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Review: What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold

Title: What Girls Are Made Of
Author: Elana K. Arnold
Year Published: 2017

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 183
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2018 Google Reading map): USA (CA)

FTC Disclosure: I received this book as a gift

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): This is NOT a story of sugar and spice and everything nice.

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 is she if 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?

Review: I really didn't know anything about this book when I got it except that it was recommended by Library Journal, but not by any of the bloggers whose blogs I read. I should pay heed to that and stick to my blogger buddy recommendations!

This isn't a bad book, and there were definitely parts that I like, it just didn't grab me. There wasn't really a plot, more of a following Nina around and seeing how she interacts with the world during a brief time period. 

What I did like is that Nina is real. She is figuring out that she is a sexual person, could be a good friend if she allowed herself to be, an animal lover, and someone whose parents shouldn't really be parents. Nina is straightforward, uncompromising, and willing to learn from her mistakes and apologize when she is wrong. So, Nina is important because she isn't the other girls that we read about in YA novels. She starts out being whatever her boyfriend wants her to be, but by the end of the novel she starts to become whatever SHE wants to be and that's huge.

Challenges for which this counts: none

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