A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This will be a fun book for teens to read -- and they may want to follow Gert's adventures into the next planned installment. Motivated parents could use this book to talk about their own attitudes and beliefs about sex.
General coming-of-age messages as misfit Gert learns to become comfortable with who she is.
Positive Role Models
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.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lots of sex talk: Entire health class is encouraged to look at their vaginas with a mirror, main character describes hers. Characters talk about making out, sex, masturbation, erections, and Ernest Hemingway not having a penis. Two male characters are gay.
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Mild swearing, a discussion of names given to genitalia. Some discussion of terms referring to homosexuals or those who hang out with them.
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Products & Purchases
Mention of products once or twice.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
High school students who are drug users are described in an unflattering light, including one who sells drugs.
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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.
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.
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.