A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers unfamiliar with divorce and blended families may learn a bit about emotions and transitions children experience when families go through these transitions.
Communicating feelings honestly is better than keeping difficult emotions inside. It's important to compassionately acknowledge other people's feelings. Humility -- through admitting mistakes and apologizing -- can heal relationships.
Positive Role Models
Charlie and even Bailey at times make immature and hurtful choices in their relationships with each other, friends, and family members. However, they seek to do better through communication and admitting their mistakes. Overall they're caring and compassionate teens. The secondary teen and adult characters are mostly supportive and kind people.
The characters all read White. There's no evidence of ethnic or racial diversity. There's a bit of gender diversity in terms of atypical teen male behavior, such as rescuing a kitten from a tree and reading books that stereotypically appeal to women.
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Violence & Scariness
Charlie has acid reflux caused by anxiety. He struggles with germs in a way that hints at obsessive compulsive disorder. There's a brief mention of another character having had panic attacks. Teens struggle with family dynamics and worry about their position in the home and living arrangements due to divorces and blended families.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A handful of scenes have passionate kissing and embracing between the two main characters. A boy says he imagined every female on a plane as naked. Teens describe others as "hot" or "ripped." There's a bit of sexual innuendo and the terms "hook up" and "banging" are used in general, joking ways. The boyfriend of a character's mom starts sleeping overnight at their house.
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Teen characters swear frequently including: ass, balls, bitch, damn, dick, douche bag, f--k, f--king, hell, piss, and s--t.
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Products & Purchases
There are frequent pop culture references throughout the book. Apps include Facetime, Instagram, Netflix, and Pinterest. Brand or products include: Airpods, Ralph Lauren, Target, and Walgreens. Food and drinks include Coke, Doritos, Mountain Dew, Pop Tarts, Red Bull, Rockstar, Sour Patch Kids, Starbucks, and Twizzlers. Movies and television shows include Descendants, Monk, Napoleon Dynamite, New Girl, The Office, The Parent Trap, Poldark, Project Runway, Schitt's Creek, When Harry Met Sally, and You've Got Mail. Authors or books include: The Handmaid's Tale, Emily Henry, Caroline Kepnes, and Haruki Murakami.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens attend parties where there's underage drinking, but the protagonists don't drink. Beer and Jack Daniels whiskey are named. It's mentioned that a teen vomits at a party that one of the characters attended in the past. Adults drink wine at a restaurant.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Betting on You by Lynn Painter is a romcom in which teen characters place bets on outcomes of their friends' relationships. Teens struggle with and bond over their parents' divorces. A character has acid reflux caused by anxiety and struggles with germs in a way that implies obsessive compulsive disorder. A teen couple kiss passionately a handful of times. The boyfriend of a character's mom sleeps over at their house. Characters attend a party where other teens drink beer and whiskey, but the protagonists don't drink. Teens swear frequently including: ass, balls, bitch, damn, dick, douche bag, f--k, f--king, hell, piss, and s--t.
Is It Any Good?
This romantic comedy for young adults is full of snarky banter, pop culture references, and rom-com cliches. In Betting on You, Lynn Painter writes a story with a familiar formula including frenemies and fake dating. For the most part, it's entertaining and fun. However, young people betting on the relationships of people they care about seems harsh at times and causes characters to act in ways that are mean and hurtful. There's a problematic suggestion that Bailey is somehow more attractive and worthy of Charlie's attention once she's gotten her braces off and straightened her hair. Serious issues, such as anxiety and divorce, are touched on but not developed in a meaningful way. On balance, both Bailey and Charlie are sweet and thoughtful. They regret their bad behavior and apologize. Readers who've been through the divorce of a parent may identify with and relate to the difficulties, emotions, and transitions involved. For fans of Lynn Painter and romcoms in general, this will likely be a satisfying read.
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.