A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Thriller meant to entertain. But readers get some sense of the looks and feel of a Louisiana bayou.
It's important to search for the truth, even if that means it may hurt people you hold dear.
Positive Role Models
Greycie easily could have been emotionally overwhelmed by all that's happened in her life: a suicide in the family, the murder of childhood friends. But she summons a remarkable amount of courage (and some psychic ability) to find what happened to her best friend. Characters are presumed White.
Violence & Scariness
Violent acts, both past and present, run throughout. A fistfight is graphically described over four pages (blood spraying, kicks in ribs, hair matted with blood). Two children are abducted, murdered; discovery of bodies briefly described. A long-missing man's body is found; a house is set on fire, killing a child; a man is murdered by a shotgun blast; a girl's body is found with her face beaten so badly she's unrecognizable. A boy cuts himself with broken glass, pulls his hair out, and chews his skin off.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A sexual encounter between two teens is briefly but graphically described (unbuttoning of shorts, biting, nipping, hand under bra, fumbling with buttons on jeans) but stops short of intercourse.
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Teens in the story regularly use strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "Jesus," "goddamn").
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Products & Purchases
A teen drinks Jack Daniels and smokes Marlboro cigarettes. Characters drink Dr. Pepper, chew Big Red gum, and read The Tempest.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One major teen character is rarely without a cigarette in his hand. Teens drink beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ginny Myers Sain's Dark and Shallow Lies is set deep in the Louisiana bayou and unfolds over a few short weeks awash in long-buried secrets and murder. Seventeen-year-old Greycie has returned to the tiny town of La Cachette to spend the summer with her grandmother and, most important, to discover what's happened to her best friend, Elora, who disappeared three months ago. Since La Cachette has deemed itself the Psychic Capital of the World, Greycie finds it inconceivable that no one knows what's happened to Elora. Violence is ever present throughout the story. A fistfight is graphically described; two children are murdered; a house is set on fire, killing a child; and a girl is beaten so badly that her body is unrecognizable. There's a brief sexual encounter between two teens (unbuttoning of shorts, hand under bra, fumbling with buttons on jeans) that doesn't include intercourse. The story includes strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "goddamn," "Jesus"), and a one major teen character regularly drinks and smokes.
Is It Any Good?
This novel is just as dark, creepy, and steamy as its setting, and it's spiced up with hints of Southern Gothic and a bit of Louisiana Cajun. The plotlines in Dark and Shallow Lies can sometimes be hard to follow (lots of murders and possible murderers to keep straight), and readers who aren't fans of the supernatural might find some of the story tough going.
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.