I’m currently writing this book review in the middle of a snowstorm 🙂 I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always loved the snow. It’s the absolute best weather for reading.
So for those of you who don’t know, I write midgrade/ YA, and in February I was lucky enough to go to the SCBWI conference in NYC. While I was there, I saw Elana K. Arnold receive an award for her incredible novel What Girls Are Made Of. This book spoke to me in a way that few books do, and I knew as soon as I finished that I needed to share it with you guys.
When Nina Faye was fourteen, her mother told her there was no such thing as unconditional love. Nina believed her. Now Nina is sixteen. And she’ll do anything for the boy she loves, just to prove she’s worthy of him. But when he breaks up with her, Nina is lost. What if she is not a girlfriend? What is she made of?
Broken-hearted, Nina tries to figure out what the conditions of love are. She’s been volunteering at a high-kill animal shelter where she realizes that for dogs waiting to be adopted, love comes only to those with youth, symmetry, and quietness. She also ruminates on the strange, dark time her mother took her to Italy to see statues of saints who endured unspeakable torture because of their unquestioning devotion to the divine. Is this what love is?
What Girls Are Made Of is the most honest, unflinching, brave look at 21st-century girlhood that I have ever read. It didn’t gloss over any of the ugly, gory, scary parts of growing up, the parts that are usually left out of books. Instead, it examined the parts of our stories that don’t get told, the quiet moments of grace in the confusing teenage years.
This story is one that I’m still living, a story that feels familiar and true and real in a way that so many don’t. This is the story that girls need to hear. Thank you for writing it, Elana K. Arnold.
Final rating- 5/5
Thanks for reading my review, and until next time, happy reading 🙂