Saturday, January 23, 2016

Review: Cutter Boy by Cristy Watson

Cutter Boy by Cristy Watson
January 22nd, 2016
I received this book for free on Netgalley in exchange for a review.

I picked up this book with every intention that it wouldn't be diverse. Normally, I prefer to read a story I know will be inclusive. Based on the synopsis of the book, much like Scar Boys, a book I rather enjoyed despite its lack of inclusivity, I decided to give "Cutter Boy" a try.

Cutter Boy follows the exploits of 15 year old Travis. A Canadian boy who suffers from depression, and cuts to deal with his pain.

I know this book is not a perfect depiction of a person who self harms themselves, but for a reader who isn't educated on the desire to self harm themselves, at best it prompted me to want to learn more, and educate myself more on the subject.

Travis was often neglected at home by his family. His twin sisters went off the college, and he misses them, because without them he's forced to deal with withdrawn parents. Particularly his mother.

Most stories about cutters focus on girls. Even when I shared the events of the story with friends, they all said "I didn't know boys did that." Even a character in the book said it to him. 

Travis was bullied at school daily, poor, scrawny, basically the easiest target to pick on, so it made his desire to cut that much stronger.

This was a difficult story for me to read, especially since two scenes were pretty graphic when it came to his cutting. I think it's a cultural difference. Since I'm a Black-Latinx, the generation before us didn't talk about depression, or self harm, mainly because when things bothered them, they were forced to deal with it or get over it, because of the responsibilities involved. You'd probably even be labeled "crazy" for wanting to, so the millions of teens of color who do suffer, most likely do so in silence.

I've never been at a point where I wanted to harm myself, so at times I was uncomfortable with it. But I'm not sure I ever want to get to a place where I'm so desensitized, that it doesn't make me uncomfortable.

Back to the story, slow changes begin when he befriends a new girl at school named Chyvonne.

Biggest mic drop. Chyvonne was Haitian-Canadian. So not only was I not looking for diversity, it shows up anyway, in the form of a dark skinned, athletic Afro-Latina character.

Chyvonne was the only girl Travis ever liked, so it was cute they instantly connected. He was so insecure, that I wasn't sure they'd go further than a conversation. Some jerks sexualized her, and he defended her! That instantly put Travis on my favorite boys in YA list. I loved that he was scrawny, and shorter than her, but she still really liked him and vice versa.

Shout out to all the girls not ashamed to date someone shorter than her. You don't have to be less than(shorter, thinner, make less money) for a guy to be good for you!

When she found out he cut himself, she was still supportive, even though it felt a little "Uncle Jessie" moment, lol. They were cute together. I know love can't save all, but sometimes, you just need a friend in your corner. Chyvonne was definitely that for him.

The ending was a little predictable though. I really saw it coming. "His mother doesn't connect to him, there's a reason why" type trope. It's a valid reason, but apart of me thought they all needed therapy to work through issues like this. No one was talking, so nothing got addressed. Nothing was addressed, so nothing got better.

His mother and Travis were both depressed and in need of help. Maybe they couldn't afford it. But I know avoiding their issues made them worse.

I had a love/hate relationship with Travis finding something new to replace his cutting(an artistic outlet that reminded him of cutting). A part of me thinks "not that easy for other folks", the other part "it's nice to have an outlet". 

Overall, you can read this book in a day. With the difficult topics being discussed, I think teenagers should be reading this, but also think adults can afford to too.

It was simple writing(not a bad thing)and slow/rushed at times, but I don't read a book this fast unless I love it.

I just pictured my cougar crush Colin Ford as Travis
And because I just started watching the new Degrassi on Netflix, I pictured Reiya Downs as Chyvonne(She's even Canadian too!)
I'd highly recommend this, but admit it's not for faint of heart.

You can add it to you Goodreads TBR shelf!

Or buy it on Amazon!


  1. Sounds good, and I'm loving the IR element. Wish it were available in a kindle format tho

  2. Sounds good, and I'm loving the IR element. Wish it were available in a kindle format tho

  3. @Musings IRJ I honestly didn't know I'd enjoy it so much. Like I mentioned, this is not for faint of heart. If self harm makes you uncomfortable, you may not be able to get through some scenes. But his friendship/attraction to Chyvonne was so cute =D


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