YA book review · Young Adult

What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel


Originally published in School Library Journal, December 2019.

Gr 9 & Up – Mike Parker’s girlfriend of 6 months goes to the principal with a secret – Mike hit her, causing California’s North Bay Academy to take sides on who they believe. A junior and track star, everyone loves golden boy Mike, but the incident spurs students to plan a rally against domestic violence. The girlfriend, Maya, didn’t tell anyone when the abuse started 3 months ago, not even her best friend Junie, a lesbian who is in therapy for self-harm. Maya has also kept another painful secret – the fact that she is making herself throw up. While the school administration debates how to handle Maya’s accusation against Mike, Maya and Junie attempt to deal with their respective illnesses on their own, but quickly realize that they are stronger together. Though the story takes place over only 1 week, the pacing is slower near the end which may cause loss of interest. Fans of Moxie and Girl in Pieces will enjoy this multiple points-of-view novel for the parallel subject matter impacting teenage girls today including domestic violence, self-harm, eating disorders, and mental illness. VERDICT: Recommended for purchase for its diverse characters and timely, relevant topics.

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