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Parents' Guide to

Between Mom and Jo

By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Tender tale about a boy whose moms split up.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+
Even though kids at school make fun of him for having two moms, Nick still manages to have a pretty happy childhood. When he turns 14, Erin and Jo decide to split up. Erin, Nick’s birthmother, insists on sole custody of her son, despite the feelings of both Nick and her now ex-partner, a recovering alcoholic, that Jo is responsible enough to care for him. Things escalate when Erin invites her new girlfriend, Kerri, to move in with them. Nick struggles with angst, depression, and rage as the tug-of-war battle ensues. In terms of plot, this is an average entry in the literary canon of bibliotherapy. The ending is a bit rushed and too easily resolved, but it may, in any case, be therapeutic for teens suffering from similar issues. Recommended for Ages 15-Up.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

Told in flashbacks, this book will certainly give readers the sense of how much Nick loves both his mothers -- practical Erin, his birth mother, and her rather crude partner, Jo. They will also get a strong sense of how complicated the women are, especially Jo, who struggles with alcoholism. This is a book about a kid with gay parents, certainly. Nick not only endures teasing from his peers, he must deal with a prejudiced teacher. Also, when his moms break up, Jo is left without any legal rights to Nick. But more than anything, this is a book about a family that falls apart.

Like all families, they share many small moments together (eating watermelon in the backyard) and are there for each other in the big moments (dealing with Erin's breast cancer). The author's careful rendering of their memories -- complete with very real, fast-moving dialog -- makes it easy to understand why Nick is so devastated when they split. Readers will certainly empathize with Nick when he prays into the night, "Jo, please...Hear me. Come and get me. Give us back our life."

Book Details

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