A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
References to African American culture, art, and history are peppered throughout the story, lending a sense of place and time. Youth protest police brutality. Main character Georgie learns a lot about her family and culture from her elders.
Family takes all shapes and sizes. Focus on the people you love. Even if friends are being unkind, love them anyway. Respect your elders. Respect your culture. Respect yourself.
Positive Role Models
Gerogie comes from a tight-knit community where family, neighbors, and elders are loved and respected. Her parents are accomplished and patient and set boundaries for the kids. When an adult makes a mistake, he or she apologizes and takes responsibility. Georgie meets an African American female doctor who encourages her curiosity and her intelligence.
Violence & Scariness
Implications that kids get hit at home. ("I knew if I said it, Mama would slap the taste right out of my mouth.") Self harm: Georgie hits herself, bangs her head against the wall ("I wanted to chop my tongue off"). Teens talk about police brutality and a boy's death. Girls are mean to each other and think violent thoughts about each other. ("I would have given everything in my piggy bank to hear what she said ... if it was one mean thing ... I was going to snatch her lips off.")
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Detailed talk about kissing -- how it feels, when it should happen. Georgie is kissed on the cheek. Tangie kisses her college-age boyfriend.
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Substitutes for bad words: "No shirt, Sherlock." "Oh my Josh."
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Products & Purchases
Lots of brand mentions: Uggs, Auntie Anne Pretzels, Bath and Body Works, Juicy Couture, Golden Corral, Big Lots, M & M's, Allstate, Coke, Sprite, Macy's, Skechers, Mary Kay, The Limited, Walmart, XBox, Beats headphones, Bluetooth, Frosted Flakes, Pac Man, Angry Birds, Candy Crush, Disney World, Foot Locker, Red Door perfume, Windsong perfume, Steak-Umm, Garden Crust, Pizza Hut, iPod, Goodwill, Barbie, Ritz Crackers, Toys "R" Us, Popeyes, Escalade, Chrysler 300, Mc Donald's, Essence and O magazines, Clark, Spelman, Howard, FAMU, and more. Many entertainers mentioned: Alicia Keys, Foxy Brown, Pam Grier, Tyler Perry, Janet Jackson, The Jackson 5, Michael Jackson, George Clinton, Tracee Ellis Ross, Diana Ross, Angela Davis, Jay Z, Beyonce, Stevie Wonder, Funkadelic, Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Kardashians, Chance the Rapper, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Kevin's mom is known as the "drunk mom." He reports that she's in and out of the hospital because she drinks and smokes despite her diabetes. His mom sends him to neighbors to fetch cigarettes for her.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Love Like Sky is a touching story about an 11-year-old girl named Georgie who's adjusting to going between her parents' houses. It's also about illness, navigating mean friends, and change. There are models of sisters who love and support each other through tough times, and there are also friends who bully, threaten, and belittle one another. Parents fight with their exes in front of children, and the kids pick up on tensions between family members. Georgie engages in self-harm and self-blame to the extent that her stepsister has to stop her from hitting her head on the wall. Friends bicker and fight. A group of girls peer-pressures a girl into stealing from a store. Constant brand-name mentions distract somewhat from the story.
Is It Any Good?
This moving story tackles divorce, illness, and loss head-on, and kids will appreciate the story's realness and the characters' slightly risky adventures. The loss and change that the girls undergo is heartrending, and the friend drama is very intense. That said, after all of the name calling, the reconciliations feel a little chaotic and flimsy, considering the things that have been said. And when friends threaten to abandon one another and flip their switch at any imagined slight, it feels less like friendship and more like danger.
Still, the sense of family bonding and community connectedness is upbeat and hopeful, even though adults and kids alike fight with as much passion as they love. Fewer brand mentions and more delving into the sensory world would have helped the story truly take flight.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.