Not for tweens or youngest teens
Honestly, I did not read the whole book, so I'm not really commenting on its literary merits. It way well have value for mid-teens to older teens. I skimmed the book, because (after being away from home for a few days) I saw that my husband had let our 12-year-old check this out from the library even though it was marked "Teen" and I had cautioned him about doing this. I found the passionate "kissing" scene noted in other reviews and am in agreement with other parents who find this objectionable for tweens and young teens. The Common Sense Media reviewer says that there is nothing explicit, but I think that a blow-by-blow description of taking shirts off while worrying about being too flat-chested, the kissing of stomachs, the sliding of thumbs below the waistline of jeans, the feeling of lying together skin-to-skin is pretty explicit stuff for tweens and younger teens. FYI, I do not consider myself terribly conservative, and I am not a religious conservative. However, I don't think kids this age needs to "go there" with a character they have come to identify with. Sure, it's one thing to know about this stuff (yes, I've had talks with DD about sex) but another to get into the head of someone experiencing it a if it's happening in the moment. Doesn't matter whether "sex" technically occured" it's still a strong sexual scene. And yes, all the strong themes of deaths of main characters is a lot of heavy stuff to process at this age. Some children/tweens/ young teens are very precocious intellectually (and have read just about every available book for their age-group) yet are sensitive emotionally...it is tough to find reading that is challenging, interesting and yet age-appropriate. My daughter loved the earlier books in the series but THIS book is out of line for a 12-year-old. Too bad the earlier books hook tweens in...of course, they then don't want to wait two or three years to read the conclusion. Guess I'll have to have a talk to my daughter about the book tonight...a talk I'd rather not have to do.
This title contains:
Violence & scariness