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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Teens may be turned on to Sylvia Plath’s work after reading how deeply it touches Keek and influences her understanding of the world.
Keek underscores the importance of being authentic, of knowing your values, and acting according to them. In her isolation, Keek realizes just how important her relationships are -- even the painful, difficult ones. Rather than letting herself be buffeted by the forces surrounding her, she takes some control by owning her opinions and decisions.
Positive Role Models
Keek, for all her navel-gazing, has a solid head on her shoulders and a brave spirit. And her parents may be absorbed in their own problems -- they certainly behave badly, with immoral and illegal behavior between the two of them -- but their love and affection for her are clear. Gram is a true gem, no-nonsense and full of surprises.
Violence & Scariness
Keek occasionally mentions wanting to kill herself like Sylvia Plath, but they are half-joking references and clearly insincere -- she clearly doesn’t approve of the way Plath took her own life.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Keek and her boyfriend do a lot of “making out insanely” and “acting like feral creatures,” and there’s plenty of sexual content: hickeys, tentatively exploring each other’s bodies, talking about what a penis tastes like, etc. Keek makes many vulgar and angry references to her father’s fling with a young employee.
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Keek is a mouthy teen. Lots of crass language, including "f--k," "for Christ’s sake," "s--t," "hell," "bastard," "t-ts," "slut," "whore," "asshole," "goddamn," "jackass," and the euphemistic “sofa king.”
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Products & Purchases
Plenty of products are peppered throughout, befitting a teen’s world: Netflix, Wii, Google, Facebook, Downy, Snapfish, iPod, Johnson & Johnson, Cheetos, and Pampers all get noted.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Keek tries to smoke with her older friend Amanda and drinks wine at a party; Gram smokes; Amanda says she and Keek’s father were drunk when they got involved; and Keek’s mom calls her long-distance while drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that sexual issues are front and center in this smartly written book. Keek is obsessed with the physical aspect of her relationship with Matt and struggling to decide if she's ready to have sex. She's also very angry with her father, who was caught having sex with a young woman Keek was friends with. There's lots of salty language. It's mature stuff, but handled with maturity and wit.
Is It Any Good?
The limited confines of the book -- feverish Keek, alone with her thoughts -- make for a slow start, and it’s a relief when she starts to have fun with her Gram and reconnects with her friends. Young readers will feel instantly at home with her: She writes with a dry, self-aware voice. Her obsession with her boyfriend, her frustration, her moodiness, and her vulgarity are on target for a teen in her circumstances.
Her identification with Sylvia Plath's heroine, Esther Greenwood, gives her a way to tackle the drama in her life, while her independent spirit assures she finds her own answers. In her isolation and frenzied self-expression, Keek can focus on being authentic and is able to accept the consequences for that, both good and bad. Parents might be taken aback by how obsessed Keek is with her virginity, but many teen girls will find a kindred spirit -- much like Keek finds with Esther.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.