How It Went Down

Book review by Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
How It Went Down Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

Haunting look at killing of unarmed African American teen.

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 4 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Read your own review!

Thanks to their detailed reviews, commonsensemedia.org is usually spot-on. Not in this case. If you didn't read the specifics, be warned when they say it is appropriate for a 10-year-old! Violence Though not gratuitous, there is a fair amount of violence, including the murder of an unarmed teenager. Both the shooting and the blood are described, as is the administering of CPR from a bystander. A man is beaten, people are threatened with knives, a man is threatened with stabbing, and a teenager roughly handles a girl and injures her. Another scene depicts a small child accidently cutting herself. Sex There is discussion of girls being sexy and allusions to teens having sex, though nothing beyond kissing is described. A slang term for losing virginity, "breaking cherry," is used. Teens are shown "grinding" (dancing close), and a married man is tempted to engage in an affair with a 19-year-old woman. They share a kiss, and he actively stares at her body, including her breasts and hips. A boy walks in on his father having sex with someone who's not his mother and describes hearing huffing and puffing. Language Strong language used consistently in conversation and as exclamations, including "a--hole," "f--k," "s--t," "bastard," "damn." "pissed," "ass," and "bitchy." Drinking, drugs, & smoking Teens are shown smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol, and smoking cigarettes. An adult sells an underage teen cigarettes; adults drink alcohol and are described as alcoholics. Teens sell drugs." Btw, I gave this three stars because I didn't actually read it - while it might be a great book for older kids, I just can't imagine why they rated it okay for a 10-year-old!

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Book Details

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For kids who love African-American books and coming-of-age stories

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