Parents' Guide to

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

By Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Moving tale of young boy grieving loss of dad on 9/11.

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A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+


This is a beautiful book about a boy processing his grief over his dad’s death in 9/11. For older teens who have no knowledge of 9/11, this is a great book to teach them about the emotions around it at the time. It only includes very broad details about the event itself, as well as the historical falling man picture from that day. It includes a few very brief sex scenes between the boy’s grandparents. The little boy also describes the limited amount that he knows about the “birds and the bees,” using words like “dick,” “cunt,” “VJ,” and “blowjob” (which he describes incorrectly). The educational content far outweighs the brief sexual content of the book.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

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

This is meaningful book deals with loss, war, and terrorism, and mature readers who take it on will be rewarded with original characters and an engaging quest. Author Jonathan Safran Foer has a marvelous ability to express emotions and tell stories from different points of view: those of a 9-year-old boy who may be on the autism spectrum, an elderly grandmother who survived the bombing of Dresden, a Japanese man who lost his daughter in Hiroshima, and more. These characters are well-drawn and relatable, and sometimes funny to observe.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is grim but not relentlessly so -- except when it should be. The events are painful, and it's particularly sad to experience young Oskar's grief and confusion. Written for adults but sometimes assigned in high school, this novel is best for older teens ready for a serious read.

Book Details

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