A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Stanzi is exceptionally good at dissection and never takes off her lab coat. Gustav is building an invisible helicopter. China is inside out, and Lansdale's hair can grow by the foot. Added to the inner turmoil of each are the daily bomb threats at their Pennsylvania high school -- some days even multiple bomb threats. Can they find a way to crawl through past trauma, daily drudgery, and constantly feeling like they're about to explode?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how violent events around the country and the world affect our daily lives. Does your school have frequent drills, or has it taken any other measures to try to protect students from mass violence? Do they make you feel safer?
Have you read any other books with surrealist elements? How does this book compare? How do the bizarre or magical aspects of the story affect you as you're reading?
Stanzi talks about each character choosing a battle to fight, such as her own battle of remembering what she wants to forget. Which of these battles would yours be, or would it be something else?
- Author: A.S. King
- Genre: Literary Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date: September 22, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 15 - 18
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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