgalley, but it took me until now to finish and review this book it can be incredibly triggering.

The narrative and overall plot of this book is great, and I’m in love with the premise and would love to see the premise again. But the text is unflinching in the face of trauma in ways that feel dangerous to readers, which was difficult to get through.

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I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

While this had an interesting set up, I felt this book tackled too many hard issues at once. There was so much going on I felt none of the issues got the attention they deserved.

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this book has some hard topics in, and really appreciated the trigger warnings at the beginning. This story follows maya and her friend as they both deal with hard struggles:domestic violence and self harm/mental illness. This touched a lot upon victim blaming when it comes to domestic violence, and how hard it is to get justice when you do speak out due to societys views. I also think it really depicted self harm and anxiety so well, and the use of it as a coping mechanism for life. I liked how it all tied up at the end with everyone getting help for there issues and it delved into why the victim is never the blame for domestic violence.

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