A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
There is a good cautionary message to teens about how hurtful rumors can be (and that you shouldn't believe everything you read).
Positive Role Models
Tola is not exactly a happy, well-adjusted teenager, but readers can learn something about her willingness to keep going amid all the rumors -- and her willingness to pursue her art even amid criticism.
Violence & Scariness
Tola gets into a phyiscal confrontation with her nemesis, but it doesn't get too much past threats. Her grandfather nearly dies.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing. Main character is accused of having an affair with her art teacher.
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Words like "boobs" or "asshole" here and there.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the scandal at the center of this book involves an alleged affair between a teen girl and her art teacher. There is some other heavy stuff: Her sister takes pills for depression and her grandfather nearly dies. Other than that, there is a little swearing and some sweet kissing between Tola and her boyfriend.
Is It Any Good?
This book deals with some pretty heavy subject matter, but the author is able to present it in a way that won't overwhelm readers. They will certainly feel sorry for the misfit girl, but they will also be able to laugh at how absurd high school life can often be (especially when Tola must deal with nerdy boys who throw notes like, "SHOW US YOUR BOOBS!" at her table, and a boring stepfather who talks about his orthodontic patients during dinner).
Readers may get tired of all the references to fairy tales in Tola's storytelling and artwork, but other devices work well. For example, each chapter ends with "comments" from other characters, from Tola's sister to nemesis. These comments help readers piece together what really happened between Tola and her teacher, and also explain why Tola feels so alone in her life.
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.