Little Do We Know

Book review by
Rachel Sarah, Common Sense Media
Little Do We Know Book Poster Image
Moving story about three teens struggling in crisis.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Teens will learn a great deal about growing up in a Christian family and going to a Christian high school, including mentions of Jesus and various psalms. Touches on realities of senior year of high school, including financial struggles.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about the importance of speaking up for yourself, standing up for your friend, forgiving, facing shame. Themes touch on the power of friendship, trusting yourself, asking for help.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Emory and Luke love each other and support each other; they want to be there for each other. In the end, Emory's mom advocates for her daughter.

Violence

Sexual assault is a major theme. Flashback to the incident of sexual assault is not graphic, but narrative touches deeply on shame.

Sex

Kissing scenes between a man in his 20s and a high school senior. Luke and Emory have a few passionate kissing and make-out sessions, as well as consensual, protected sex (mention of using a condom) with a positive, respectful tone. ("God, I loved kissing him. I loved doing everything with him, but I might have loved kissing him most.")

Language

Infrequent strong language includes "s--t," "f--k" and its variations, "douche bag," "badass," "d--khead." 

 

Consumerism

Brands mentioned include Mentos, Skee-ball, Coke, Starbucks, FaceTime, Notes app, BMW, Jetta. 

 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone is a poignant contemporary novel about three high school seniors struggling in a time of crisis. The story explores mature issues, including sexual assault, protected sex, and emotional and financial instability. There's infrequent strong language (including "f--k" and its variations, "s--t," and "d--khead"). Parents should be prepared to discuss assault and betrayal, as well as sexual assault and teens having sex.

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What's the story?

In LITTLE DO WE KNOW, next-door neighbors and friends since birth Hannah and Emory are no longer speaking to each other. Now they are high school seniors who go to separate schools. Feelings were hurt; there's clearly a secret. In alternating chapters, we learn about Hannah, the daughter of a pastor who is also the principal of her Christian high school, and about Emory, who wants to act at UCLA and make the most of her time left with her boyfriend, Luke, before they head to separate colleges. When Hannah finds Emory's boyfriend unconscious inside his car one night, the friends are reconnected and secrets are revealed.

Is it any good?

This is a compelling, emotional story about friendship, faith, loyalty, and love. It tackles a lot of tough issues, including sexual assault and speaking up for a friend in crisis. Little Do We Know highlights the ripple effects of the assault as well as the struggle to tell the truth. Emory is a very relatable and enjoyable narrator. Her relationship with Luke is respectful and loving. Hannah's struggle to stand up for her friend is a little less believable.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how sexual assault is portrayed and dealt with in Little Do We Know. Why would someone feel she has to keep this a secret? 

  • Why are stories about sexual assault important to read, even if they make readers uncomfortable?

  • What do you think of how Hannah and Emory's sexual relationship is presented? Does it seem realistic?  

Book details

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