While this book does include references to drinking, sex, smoking, marijuana, reckless behavior, and obscene language, you should read it if you are considering not allowing your child to. Children today are experiencing and learning about things very early, so by not allowing your child to read this book you are not shielding them from anything. In all honesty i believe that by parents being naive, and hoping their kids do not already know about the topics discussed in this book, you are hurting your child. the lessons that are portrayed in this book concerning various topics are excellent, and could be very beneficial to SOME decisions they will shortly be making, or already have made. while some topics like smoking, and drinking are not heavily reinforced with consequences this simply means that you should talk to your child about these issues. However, even with smoking and drinking consequences are mentioned, but they are not done so in an up front way. so some children may not catch on. the real issue being this particular reading material is great despite controversial topics that are in the novel.