Bang: Visions, Book 2

Common Sense Media says

Strong values, strong language in riveting thriller sequel.

Age(i)

2
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10
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The story takes Jules and other teens to the University of Chicago, where they, and readers, learn a bit about campus life, and Trey, in particular, sees new horizons as a result.

Positive messages

Strong messages about family loyalty, hard work, supporting your siblings, and why you have to try to help people even if they're strangers.

Positive role models

Like many real-life teens, Sawyer, Jules, and her siblings have strong consciences and good values, which doesn't mean they always do the right thing or what they're told. Jules and Sawyer cut class and sneak around to be together; Jules covers for her younger sister when she flies to New York to meet her long-distance boyfriend (whose parents are unaware she doesn't have permission). But given that Sawyer's father beats him and Jules' is mentally ill, they're doing their best in bad circumstances, struggling to do right by each other and their neighbors.

Violence

Sawyer's visions show a mass shooting, which the teens try to avert. Characters sometimes behave violently: Jules gets caught up in a catfight at school, Sawyer's father beats him, and one scene has hand-to-hand combat and gunplay. Antigay violence and homophobia are plot elements.

Sex

None of the characters has sex, but there's powerful attraction going on: Jules and Sawyer manage some very heavy kissing, during which "suddenly I realize that what's pressing against me is not all thigh, and I am secretly amazed and a little shocked by it being there, doing that." She considers the practical difficulty boys deal with having penises. A senile customer regularly pinches Jules' mom on the butt.

Language

Plentiful uses of "f--k," "s--t," "crap," "fag," and others, and lots of bawdy humor about the family food truck, dubbed "the balls" because of its meatball art.

Consumerism

Occasional references to pop-culture icons, such as Star Wars.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Bang is the second installment of Lisa McCann's Visions trilogy, which started with Crash. Like the first book, Bang has profanity galore ("f--k," "s--t," "crap," "boob," and antigay slurs), and there's more sexual talk than in Crash. There are also a couple of steamy make-out scenes, violence (a school shooting, general brawling, a father who beats his son), and two sets of dysfunctional parents. But the book also has a strong moral compass: Despite raging hormones, teen love, and her parents' constant paranoia that she's pregnant, 16-year-old protagonist Jules is not sexually active; she's strongly loyal to her siblings and works hard to help her family. There are true ethical dilemmas: How much obligation do we really have to help strangers, and what happens if we walk away? Also, as star-crossed, family-feud-plagued lovers go, Jules and Sawyer do a better job than, say, Romeo and Juliet in taking control of and responsibility for their lives.

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What's the story?

Picking up where Crash left off, BANG finds 16-year-old Julia (Jules) DeMarco recovering from her injuries after heading off a catastrophic accident that constantly appeared to her in visions. Also, after years of apparently unrequited love for classmate Sawyer Angotti, they're now a couple -- aside from the fact that their parents still hate one another and the family feud still rages. The hormones also are raging when the two teens manage a few minutes alone, but they have a bigger problem: Ever since Jules averted the accident that was supposed to kill Sawyer, she hasn't been troubled by any more visions, but he's bombarded by scenes of a mass shooting. Along with Jules' siblings Trey and Rowan, they struggle to figure out what the vision means and how to avert the mayhem.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

With the family drama and visions of disaster adding constant suspense, as well as the steamy make-out scenes punctuated by speculation on how sex suddenly makes the whole world different, there's plenty to keep teen readers riveted here. Prolific author Lisa McCann crafts a compelling (if somewhat frothy and potty-mouthed) tale that raises plenty of real-life issues: coping with abusive families, building real relationships, and the kindness of strangers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why stories about teen lovers whose families hate each other have been so popular over time. How do Jules and Sawyer compare with other couples in the same situation?

  • Do you think that Jules and Sawyer make the right decision in trying to save strangers at great risk to themselves? Do you think you'd do the same?

  • Have you encountered any examples of homophobic behavior, violent or otherwise? What was it? How did you react?

Book details

Author:Lisa McMann
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Friendship, High school, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Publication date:October 8, 2013
Number of pages:256
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 18
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook, Paperback

This review of Bang: Visions, Book 2 was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
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  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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