Title: What Kind of Girl
Author: Alyssa Sheinmel
Publication: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Teen, YA Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads
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.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Alyssa Sheinmel was an author I recognized from a previous review I did of her book, A Danger to Herself and Others. I thoroughly enjoyed that novel and was excited to dig in to this one.
I want to start by saying I love how Sheinmel always writes books about hard hitting issues! Mental health is a focus a lot and What Kind of Girl focused on bulimia, cutting, abusive relationships, and mental health issues such as anxiety. It’s still rather taboo for writers to really write in depth about these types of issues because they aren’t “feel good” thoughts, but I think we need to read about them and Sheinmel does a fantastic job of bringing the reality of these issues to light. She writes them well and realistically without sugar coating like a lot of other stories do.
I loved Maya and Junie in this book. They both had some serious issues going on, but even as best friends had no clue the struggles the other endured. I think that stands true to people who think their weaknesses will cause others to run away. May and Junie were interesting characters to read about and learn more of. There were so many layers to each of them that the entire first half of the book had chapters labeled by character type instead of name.
The one issue I had with this novel was the fact that it was a bit confusing in the beginning with the character type as the title. I wasn’t sure who I was reading about and that left confusion. I guess the author was likely going for a point here with the fact that people have different personalities they keep to themselves, but I felt it caused more confusion than anything good. It also retold the same part of the story twice. Once from one perspective and once from another. Again, probably aiming for a vision of how people view things differently, but really I was just ready to move on with the story. I also didn’t love the ending completely. I feel the girls stories wrapped up, but the main one about the boyfriend was kind of left hanging. That was disappointing. I wanted to know what happened.
With that said, I still gave this book a 4 stars because after that initial beginning, the confusion went away and we really dug into the feelings and realities of the situation these characters were in. It was deep and not happy in the slightest, but it showed personal growth.
If you like teen books, but also some of the dark and dirty realities of the world, this book is for you. A true coming of age story about dealing with your internal struggles and learning to accept them and accept help. Love Alyssa Sheinmel and I’ll be picking up her next book when it comes out.
STAR RATING: 4/5
Pick up your copy of What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and check your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Check out more from author Alyssa Sheinmel on her website here and also check out our review of her previous book, A Danger to Herself and Others HERE.