Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cut by Patricia McCormick

Because she cuts herself, Callie finds herself at "Sick Minds" (aka Sea Pines), a rehabilitation facility. She's surrounded by young girls who engage in risky behaviors -- from drug use to anorexia -- but no one even knows why Callie's there. Wandering from activity to activity like a sleepwalker, Callie refuses to speak at all -- thus earning her the nickname "S.T." for Silent Treatment. Will Callie ever connect with the other girls and her psychologist to express why she landed there in the first place?

A delicate, careful novel about the forces that motivate kids to hurt themselves. McCormick, who studied kids who cut for three years for this book, delivers a thoroughly believable world. The main draw is the desire to know the mystery behind Callie's hard-to-comprehend behavior and the charming yet flawed girls around her. A very real-feeling book with a lot of heart and hope.

This tiny book always seemed pretty off-putting to me, from the topic to the raw cover design, but teens in my library kept begging for it. Now know why.

Bibliotherapeutic value: Valuable for both kids who engage in risky behaviors and the ones who don't understand them, this is a book that sheds light on a very difficult topic with care and grace. Encourages talking and connecting with others for healing.

McCormick, Patricia. Cut.  Pennsylvania: Front Street, 2000.

ISBN: 1-886910-61-8. $16.95.

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