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I really liked this book, BUT... (a few things to know)
on June 4, 2014
I want to start this review by saying that as a parent, I really liked this book. It was well-written, fast-moving, and created enough curiosity to keep the pages moving well. However, since I bought the book for my 9-year-old, I'm going to add a few more points to my review.
The characters come from a wide variety of backgrounds, which I think is great. But I found some of situations to be a little heavy for what I want my nine-year-old reading just yet. Two of the characters have parents that have had divorces as a result of affairs (other girlfriends). One child was born when her mom was still in high school (maybe 16 or 17 years old, I don't quite recall). Though these situations are real - along with the sadness, grief, shame, and guilt that accompany them - I don't think I'm ready for that to take up space in my daughter's leisure reading time yet.
I realize that this is probably a more accurate reflection of society than I would hope, but those are a couple of things I would have wanted to know *before* my child read this book, so that I could have the chance to either 1) hold off for a while on introducing this book or 2) read it as a read-aloud so we could discuss these topics right then. As it happened, I was so intruiged by the book, I ended up reading it before I passed it on to her -- so for me, the problem was avoided.
I'm definitely sticking the book on the shelf for a year or two though, and plan to bring it out later. It was an excellent read with many good examples of good and bad behavior, and characters changing (an excellent life skill to learn!). I just think the nine side of the 9-12 age range was a little low, even if reading ability was considerably higher.