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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, mature thriller best suited for well-grounded teens who enjoy tales with a paranormal touch. The characters inhabit a world devoid of responsible adults, and they seem to spend all their time drinking and eyeing each other warily (or greedily, when it comes to boys and girls). There is sex, drugs, swearing, and violence -- as well as menacing tone.
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What's the story?
The entire town seems to fall under the spell of Chloe’s beautiful older sister, Ruby. Chloe almost believes that Ruby can make anything happen just by willing it. When Ruby says Chloe can swim across the entire reservoir, Chloe gives it a try. But when she comes across the dead body of her classmate floating in the water, above the town flooded years ago to create the reservoir, she needs to get away from the trauma, from the reservoir, from her sister. Two years later, though, Ruby wants her back. And Ruby always gets what she wants … almost. To Chloe’s shock, the girl she found floating, lifeless, is now alive. She starts to wonder what, exactly, Ruby is up to.
Is it any good?
It’s nearly impossible to untangle what’s real and what’s imagined in this seductive thriller — just as Chloe has a hard time disentangling love from self-interest. Most of the characters are alternately cruel and callous, and humiliatingly cowed. Mature teens will appreciate this distorted world as the setting for a twisted tragedy. Lyrical writing, perfect details, and a teasing way with the truth make this an absorbing read, though the plot moves at a sometimes glacial pace and character motivation can be as murky as the menacing reservoir itself.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the mature material here. Are there any subjects or behaviors that would make a book off limits to teens? Who should decide what you get to read?
Sex is treated casually, with low expectations and disappointment. Do stories like this one promote casual sexual relationships -- or caution against them? For help with this conversation, take a look at our Sex and Media Tips.
For kids who love thrills and chills
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.