A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Some brief facts relating to biology such as the parts of the digestive system and a labeled diagram of internal organs. Definitions of some scientific terms. Some parts of a helicopter. Characters and themes from the movie Amadeus. Overall a good way to introduce teens to prominent ideas and themes in magical realism, surrealism, and allegory.
Somewhere in every mind is an opening: Crawl through it. Nothing is perfect; the world will have problems forever, so we have to come to terms with that. We should pay close attention to what's happening around us, but we probably won't. Some things are true because we believe them to be true.
Positive Role Models
The only poor behavior modeled by the four main teen characters is frequent use of strong language, which adult characters including parents and school staff members also use. Otherwise the teens are smart but traumatized. In the surreal world they inhabit, it's hard to be sure which of their actions are allegorical and which really happen, but all model remarkable resilience and coping. Over the course of the novel they all move toward being able to face the world as it is, as adults.
Violence & Scariness
Past traumas hinted at or mentioned include abuses such as scorching with cigarettes, rape resulting in pregnancy, and being beaten with a frying pan. A high school receives bomb threats daily, and teens frequently think about being blown up at any moment. Blood is mentioned a couple of times. A poem alludes to rape and pregnancy. One or two mentions of punching or hitting.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several kisses, none described in detail. Body parts such as scrotum and clitoris mentioned. Erection alluded to. Herpes and teen pregnancy mentioned. A teen has sex with a middle-aged man but it's not directly narrated; they mention not being "that good of a lay." Teens talk infrequently about having sex. One mention of visiting a porn Web site. Important characters and one important event include nudity; being naked is mentioned a lot, but nothing's described and the characters aren't fazed by it. One character's basement is used as a sex-fantasy dungeon by her parents; noises coming from it are mentioned.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Frequently by adults and teens: "f--k" and variations, "balls," "bastard," "s--t" and variations including "bulls--t," "slut" and "slutty," "d--k," "bitchy," "dumbass," "ass," "hell," "damn." A chapter title includes the phrase "little s--t."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Hilton Hotel location in a few brief scenes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A fictional TV character's drunkenness mentioned. Stanzi's parents spend all their time at the neighborhood bar. A couple of brief scenes take place in a bar; an adult orders "a double." A teen mentions parents passing around joints at parties. Getting stoned and drunk in the past mentioned. Several mentions of cigarettes, smoking, and electronic cigarettes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I Crawl Through It is about teens coping with mature themes of loneliness, trauma, guilt, fear, and anxiety, to name only a bit of what's going on. Award-winning author A.S. King (Ask the Passengers) brings surreal elements more to the forefront than in past novels, so it's a good way to get teens thinking about surrealism, magical realism, and allegory in literature. Strong language is frequently used by adults and teens, most often "s--t," "f--k," and variations of each. Sexual content is infrequent: A few kisses, nudity, and body parts are mentioned, but none is described in detail. Violence is mostly past trauma: One teen was raped by a boy she was dating, and the rapist put boastful photos of the incident on Facebook; child abuse is mentioned or alluded to and described vaguely; blood is mentioned a few times.
Is It Any Good?
A.S. King brilliantly probes the anxiety and loneliness of adolescence as bizarrely and delicately as her narrator Stanzi dissects frogs. The veteran author has really nailed what it's like to live with constant fear, unsure of the one you love, and unable to fight back against your inner demons. Surrealist elements are strongly at the forefront, keeping the reader as off guard as each of the four protagonists feels. Teens who like to look at the world through a strange and often-changing lens will love following the four teens' twisting paths, and even those who don't like what surrealism they've been exposed to so far may see it in a whole new, strange, relatable light.
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.