A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Asks questions about interrogation techniques and whether they can be defined as torture. Also explores issue of revenge.
Families often take great risks to stay together. Torture is wrong and ends up hurting the one who inflicts it.
Positive Role Models
Though hurt by her father's disappearance and her mother's alcoholism, Liv tries to stay engaged with her friends from high school. She's tough yet very vulnerable, loyal to her friend Doug. She opens herself up to positivity by starting a romance with a new student.
Violence & Scariness
An alien is tortured, injured, caused pain in other ways. One key scene is especially violent, with bloody stabbings and beatings.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One brief scene involves mutual masturbation, which is described matter-of-factly.
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"Damn," "hell," "bitch," "s--t," "a--hole," and "f--k," no more than a dozen times each.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Liv's mother is an alcoholic and drinks in front of her. Liv spikes her drink with a sedative.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bent Heavens is a science fiction thriller by Daniel Kraus, co-writer of The Shape of Water. High school senior Liv Fleming wants to know what happened to her absent father, who disappeared after supposedly being abducted by aliens. Her search includes scenes of violence and torture, leading up to a key bloody scene full of stabbings and beatings. There's frequent casual swearing ("hell," "damn," "s--t," "f--k"). One brief sex scene involves mutual masturbation. Liv's mother is an alcoholic and drinks in front of her.
Is It Any Good?
Some novels start well and maintain a logical course until the end, but this gripping tale of torture and interrogation goes off the rails as it approaches its climax. In Bent Heavens, author Daniel Kraus keeps the reader guessing about the novel's central mystery, but come the big reveal, the reaction may be "Wait. What?" Discussing the revelation requires a spoiler alert, so let's just say that no one recognizes a major character when it would seem impossible not to. Be that as it may, the story is full of strong characters, intense suspense scenes, and an impassioned plea for tolerance. Readers may differ about the ending, but most will be heavily involved getting there.
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.