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 often funny coming-of age-story about a smart high school misfit. Readers will enjoy and commiserate with Gert's laments over her high school and home life, and cheer her gradual transformation into someone comfortable in her own skin. That said, there is a lot of talk about sex, masturbation, dating, sexually transmitted disease, condom usage, and gay relationships (a Publisher's Weekly reviewer said, "Gert sounds almost fixated.") This is the first book in a planned series.
What's the story?
Gert has some issues. She is traumatized by high school but must spend her days trying to navigate the awkwardness, the popular kids, the insane teachers, crushes, and dating. Her crush Lucas doesn't really know she's into him, her best friend Adam keeps dragging her out on dates with his crush Tim, her eyebrows are bushy, and her parents are old. All she can really do is rant and rave about the despair that is high school -- and she does it well.
Is it any good?
Gert's voice is very honest, real, and hilarious; Amber Kizer captures the feelings of being a 15-year-old girl with remarkable accuracy and compassion. And readers will believe Gert's transformation from an angsty teen into a girl becoming comfortable with herself. The pace is terrific and the ending, though great, will leave readers wanting more. They will be delighted to know that this book is part of a planned series.
Readers will enjoy and commiserate with Gert's laments over being the third wheel on her best friend's dates and her parents' general cluelessness. They will understand her rants over boys, hypocritical teachers, and the effort of trying to fit into a world in which some kids seem to have gotten a guide book and others are left to fend for themselves. Parents will sympathize and remember what it was like to be 15; the awkwardness that gives way to self-awareness. Teens and parents will find much to discuss, and what better way to bridge the tough topics than through this frank and witty read.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the frank sex talk here. Did it seem realistic -- or did it push the envelope a bit? How concerned should parents be about the sexual material in YA books?
What do you think about the book's title? Is it crass -- or is appropriate given the book's content? What would you have called it?
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