A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an intense novel about three young adults who were born to a meth-addicted mother; it's the third book in a series of free-verse installments that also includes Crank and Glass. Expect lots of intense material, including graphic depictions of sex, talk about abusive homes, and strong language throughout. Because it's told in poetry, teens can get through the story quickly -- though the weighty material will stay with them long after they finish. Teen readers will see the impact that Kristina's addiction had on her family, especially her three oldest kids. They struggle with all kinds of issues, from their own addictions to problems ranging from OCD to anger management.
What's the story?
In FALLOUT, three teens -- whose mother was a meth addict before they were born and remains one today -- tell how her addiction has impacted their lives. None of the teens were raised by their mother, but all struggle with her legacy -- as well as problems of an unstable life, including abusive homes, psychological issues, and their own addictions. The story is told in free verse and is the final book in a series of three.
Is it any good?
This is a raw, honest book that gives teens a pretty insightful look into what it's like to grow up as the child of a drug addict. Readers who haven't read the first two installments might not have quite the same emotional investment in this family (and they may be confused by news clippings that feature characters from those books), but they'll still be moved by the protagonists' struggles to control their own lives. They will also be saddened by how few options are open to them, and what bad choices they often make.
The free verse makes this an easy read -- teens will be surprised at how quickly they make it through 600+ pages -- but readers will be digesting the intense material for a long time to come.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about something the author wrote in her blog: '"Pretending there is no ugliness is unfair to young people who, like it or not, are confronted with it every day. Equipping them to face it, and face it down, is vital." What do you think of this statement?
What do you think of the author's choice to write this book in poetry? How would it have been different if it were written as a narrative? Did the poetry give it any additional power?
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