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Parents' Guide to

Killing Time in Crystal City

By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Gritty tale of teen runaway connecting with homeless kids.

Killing Time in Crystal City Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (1 ):

Kiki's a likable misfit, and readers will enjoy his good-hearted bumbling. (In one scene, he trips a bad man who's chasing a girl, using his whole body: "I might not be a superhero, but I can fall down like nobody's business," he says). Readers also will like his best friend Jasper, whom they learn about in flashbacks; Jasper gives Kiki a hard time -- and the nickname that he initially hates -- but he's also there when Kiki needs him, including helping him see the flaws in his own thinking.

Unfortunately, many of the other secondary characters seem rather two-dimensional, including Stacey -- a tough but golden-hearted girl from the streets who moves on "when I feel like I have saved somebody" -- and Kiki's criminal uncle, who prepares elaborate meals in his clean house but is unflinching about murder. These characters keep readers from investing enough in Kiki's world to really connect with his adventure and understand what he's learning along the way.

Book Details

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