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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers will learn about the lives of the Bronte sisters and generally about ways of life in England in the mid-19th century, including details on diet, medicine, transportation, gender roles, and child rearing. They'll also become familiar with a few plot elements (although no spoilers) and characters in the Brontes' most famous novels -- Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and Agnes Grey -- and the ways in which those classic books were informed by the authors' lives. The novel includes an Author's Note that explains which parts of Carly's adventure are based on real historical events and where Katherine Rue took liberties to streamline her plot.
Speak -- and write -- from your heart, and everything will get better.
Positive Role Models
Carly's a fish out of water in the Brontes' time, but the sisters teach her patience, respect, and confidence in her ability to learn and solve problems.
Violence & Scariness
Carly is grabbed by Bramwell, and he and Mr. Bronte brandish pistols at different points. Charlotte loses her temper and strikes Carly after Carly pries into Charlotte's personal business. When Carly is ill with a fever, the attending doctor bleeds her by cutting her wrist, as was the medical custom during the mid-19th century, when most of the action takes place.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Carly fantasizes about a romantic relationship between Charlotte and Mr. Nicholl, but there's no sexual content.
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Carly's use of slang shocks her Victorian hosts, but her choices of words will seem normal to modern families.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The Bronte sisters' brother, Bramwell, drinks wine excessively and is addicted to the opiate laudanum.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Katherine Rue's Carly Keene Literary Detective: Braving the Brontes is a time-travel adventure for book lovers. Carly's experiences in 19th-century England teach her about books and writing and about ways of life during the lifetime of authors Charlotte Bronte (Jane Eyre) and her sister Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights). This novel includes suspenseful situations and a bit of violence: Carly is struck by her teacher, Charlotte, and grabbed and briefly restrained by Charlotte's drunk, opium-addicted brother, Bramwell. There's also a scene in which Carly is very ill, and a Victorian-era doctor bleeds her. However, these scenes, similar to the ones in which Carly is reprimanded for asking personal questions or using slang, are meant to illustrate the differences between modern-day attitudes and Victorian ones.
Is It Any Good?
Carly Keene Literary Detective: Braving the Brontes will appeal to young readers with literary tastes. Not only will this suspenseful story engage readers in its own right, it also will inspire tweens to read the Brontes' classic novels and to examine the differences in gender roles, attitudes, and ways of life between the 19th century and today.
Literary adults will pick up on some of the Jane Eyre plot hints in the text, but readers don't need to have read the Brontes to understand what happens to Carly or to appreciate what she learns about the differences between her culture and that of the famous authors. Illustrations by Nick Guarracino help move things along.
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.