An ultimately hopeful story of a girl who is deeply confused and self-destructive, who must confront her own sense of what it means to be a girl, and what it means to give and receive love.
When Nina Faye is 14, her mother tells her that there is no such thing as unconditional love. This warps Nina's understanding of what girls are good for, and at 17, she's willing to do anything emotionally and sexually to keep her boyfriend. He leaves her anyway, perhaps because of her passivity, and it's only through remembering a trip to Rome she made when she was 14, where she saw Christian martyr saints willing to give up their lives for their faith, that she comes to realize how wrong her mother's advice was, and that what girls are made of is more than the sum of their sexual parts and abilities.
Elana K. Arnold writes for and about children and teens. Some of her books have been included on the LA Public Library's Best Books of the Year list, the Bank Street Best Book list, the YALSA "Best Fiction for Young Adults" list, have been ALAN picks, and have been selected for inclusion in the Amelia Bloomer Project. Her most recent YA novel, Infandous, won the Moonbeam Children's Book Award. She holds a master's degree in Creative Writing/Fiction from the University of California, Davis. She currently lives in Huntington Beach, California, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals.
If you’re looking for something that is going to push boundaries, and not hold back on much of the goriness of being a girl, this could well be the kind of book you’re after.
100% Rock Magazine
Finally, finally, a book that is fully girl, with all of the gore and grace of growing up female exposed. Arnold’s gorgeous prose takes us to all sorts of places to show us what girls are made of: a high-kill animal shelter, an abortion clinic, a bridge to nowhere that adventure seekers bungee-jump from, and all the way to Italy, to the sites of classical and religious art, where our narrator Nina learns the sacred tradition of how stories are told via the contortion and pain of a woman’s body. If you’re looking to enter the mind of a girl navigating sex, love, and her own physicality, look no further than What Girls Are Made Of.