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Cut

Burdened with the pressure of believing she is responsible for her brother's illness, 15-year-old Callie begins a course of self-destruction that leads to her being admitted to Sea Pines, a psychiatric hospital the "guests" refer to as Sick Minds. Although initially she refuses to speak, her individual and group therapy sessions trigger memories and insights. Slowly, she begins emerging from her miserable silence, ultimately understanding the role her dysfunctional family played in her brother's health crisis. Patricia McCormick's first novel is authentic and deeply moving. Callie suffers from a less familiar teen problem--she cuts herself to relieve her inner frustrations and guilt. The hope and hard-won progress that comes at the conclusion of the novel is believable and heartening for any teen reader who feels alone in her (or his) angst. Along with Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak and E.L. Konigsburg's Silent to the Bone, McCormick's Cut expertly tackles an unusual response to harrowing adolescent trouble. (Ages 14 and older) --Emilie Coulter

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