A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Drugs are a part of the culture. Readers will learn a great deal about the reality of being drug addicted.
A dramatic chronicling of drug addiction that comes across with a power and authenticity that makes the anti-drug message stronger.
Positive Role Models
The main character enjoys taking drugs, lies to her parents, and runs away. But she makes sincere attempts to go straight. This book shows kids that druggies aren't glamorous but tortured.
Violence & Scariness
The main character is raped and assaulted. Main character hallucinates that she is being eaten by worms after taking LSD. Extremely distressing due to its honesty about the subject.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent references to sexual acts, but no descriptions given.
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Drug addicts use profanity, some of the slang is really dated.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
This is a book about the perils of drug addiction so it's full of drug taking and selling. But since the message of the book is ultimately cautionary, the drugs are required to tell the tale.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a no-holds-barred vivid picture of the life of a teen heavily addicted to drugs during the 1960s. Presented as a real-life diary published under the name "Anonymous," it was actually a cautionary tale written by the late Beatrice Sparks, a therapist and Mormon youth counselor. While some of the scenes and language may feel dated, the book still carries tremendous emotional power and feels authentic. Teen characters are involved in drugs, prostitution, etc., but the shocking reality of this book has been credited with keeping many teens from trying drugs. Though the writing may not be literary, but its truth comes through on every page. The story is riveting -- even reluctant readers will devour it. The book is a powerful way for teens to really experience the tragic consequences of drug addiction.
Is It Any Good?
This book socks readers in the gut. Only parents can decide if they want their children to read GO ASK ALICE; they know their children best, and may wish to read the book themselves before deciding. Clearly, the book is intense: It graphically describes the waking hell into which the main character descends, her heartfelt but futile battles to return home and stay clean, her pleas to God to save her, her trust and love for her family, and her ultimate failure.
Many realistic young adult books use frank language, but none more so than this book. Purportedly based on the real diary of a middle-class, nice teen girl who became a drug addict in the 1960s, this story is nothing short of harrowing -- and that's why it works. Teens who read the book easily sense that it tells the truth.
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.