AUTHOR: Patricia McCormick
PUBLICATION DATE: February 1, 2002 (first published 2000)
LENGTH: 151 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Callie cuts herself. Never too deep, never enough to die. But enough to feel the pain. Enough to feel the scream inside.
Now she's at Sea Pines, a "residential treatment facility" filled with girls struggling with problems of their own. Callie doesn't want to have anything to do with them. She doesn't want to have anything to do with anyone. She won't even speak.
But Callie can only stay silent for so long...
This book will make your heart ache! I wanted to just reach out and give all those girls a big hug.
Callie is at Sea Pines, or Sick Minds as the patients refer to it, which is a treatment facility for teenage girls in Sayville, New York. At the outset, Callie doesn’t speak aloud to anyone. She was brought to the facility because the school nurse examined her when she wasn’t feeling well, and she noticed the scars on Callie’s arms. Callie is not opening up in her one-on-one sessions with the therapists or in group therapy, where there are also girls with drug addictions and eating disorders. The girls call her “S.T.” for Silent Treatment. It isn’t until the therapist tells her mother that she is exhibiting oppositional behavior and resisting treatment and that they are planning to discharge her that Callie reaches her final plea for help. She manages to steal an aluminum pie plate from the cafeteria and bends it in half to tear it and uses the sharp jagged edge to cut herself, and it ends up being a real bleeder and she goes to the attendant for help. Ruby, the attendant, fixes her up and tucks her back into bed and, the following day, Callie is ready to open up.
My heart just ached for Callie and those other girls, especially how they grew to care about one another! I thought the author did a good job giving a glimpse into a teenage girl’s mind and how she thinks and why someone would harm themselves, but I do wish she had gone into a little more depth. This was a very fast read for me albeit a tough topic, and I definitely had tears.
Patricia McCormick is a new-to-me author, and this is her debut novel. I am interested in reading more from her.
This book is on the American Library Association's Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books for 2000-2009.
“Sometimes when we’re in situations where we feel we’re not in control, we do things, especially things that take a lot of energy, as a way of making ourselves feel we have some power.”