Cut by Patricia McCormick

Cut by Patricia McCormick
Publisher: Front Street imprint of Boyds Mills Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (160 pgs)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

Fifteen-year-old Callie isn’t speaking to anybody, not even to her therapist at Sea Pines, the “residential treatment facility” where her parents and doctor sent her after discovering that she cuts herself. As her story unfolds, Callie reluctantly become involved with the other “guests” at Sea Pines — finding her voice and confronting the trauma that triggered her behavior.

Everything is as good as it can be for teenager Callie until that fateful day when her younger brother, Sam, falls horribly ill. From that moment forward, Callie is thrown into a net of insecurity and doubt culminating in her ultimate breakdown. Finding herself installed at Sea Pines, a psychiatric hospital for teens, mute and alone, she’s forced to face the reality of what is and what isn’t. And the truth about herself.

Callie is a very complex character expressed in a very non-complex manner. Her voice is straightforward and honest, even if she’s not being completely honest on the outside. She comes off as shy and reserved, although she’s also very dedicated to her brother and maintaining his precarious health. She’s older than her fifteen years as she tends to take on more responsibility than is natural. Callie’s also extremely hard on herself, taking blame where none is to be placed.

It wasn’t a surprise to me, with all the weight she’s put upon her own shoulders, that she is forced to find a way to cope with the stress and burdens of life. I was surprised that she turns to cutting for her relief. The title of the book aside, you don’t normally find this topic approached in books of any type, let alone ones geared towards young adults. I think that it’s important for parents and teens alike to be aware that things like this do happen and are real.

Callie’s journey from the mute outsider to a girl who is finally coming to grips with her place in the world is both sweet and heartbreaking. Watching her find herself – and her voice – in the midst of a group of girls with a variety of issues all their own is encouraging. It makes you want to believe in a better tomorrow and revel in the idea that everyone deserves a second chance. Cut is a true journey, from insecure and angry to a chance at peace and self-love.

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