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Cut Paperback – Color, May 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 621 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

An ALA Quick Pick for YA Readers
A NYPL Book for the Teen Age

"First-timer McCormick tackles a side of mental illness that is rarely seen in young-adult literature in a believable and sensitive manner. . . .. A thoughtful look at teenage mental illness and recovery." --KIRKUS REVIEWS, starred review

"Like E. L. Konigsburg's Silent to the Bone and Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, Cut is another authentic-sounding novel in which elective mutism plays a part, this time with humor making the pain of adolescence gone awry more bearable...an exceptional character study of a young woman and her hospital mates who struggle with demons so severe that only their bodies can confess." --BOOKLIST

From the Author

I entered the locked ward with some trepidation. The girls on the other side of the door were all confined there because of dangerous things they'd done with sharp objects: shards of glass, box cutters, knives. Friends had questioned my decision to visit the ward. But these girls weren't dangerous to others: they were hurting themselves.
 
I was nervous because I'd written a manuscript about a girl who cut herself - and I'm not a cutter. I was sure the girls would call me out as phony, as a poser, as someone who'd exploited their pain.  I'd spent more than two years working on the book - but I was prepared to toss it the garbage if these girls told me that I had no right to try to tell their story.
 
One by one, they approached me. With curiosity, with a nervousness of their own. And one by one, they told me their stories. Stories of terrible violence - committed against themselves. But what moved me even more was the secrecy and isolation they suffered.
 
One girl, a pretty blond with expressive blue eyes, told me she'd worn a turtleneck when she went to the beach with her family; no one asked why. Another girl, with an adorable boyish hair cut and mischievous eyes, said she kept going to the same hardware store to get bigger blades - wishing that the man behind the counter would ask her what she was doing with them. And another girl described telling her parents transparent lies about her cuts - blaming on them on the cat or 'falling on a coke bottle' - always hoping they'd see through her stories.
 
What I realized then was that they wanted to be found out. They were caught in a cycle of hurting themselves, then being terribly ashamed and afraid of what they'd done, feelings that would drive them to hurt themselves again - each time, a little worse. They were practically advertising what they were doing - because they didn't know how to stop.
 
Some told friends - then begged their friends not to say anything. Those friends  were then pulled into the secret and struggled with their own guilt and worry. But a lot of the girls at SAFE Alternatives, the center I visited, were there because of those friends. Friends who were willing put their friendship on the line - by telling a trusted adult - because they recognized that it was a secret too dangerous to keep.
 
Since CUT was published I've heard from thousands of readers: girls who said the book prompted them to get help, concerned friends and parents, teachers and therapists who wanted to understand what a behavior that confused and frightened them.
 
Most moving, though, were the comments from the girls in that locked ward. They all read my manuscript - then asked to see my scars. I told them, with some hesitation, that I made the story up, that I had never self-injured. 'But you told my story,' they each said. 'How could you know how it felt?' And it dawned on me, then, finally, why I identified with them, why I'd written the book in the first place.
 
I was that girl in the book - the girl who was so lonely, so angry and hurt - and so confused that I couldn't put it all into words.  I remember all too well how alone I felt.  I did some self-destructive things - I think we all do - and took on responsibility and shame for things that weren't really mine to shoulder.  The facts of my life were different from theirs; the emotional truth was the same.
 
The girls at SAFE Alternatives gave me their blessing to publish the book. In fact, they were really pleased to see that their experience - something cloaked in secrecy and shame would be put into words. With their own recovery underway, they hoped that others who were struggling with self-injury would feel less alone and get help. By giving Callie a voice, they said, the book was giving them a voice.
 
But it was those girls who gave me the biggest gift. They gave me the confidence to believe in the power of a fiction - to connect us more deeply, perhaps, than the facts ever could.
 
 

Product details

  • Publisher : Push; Reprint edition (May 1, 2011)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 176 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0545290791
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0545290791
  • Reading age : 12 - 15 years
  • Grade level : 7 - 9
  • Item Weight : 4 ounces
  • Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.5 x 7.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 621 ratings

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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
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kelsey
4.0 out of 5 stars great, quick read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Very boring!
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