What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold | Book Review
Updated: Mar 27
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Nina Faye grew up in a household of absent parents. The rare moments her mother was around, she taught Nina that unconditional love doesn’t exist. Nina was instructed to maintain her beauty because there would be no love without it and that the key to keeping love was sex. Of course, her mother also told her that one day she might stop loving Nina.
This is one of those books that should be included in high school. It would also be the book many parents would protest because it includes sex. This doesn’t romanticize teenage relationships; it tells the truth. How do children learn about love and sex? What happens when the influences around them are all they have to base a relationship off of? This is what Nina faces. Growing up with parents who barely paid attention to her, the only way Nina knows how to function in a relationship is by what her mother has told her. She takes her mother’s advice to heart, not realizing her mother was an unhappy woman in her relationship. Not realizing that when her mother spoke about relationships, it was to vent about how hers was broken. Words have power. Children are always listening and learning from what happens around them.
When Nina falls for a boy, she changes her entire life to fit around his. She loses herself in the relationship and only surfaces long enough to go to work. She never once thinks about her own wants or needs. She will make choices people aren’t happy with, but she also makes choices that many of us have made when we were young. Regardless if we want to admit it or not. And when Nina loses him, she is left adrift, lost, and confused as to what she should do.
This is Nina’s journey through love and loss. At just 16 she will learn how to make tough decisions and live with the consequences of her actions. She will lose everything and have to relearn what it means to be herself and what love really is.
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