Cut (novel)

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Cut Book Cover.jpg
AuthorPatricia McCormick
Original titleCut
CountryUnited States
GenreYoung adult novel
Publication date
October 2000
Media typePrint (hardback & paperback)
Pages151 pgs
LC ClassPZ7.M13679 Cu 2000

Cut is a 2000 novel by Patricia McCormick, targeted at young adults. In 2002 it was named one of the ALA's "Best Books for Young Adults" for that year.[1]


Fifteen-year-old Callie McPherson of Mississauga isn't speaking to anybody, not even to her therapist at Sea Pines (nicknamed "Sick Minds"), the residential treatment facility where her parents and doctor sent her after discovering that she self-harms. At some point, Callie does begin speaking to her therapist/doctor, and she helps Callie understand why she self-harms. As her story unfolds, Callie reluctantly becomes involved with the other "guests" at Sea Pines—finding her voice and confronting the trauma that triggered her behavior. Callie gets better with the help of Sydney (her roommate), Debbie, Becca, Tara, Amanda, and Tiffany. Through support from her family, guests, and therapist she soon learns why she cuts herself.


  • Callie - sent to Sea Pines for self-injury, specifically cutting and refuses to talk throughout most of the book but later lets it out. Her roommate Sydney gives her the nickname Silent Treatment, or S.T. for short.[2]
  • Amanda - Initially introduced as a care-free and frank girl, Amanda is also a cutter and does so for decoration.
  • Becca - one of the original members of the group and suffers from anorexia and bulimia. She refuses treatment through hiding food and purging. Becca is later transferred to Hammacher.
  • Tara - The character of Tara is very kind and soft-spoken, attempting to reach out to Callie by trying to understand her. She also suffers from anorexia.
  • Debbie - Extremely overweight, Debbie suffers from compulsive eating. Other characters have said that Debbie is co-dependent due to her need to take care of Becca.
  • Sydney - suffers from a drug addiction and is Callie's roommate at Sea Pines. She befriends Callie by treating her like a normal person and looking after her.
  • Tiffany - suffers from an addiction to crack and attends Sea Pines as a way to avoid going to jail. She leaves Sick Minds towards the middle of the book.
  • Callie's Psychiatrist - who is very kind and gentle towards Callie not speaking. She is referenced in second person (you/you/your pronouns) throughout the book.[3]


  • X-acto, the knife that Callie uses to cut herself, is a brand name owned by Elmer's Products whose headquarters is in Columbus, Ohio.
  • At various times, Callie and others reference the television show Rescue 911.[4] At one point, the characters even watch the show. Since the show started in April 1989 and ended in August 1996, this seems to put the time of the novel during this period. However, Callie references a 1997 Krafty Kitchens catalogue earlier in the book.,[5] suggesting a later time frame.


Critical reception for Cut was overwhelmingly positive, with Kirkus Reviews calling the book "a thoughtful look at teenage mental illness and recovery".[6] Booklist praised McCormick's depiction of Callie, saying that she was an "exceptional character study".[7] Publishers Weekly positively reviewed both the paperback and audio versions, writing that the book "sympathetically and authentically renders the difficulties of giving voice to a very real sense of harm and powerlessness" as well as praising Clea Lewis for her narration.[8][9]

Cut has appeared on the American Library Association's Top 100 Challenged/Banned Books.[10]


  1. ^ 2002 Best Books for Young Adults
  2. ^ McCormick, Patricia (February 2002). Cut (First Scholastic/PUSH Printing ed.). New York, NY: Push. p. 4. ISBN 9780439324595.
  3. ^ McCormick, Patricia (February 2002). Cut (First Scholastic/PUSH Printing ed.). New York, NY: Push. ISBN 9780439324595.
  4. ^ McCormick, Patricia (February 2002). Cut (First Scholastic/PUSH Printing ed.). New York, NY: Push. p. 128. ISBN 9780439324595.
  5. ^ McCormick, Patricia (February 2002). Cut (First Scholastic/PUSH Printing ed.). New York, NY: Push. p. 3. ISBN 9780439324595.
  6. ^ Cut Kirkus Reviews
  7. ^ Cut. Booklist
  8. ^ Audio review: Cut Publishers Weekly
  9. ^ Children's review: Cut Publishers Weekly
  10. ^