What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel
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.
Published: February 4, 2020
** I received a digital advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
But I didn’t really see why it was less significant because it happened in high school, when we all had our lives ahead of us.
While this novel may be classified as a domestic abuse story, it is about friendship, love, mental health, family, and so much more. The two friends, Junie and Maya are battling with their own mental health in their lives, but don’t reach out to each other until much later. Both of these girls are going through their own mental health issues, one has an eating disorder, and the other has anxiety and OCD. This book made me feel a huge range of emotions, in the end I ended up shedding a few tears. It reminded me of my former best friend and I.
This novel is told in two perspectives of best friends, one is the victim of domestic abuse, and the other is her best friend. I love how in the beginning Sheinmel labelled the chapters according to stereotypes of what the girls are going through. It isn’t until Part Two of the novel where we find out there’s two characters, and each of these characters can be “stereotyped” by these titles. You don’t know which girl is labelled; I initially thought it was different people and their perspectives of what was occurring at the high school. It was a nice change in how we read books, and our assumptions about each protagonist were challenged when we found out who each chapter was about.
Maybe I could have stopped it from happening again, if only i’d remembered what made him do it.
I read this book quickly; it drew me in right away and kept me hooked. In high school I frequently read books about mental health and eating disorders – my favourite book was Wintergirls by Anderson. I re-read it many times since I first picked it up and I still cry over it. This book is in the same league as that one in terms of mental illness and the impact it has. Even though this novel does delve into domestic abuse, the mental illness does not overshadow it. Maya kept second guessing her decision to stay with Mike after he slapped her hard enough to leave a bruise around her eye. Maya’s questioning about staying with Mike and what the right thing to do happens frequently with women who are victims of domestic violent. They question if they should stay with their abuser, because it was a one-time thing, and that they probably deserved it.
This book hit me hard, and made me feel so emotional while reading it because my former best friend went through something similar except she wasn’t physically abused. She had some very questionable relationships where I believe the man emotionally abused her, and yet she kept going back and trying to justify why she was attached to these types of men. She was engaged to someone who cheated on her with her friend and stayed with him until she decided enough was enough and finally ended it. I think she now has a more stable relationship, but due to questionable life choices on her part we no longer talk.
That’s good love. The kind of love that’s there even when you’re a mess, even when you’re so disappointed in yourself that you can’t imagine you’re worth loving.
This book was a 4/5 cups of tea for me. And not just any tea, the good kind of tea that hits you right in the centre and warms you from the outside in, the tea that makes everything better, that feels like a nice hug from a loved one.