I received this book from NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.
Trigger warnings about self harm, bulimia, physical and physicological abuse, drug use
What kind of girl is a book about survivors, fighting, love, friendship and abuse. Told by multiple POVs, or I should write, different side of the same two person, the story is narrated by Maya and Junie, her best friend, during the time of one week.
It’s Monday when Maya goes to the principal office with a black eye, denouncing the golden boy of their high school, her boyfriend Mike. It’s her last straw. After three months of abuse, she says it’s enough. He has to stop.
After that the school divide in two parts. Who believe in Maya, rallying against her abuser and demanding the school board to expel him and who can’t side with her, asking why she waited to speak? Why did she stay with him?
Bit by bit the reader finds about the controlling nature of the track star, how Maya was scared of him, how she suffers from bulimia, how she couldn’t confide in her mother or best friend, how she sought the help of the school burn out, Hiram, finding solace and understanding in him.
Maya realizes her relationship with Mike, seeing it clearly, understanding all the times he pulled, pushed and pinched her, how he wanted to controll her.
At the same time the reader gets to know Juniper, Junie, Maya’s best friend, who struggles with anxiety and who finds release in cutting herself, who, without realizing fully, suffers from her parent’s expectations, above all her father, a human rights attorney, who pushed her to fight, to rally, without seeing her sufferings.
In just one week both of their lives are upset, pushing them to make decisions, to stand for themselves, to seek one other, to support each other.
It was interesting reading the two POVs and seeing all their facets. Maya is the girlfriend, the popular girl, the bulimic, the burn out, while June is the anxious girl, the cool girl, the activist, both of them struggling against pressure and expectations, both of them sick and confused.
I appreciate how the author wrote about Maya’s difficulty to talk, to accept her being a survivor, her being abused, her guilty about Mike’s future and scholarship, her confused feelings, her feeling guilty because she couldn’t talk, because controlled and scared. Her accepting this wasn’t her fault.
I appreciate Junie’s side, too, reading about her anxiety, her need to cut, her need to please her parents, to be controlled, to be cool, her fear that loved ones could think her a basket case, above all her parents, Maya and Tess.
I liked reading about Tess, how Junie decided to be open to her, be sincere about who she is and the open ending. I really loved the open ending. It wasn’t disappointing. I felt that, one way or another, I would have felt hurt or disappointed, but leaving it like that was really smart.
I liked this story, the writing style, it’s a quick read, even though the book is almost 400 pages, because the reader needs to know more, needs to know what happened, what happens, how the main characters will react to this or that and so on.
Compelling, interesting and captivating.
Let me know if you like my review, or if you would read this book.
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