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 a dark novel dealing with themes of abandonment, deaths of loved ones -- both through natural causes and tragedy -- and some sexual situations. The "Gothic Lolita" style of dress originated in Japan and is very different than the western style of Goth. Parents may want to do a little research on the style and culture to understand the novel a bit better.
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What's the story?
Two girls, one in America and one in Japan, find an unlikely and mystical connection to each other through their love of the Japanese fashion style "Gothic Lolita" and their unwavering love for their little brothers. Mysterious coincidences draw them closer together even thought they've never actually spoken to one another; one girl mourns the loss of her brother while the other tries to protect hers from being adopted. In a time of crisis and deep despair they reach out to each other in ways neither thought possible.
Is it any good?
This book may appeal more to teens who are into the "Gothic Lolita" style and culture than those who just happen upon this book. While it has some universal themes of love and the human connection, the author tries too hard to make a simple plot complex.
Author Dakota Lane uses poetic prose as a base on which she tries to weave darkness, mystery, and mythical connections into a gripping story that ultimately falls flat. The novel is earnest in its attempt to be deep, but never really achieves more than a superficial layer of mystery. Without the mystery or mystical connection, the novel plods along as heavy and overwrought as the crinoline skirts the fashion-obsessed teens wear.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dealing with the loss of a loved one. How did each girl cope? How were their families affected? Do you have someone you can turn to when you need to talk? What about online friends? How well do you know those you hang out with online, and how many are true friends?