Patricia McCormick is the author of several books that depict the lives of normal, yet troubled teens. In Cut you find Callie in Sick Minds--what the kids interned at Sea Pines call the in patient treatment center that deals with eating disorders, substance abuse and behavior issues. Callie will not talk, cannot talk about why she is there or what is bothering her. Soon, through a series of memories and life changing events, Callie finds that she can no longer remain silent, either. Slowly and haltingly her feelings and worries come out and Callie finally finds herself on the path to wellness.
This is the quickest read in the YA section yet. Short does not mean bad, though. This book is well written and perfect for younger teen girls. It incites understanding in some and empathy in others. Callie is a 13 year old that started cutting herself to relieve the stress and anxiety in her life. Another girl in treatment seems to be doing the same, but to garner attention. There are many other girls with a miriad of problems, with quite a few of the signs spelled out in the book to help identify those problems.
On a completely different note, Peeps by Scott Westerfeld was quite charming. This scientific explanation for vampires was a lot of fun and very educational. Every other chapter had an explanation of different parasites. It was scary and interesting at the same time because although vampires are not real, parasites are and their descriptions here will make you think twice about eating rare meat or swimming in tropical rivers (both of which I have done! Eek!).
The story didn't flow particularly well at times, but the plot had quite a few twists and turns and vampirism as an STD was an interesting idea. This book definitely kept me interested, as do most of Westerfeld's books. Unlike his well known futuristic series that includes the books Uglies, Pretties and Specials, Peeps is set in our time in New York city. It is exciting and a little scary, and I recommend this book for older teens 16-20.