What Kind of Girl

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

I absolutely loved this book. It's so compassionate about each issue that Junie and Maya are facing, and I think it's a valuable resource for a variety of things (abusive relationships, obviously, but also mental health and eating disorders).
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Review: 3 Stars

I was really excited to read What Kind of Girl for many reasons. I had previously read A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa B Sheinmel (check out my review here) and really wanted to check out her latest book about the after effects of domestic abuse. What Kind of Girl explored domestic abuse, anxiety, OCD, victim blaming, self harm and bulimia. I was thinking of this book recently when I covered books with mental health representation for Top 5 Saturday and after reading I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one.

There were a lot of things that I really liked about What Kind of Girl. The chapters in part one and two start with headers like the popular girl, the burnout and the girlfriend and all throughout part one I thought that each chapter was about a different person. It wasn’t until I started reading part two that I realized that all of part one was actually from the same perspective and it was trying to show that one girl could have many different sides to her. Even though I was confused I think that it made my reading experience interesting when I realized that all of part one was actually the same perspective. I found myself looking back at those chapters and I was really able to see how a person is bigger than the roles or stereotypes that they fit in and I think the fact that I didn’t realize that part one was all from one perspective really helped make that idea have a bigger impact on me as a reader. Maya was all of those roles, she was the burnout, the popular girl, the girlfriend and the bulimic, but she was also so much more than any of those things and my reading experience, while confusing, really helped bring that point home.

I really liked how this book helped humanize mental illness. Maya was super easy to relate to, so it was easy to find yourself understanding all of the thoughts that went through her head and find yourself in her shoes. I felt like Junie was a good character, but I found her a little less easy to relate to and I felt like she just didn’t feel as real to me. I don’t know if that is because of a lack of character development, or if I just didn’t relate to her issues as much as I did with Maya’s issues. I found myself emotionally involved in the abuse part of this story. I was so angry at Mike and all of the other students that wouldn’t believe Maya. I loved Maya and I really felt for her and everything that she went through.

Another thing that I really enjoyed was the way this book explored victim blaming and self blame for domestic abuse. I think that it really dove into the harmful thoughts and things that people say after someone came forward with abuse and also really helped me understand the different perspectives. I think that the domestic abuse parts were done pretty well. I think that the mental health issues were also represented pretty well for most of the book. While I’m not an own voices reader for all of these issues, I think the ones that I have experienced were represented really well.

But when talking about how this book dealt with mental illness I also need to bring up my biggest problem with this book, which is it’s ending. I really hated the ending and how mental illness was used as a plot device. By the end of the book everything is all wrapped up and the girls are going to get treatment for their illnesses and they told the people closest to them the truth about the things they’ve been going through. It’s not that that’s not a viable ending, but it’s that it didn’t feel believable in these circumstances and it felt a little too much like an after school special ending that we were supposed to learn a lesson from. The fact that these characters’ mental illnesses magically got better and they magically decided to tell the truth about EVERYTHING to their parents and then go get therapy just felt a little far fetched for the situations.

Overall I think that there were good things and bad things about this book. I think that for the most part the mental illness representation was pretty good, but I can’t say for sure about all of the issues explored in the book. Bu it really annoyed me how Maya and Junie got magically better right in time for the ending because it just didn’t feel real. Despite some of the issues I had with What Kind of Girl I still totally think that it was worth reading because it opened my eyes to the impact that victim blaming can truly have.
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Trigger Warnings: Domestic abuse, societal pressure/expectations

This book was a touching one. It explored the various perspectives following domestic abuse, and how society creates it's own perspective that influences everything. 

It definitely is a harder book to read, so if you are sensitive to the subjects shown above, please be very cautious before picking this one up. 

It's a hard-hitting story that completely takes your mind and values into the light. I do think the book itself is an important one for many readers of all ages to read. A solid 4 out of 5 stars from me!
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Oof the world just really hates girls, doesn't it? An unflinching look at the culture surrounding girls and women who report domestic violence and assault, this book explores victim-blaming, he-said-she-said and more. I'll be thinking about this one for a long, long time!
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Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book and review it. Warning... there are a lot of triggers for teens who are struggling in this book - cutting, bulimia, drugs to reduce pain, etc. I wanted to like this story so much more than I did. I struggled figuring out who was telling the story in the first several chapters as it would bounce around and the author never mentioned the main characters by name. Once I realized who they were I was able to get into the story a bit more and see how the characters developed and changed through the end. In the end, I was still a bit disappointed- there was no closure.
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It's difficult book to read and people should be warned about trigger warning as it talks about many sensitive issues: self-harm, abuse, drug abuse, eating disorders and homophobia. 
When an act of violence happens in high school, the students are trying to understand what really actually happened. Maya shows up at school with a black eye and she says it was her boyfriend Mike, golden boy.  Mike says different story about what happened. But who is telling the truth? School is divided into two teams who believe different person.

I also wasn't the biggest fan of the ending of the book as it was a little dissatisfying.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcefire Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Unfortunately I am no longer interested in reading this book, therefore I will not be reviewing it any further.
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I've always been a big fan of Alyssa Sheinmel's, and was very excited to see another book of her's being published this month! What Kind of Girl is a raw, gritty novel that deals with tough, often stigmatized issues such as relationship abuse, self harm, anxiety, and bulimia. I appreciated that the novel started with a trigger/content warning for the topics that would be discussed within the novel's pages. 

    The novel deals with two best friends, Maya and Juniper, who are also two of the most popular girls of their private school. Maya is dating the track school star Mike, who everyone loves. What no one knows is that Mike has gotten increasingly violent towards Maya, and most recently a slap has resulted in a black eye for Maya. Maya decides she can't take it anymore, and goes to the school's principal. What follows is the division of the school for who believes Maya and who believes Mike. 

   Also woven into the novel is the friendship between Maya and Juniper. Both are dealing with intense issues that they've chosen not to disclose to each other. Throughout the book we see these coming to a head and their relationship transforming and being tested. 

   What Kind of Girl started off a little confusing to me -- the chapter headings alluded to more characters than actually exist, but that could have just been me. Also, I don't like when novels finish inconclusive, and this novel left the reader with a lot of loose ends! I didn't feel satisfied when I turned that last page -- I had a lot of questions instead. I don't want to imagine my own ending, I want to know what the author intended for this pair, for better or worse.
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North Bay Academy, popular track star Mike Parker's girlfriend has accused him of hitting her. But, she's gone to the principal instead of calling the police? 

Is she telling the truth? 

Some of the students want to hold a rally to expel Mike, while others aren't so quick to believe his girlfriend. 
This book tackles relationship violence, cutting, victim blaming, bulimia, bullying and a whole lot more. Alyssa did a wonderful job and I think it tells people that it's ok for you to stand up for yourself. Lots of hard subjects, but it was a very good read. 

Thank you to Publisher and NetGalley for the eARC
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This author wrote one of my favorite unreliable narrator books – A Danger To Herself And Others. I was so excited to see that she had another book out that I requested a copy ASAP! I couldn’t wait to read it. Sadly, this one wasn’t as enjoyable. Here are my pros and cons for What Kind of Girl:

Pros

1. This book is about much more than just a boy allegedly hitting his girlfriend (which is also a con for me, see Con #1). It also talks about multiple mental health and abuse issues, including self-harm. I do not have any of the mental health issues that were discussed in this book; however, as a person who doesn’t understand and is uneducated about self-harm, I felt like the thoughts and feelings of a person that does self-harm were explained very well in this book. I felt like I got a little bit into her head and started to understand what self-harm did for her mentally. Even if I personally can't fathom how hurting one's self could possibly be a positive thing, I feel like I at least understood why she felt that way. She was the most genuine character in the whole book. She was the one I cared about. She was the one I was interested in. She was the one I wanted to succeed and get help and get healthy. She was the one I wanted to read about. Honestly? The rest of the book was just unfocused noise to me.

Cons

1. This book lacks focus. Is this about a girl who is hit by her boyfriend? Or is it about bulimia, self-harm, drug use, OCD, negative parent/child relationships, etc.? If the author was trying to draw attention to multiple mental health and abuse issues, she failed... because most of them didn’t get any real focus at all and everything was diluted.
2. The little game the author played at the beginning of the book fell totally flat for me. Each chapter was narrated by a “kind” of girl – the burnout, the girlfriend, the popular girl, the bulimic. You don’t know who these girls are until the end of Part 1 of the book. Then Part 2 starts in a similar way, but you already know the twist so it is no longer effective… and then the format just disappears. Very weird.
3. I actually started to get a bit confused between the two main female characters. They were so similar to me that I found myself having to pay very close attention to which character was which. There simply wasn’t enough distinction between them (unless they were talking about their specific mental health/abuse issues) to keep them apart.
4. I’ve never read a book that started so many sentences with “maybe” (e.g., maybe they think I’m stupid, maybe they think I’m ugly, maybe my parents won’t understand, maybe they will like my clothes, maybe they won’t notice, etc.). I understand the “why” behind it (the girls are constantly experiencing self-doubt, low self-esteem, and are continuously questioning everything), but reading those numerous “maybe” statements throughout the book was distracting and repetitive to the extreme.
5. This book has an unresolved ending and it is INFURIATING!

Summary
I have to be honest here… I really started to think this was another unreliable narrator story. Since the author wrote such a compelling unreliable narrator novel for her debut, it made me wonder if she was doing that again. With all the flip-flopping, lying, questioning, emphasis on some extreme mental health issues, and just everything that happened in this book, I really wonder if the purpose was to prove that we, as the reader, don’t really know anything about what happened other than what we were told. And if there is anything I have learned in this life it is that what we are told is not always fact. People lie all the time. Now, I am not saying the girl in this book wasn’t hit by her boyfriend. If I’m honest, I tend to think he did. However, we didn’t really get facts – just two sides to a story (and very little of Mike's side actually), a black eye, and an unresolved ending. I really have to wonder if this book was an experiment just to see how readers react to an accusation.

This book obviously made me think and my head is all over the place. I almost considered not writing this review altogether to be honest. As a book, it wasn’t that compelling as written and I initially gave it 2 stars (considering all of my cons). However, what the book made me think about afterwards was more complex. While I don’t think the book was necessarily a great read, if it sparks a discussion that is typically not a bad thing. Therefore, I bumped my rating up to 3 stars overall.

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Title:  What Kind of Girl
Author:  Alyssa Heinmel
Genre:  YA
Rating:  4 out of 5

North Bay Academy is rocked when Mike Parker’s girlfriend walks into the principal’s office and accuses him of hitting her. She has the black eye to prove it—but is she telling the truth? Mike’s the most popular guy around; would he really hit his girlfriend? And if he did, why didn’t she tell anyone the first time it happened?  Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Is it true…or is there more to the story?

This is an excellent book about a tough topic. It showcases what some girls experience:  like it’s not bad enough they go through dating violence. They also have to deal with people calling them liars, thinking they deserved it, and/or taking their abuser’s side. This is told in alternating viewpoints, but the story strands weave together seamlessly, creating a picture that has even more depth than what the reader first thinks.

Alyssa Heinmel was born in California and raised in New York. What Kind of Girl is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.)
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This is definitely it is me not you situation. This book hits me way to close to home and reading it gave me anxiety. I had to stop reading for my own mental health. However, be that as it may, in my opinion that just means it was good and hard hitting. For this reason I would give this book word of mouth around my library. This book is full of relevant issues coming to light in terms of dating abuse and mental health. I would recommend this to teens. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Even though this took me a little longer to read than I expected (because some of the scenes were pretty anxiety inducing for me), it was SO worth the time I spent with it. This book is a hard read for sure, but it was a very important one and I ultimately really liked it.
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The rumors spread quickly at North Bay Academy. Popular track star Mike Parker's girlfriend has accused him of hitting her. She even told the principal. But, they wonder, why not the police? Why did she wait so long to tell? Why hasn't Mike been expelled? Some students at the school want to hold a rally--to expel Mike. But others aren't so quick to believe his girlfriend.

"But (of course), by lunchtime everyone at school knows, as easily and quickly as if they'd announced it over the loudspeaker: Sad Girl accuses Golden Boy of abuse."

This was an interesting book. It tackles a lot of heavy subjects within its pages. It also presents an intriguing format. The beginning of the book is told via archetypes: think popular girl; nerd; sad girl; the girlfriend, etc. It's a strange, almost gimmicky, format and meant it took some time for me to warm to any of the characters (especially since you don't know their names). Over time, the book grew on me, but it was hard to overcome that slow start.

There's so much going on in this one. Abuse, self-harm, drug use, mental health, eating disorders, and more. Please keep this in mind in terms of trigger warnings. I applaud Sheinmel and all she takes on. It's a very brave book, and the characters have a lot of depth. I think it might have had even more if the book maybe shortened its focus on just a few issues, versus trying to take on so many. Still, it's a very relevant story, and you can't help but appreciate how it tackles such big themes and emotions. I can see how it would be helpful to young adults. Even I found myself identifying with one of the characters and growing to root for all of them. 3.5 stars; rounded to four here for the powerful topics and messaging.
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***Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me a free ARC in exchange for an honest review***
Let me first say that this book has a LOT of trigger warnings. They’re even listed in the front of this book, which i really appreciated. They include: cutting, bulimia, relationship violence, coercion/manipulation, physical violence, victim blaming, slut shaming, and bullying.
That being said, I really enjoyed this book. It tackled all of these really hard and really important issues and showed how important it is to stand up for what’s right, what you believe in, and yourself. It was a perfectly paced story that took on a sensitive story and showed the different perspectives that it was made up of.
While it has a lot of dark themes, it also is a story of acceptance and love and supporting one another. Overall, I enjoyed it quite a bit and I would recommend it for anybody who wants to read a YA contemporary book that deals with the tough stuff.
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Ohhhhhh it’s so hard to review this without spoilers. I’ll keep it short and sweet. A book that tackles issues of violence, drug use, homophobia  and bulimia. A deeply affecting novel that manages to deal with serious issues whilst maintaining an engrossing and fast moving plot. Thanks tot he publisher and netgalley for the arc.
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I always appreciate difficult & important topics such as domestic violence being spoken about in YA. I thought the characters did really read as teenagers and not as an adult trying to write as a teenager. I liked the POV style at first but the connections were revealed too early and it just seemed kind of pointless after that. it also got suuuper repetitive which meant I started skimming through some parts. I never really felt connected to any of the characters except for Junie. the ending was also SO unsatisfying and I didn't feel like we got any conclusion whatsoever.
overall, I think this story touches on SO many important issues and a lot of people will be able to connect to it and feel impacted by it. personally it wasn't a fave.
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This story is really close to my heart. Although I never was in an abusive relationship. I have been abused by someone I loved so I really connected with the main character Maya in this story. 

This is a dual perspective novel with a twist. We follow two main characters Maya and her best friend but each chapter title is broken up into the different types of labels that they are associated with. For example: the popular girl, the anxious girl, the bulimic, etc. I really loved the way Alyssa did this and proved that there are many labels associated with people that no one really sees. 

What kind of girl does not just discuss relationship abuse but also discuss mental illness and how much people suffer in silence so people see them as “normal”. These hard topics are discussed and written with the utmost care, empathy and attention.

In my opinion I feel like the abuse in this story was accurately described and it truly showed the teeny tiny signs that an abuser takes control and starts their abuse. Although this abuse turned physical it also showed the mental and psychological abuse that starts before the violence like the isolation, control and so much more.  

The main message in this novel to stand up for yourself and it’s okay to speak up which I really really loved. This story was not a five star read for me because I was left a little disappointed at the ending. I wanted more and wanted to find out what happened with Mike. 

This is definitely a book I believe that everyone should read. It is such an important story and I truly believe that you will learn a lot from this book about abuse and mental illness.
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An excellent read which explores the impact of physical abuse on the two main characters, the abuser, their families and their school. I really enjoyed how earlier chapter titles are based on aspects of the two main characters' personalities and identities. It was nice to see how the growth of both characters by the end of the story. This is the second novel I have read by the author and I look forward to reading more.
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A young adult aged novel that explores themes of substance abuse, domestic violence, self harm, and sexuality. Written in a clever way, What Kind of Girl follows teen girls as they face societal expectations in the fast-paced, gossipy high school atmosphere. With no names, only self-given titles, we follow The Bulimic, The Popular Girl, The Pothead, The Abused Girlfriend. We see their interactions with family, friends, their abuser. We are given access to their emotions, to their decision making, to the truth. We know what others are whispering and thinking, we know how it's making them feel, but until the very end we don't know everything. There is a grand reveal, one I certainly didn't expect, that really tied this book together and made it jump above four stars for me. You see, we all take what society thinks of us and allow it to impact how we dress, act, feel, and Alyssa B. Sheinmel captures that in this book perfectly.

Written in a format that allows you to really step into the narrators shoes, What Kind of Girl is a heavy novel that forces readers to recognize that the hardships we'd like to pretend do not touch teens still do regardless of our pretending. It's emotional and raw, presenting readers with a relatable story that reminded me what it was like to not have a single version of myself at that age; I had no idea who I wanted to become or what I wanted others to see of me yet. The narrator(s) question their own opinions of themselves, we see them work through the beliefs they think others will have of them, we see them hide the truth from their parents afraid to speak up. The societal expectations the girls in this book feel are accurate, they're felt by women of all ages, and Sheinmel delivers a powerful story about those expectations and the harm they can do to us, both from our own actions and others.

I really enjoyed What Kind of Girl quite a lot, it's written with a punch, leaving an impact on me even as a reader well above the age group for the novel. It's a story about judgement and acceptance, about discovering oneself and the support needed when those expectations all become too much. I'd call it a coming-of-age story that is more up-to-date on the times than the romances we all like to believe in.
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