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Parents' Guide to

A Sense of the Infinite

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Gorgeously written, mature tale of teen's self-discovery.

A Sense of the Infinite Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 1 parent review

age 17+

BEWARE Erotica for Children

Highly, highly explicit sexual content that would make any full grown adult blue. Normalizes sexualization of children by categorizing this as youth literature.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

A beautifully written coming-of-age story about the complexities of friendship, identity, and sexual awakening, A Sense of the Infinite is ideal for fans of intense contemporary YA. This isn't a light romantic comedy about senior-year BFFs and boyfriends; there's a lot that's hard to read about in Smith's books, whether it's grief and mental illness in Wild Awake or rape, abortion, and eating disorders here. But just because the book tackles tough issues doesn't mean it's grim. Smith imbues Annabeth's journey with humor (such as the fact that she and Steven have heart-to-hearts in public restrooms so they call each other "Pee Sisters") and plenty of wisdom, although usually that's in the form of advice from Annabeth's mother, cousin, and Steven.

The number of revelations in the book may feel a bit overwhelming at times, but Smith deftly manages not to cross over into melodrama with everything that's happening to Annabeth and her friends. Kudos to Smith for portraying Annabeth as someone uninterested in finding true love at 17. Annabeth's first sexual experience, for example, is dizzyingly romantic as it's happening but can't survive the light of day; she prefers the mythical nature of that one moment to the disappointing reality of attempting a second encounter. That kind of "no big deal" attitude about virginity and sex admittedly is not for every reader, but Annabeth is hardly the only high school senior to prefer the feeling of "right now" over the commonly propagated idea that high school romance can last forever. Ultimately, this is a story about struggling to define what makes you you -- even if that means separating from some people and finding others. It's a bittersweet testament to growing up and moving forward into that unknown future of adulthood.

Book Details

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