‘’ Doing something when you’re scared is braver than doing something when you’re not’’
When Mike Parker’s girlfriend comes into school with a black eye, claiming he gave it to her, her whole world is tipped upside down. Her relationship has just ended and now she’s the talk of the school. Mike was the most popular boy in school who was always so in love with her, everyone knew that, so why did he do what he did? Some people believe her and some don’t, but one thing is for sure, this isn’t going to blow over any time soon.
‘’What Kind of Girl’’ by Alyssa Sheinmel tackles some really poignant and sensitive issues that women face every day. Issues like relationship abuse, self-harm and eating disorders are not the easiest to write about and I have seen many authors skim over the topics. However, Sheinmel explores them in such powerfully heart-breaking detail and provides a realistic depiction of what living with these issues is like. For this reason, ‘’What Kind of Girl’’ is not a light, easy read and should be picked up with caution due to triggers.
Sheinmel’s characterisation was brilliant and was my favourite thing about this book. The plot itself was fairly slow but these fantastic characters made the story exciting and interesting, keeping me hooked throughout. I loved watching the characters grow and learn from their experiences/issues. It provided a real hopeful message for the reader whilst keeping it realistic. It didn’t have a ‘’they all lived happily ever after’’ ending but brought hope and stayed true to real life experiences which I thought was crucial in this novel. The characterisation and structure is very clever and really engages the reader. It was something I had never seen done before and, without giving any spoilers, I think it will impress a lot of people.
With multiple POVs it challenges the way society perceives victims of abuse whilst making you reflect upon your own judgements and opinions. The reader will recognise parts of themselves within these characters which makes it a really relatable read. I was so pleased to see issues like these raised in a Young Adult novel as teenagers experience these topics just as much as adults and it can be a very scary, isolating time if you don’t understand what is happening to you. I particularly loved that the POVs were first person as it gave you a real insight into what goes on in people’s minds when they are going through these issues.
I am familiar with Sheinmel’s work and have never been disappointed yet. Her writing flows so well and her characters are perfect for her audience. My only criticism of ‘’What Kind of Girl’’ is that the multiple POV structure went on for a little too long and distracted a little bit from the story, I’d have preferred it if this would have steadied a little but about a third in as it made it a tiny bit chaotic.
‘’What Kind of Girl’’ is a book that should be on every young adult’s shelf and has a lot to say about the world today, particularly for women. Give this book a read, you won’t regret it!