Monday's Not Coming

Book review by
Rachel Sarah, Common Sense Media
Monday's Not Coming Book Poster Image
Gripping thriller about a girl disappearing without a trace.

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Monday's Not Coming offers an education in empathy and the harsh realities of child abuse, family dysfunction, race issues, and poverty. Claudia's masked learning disability is also a part of the story, as well as growing up in low-income housing and the crack epidemic. ("How convenient that crack would ravish the area developers wanted most.") Can prompt discussions about trauma, class issues, and people of color being pushed out of their communities.

 

Positive Messages

Strong messages about the power of friendship, learning to trust your gut, and standing up for others. The story stresses the importance of speaking up, asking for help, and getting support.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Claudia is a good, loyal, caring friend determined to find out what happened to her friend. Ms. Valente is one of the few adults who seems truly concerned about Monday's disappearance. When no one else seems to care, she tries to find out why Monday isn't coming to school. Claudia's mother shows empathy as she sees how much her daughter is suffering.

Violence

Child abuse is a major theme. Some characters live in and have been raised in violent homes. Kids at school bully each other. Looks at the cycle of poverty and abuse and how hard it is to break. Flashbacks to physical abuse.  

Sex

A few brief kissing scenes with mention of "hands up shirts."

Language

Bullying and mild name-calling. Strong language includes "damn," "f--k," "s--t," "bitch."

Consumerism

A few brands mentioned to set the scene, such as iPod (listening to Adele and Rare Essence), TV shows such as The Simpsons and America's Dance Challenge. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One scene of underage drinking; mentions of adults drinking with references to alcoholism. Mentions of crack: "Folks in Southeast talk about crack often. How crystallized powder turned D.C. into a city of zombies during the '80s and '90s."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tiffany D. Jackson's Monday's Not Coming is a gripping, heartbreaking story about a girl in middle school who goes missing. Parents should be prepared to have conversations about abuse, bullying, poverty, addiction, and low-income housing. This story will spark discussions about neglect, alcoholism, dyslexia, trauma, and grief. There's infrequent strong language (including "f--k" and its variations, "s--t," and "bitch"), a few references to adult and underage drinking and mentions of crack.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byIncredibleJudge August 6, 2018

What I Think

The book is really powerful, but it also has a lot of issues that are hard to take in and acknowledge.

What's the story?

"This is the story of how my best friend disappeared. How nobody noticed she was gone except me. And how nobody cared until they found her ... one year later." As MONDAY'S NOT COMING begins, it's the last year of middle school at Warren Kent in Washington, D.C., and Claudia's best friend is missing. When Monday doesn't show up for the first day of school, Claudia worries, and as the days pass, Claudia's sure something's wrong. She's desperate to find out what happened to her friend, even if no one else seems to care. The storyline jumps around in time as the tension builds and secrets are revealed. In the end, this is a story dedicated to the missing kids of color in this country. "We have not forgotten about you," Jackson says in her dedication. "We will continue to fight and give you a voice. You matter."

Is it any good?

This is a gripping page-turner about an eighth-grader who's gone missing. It's also the heartbreaking story of friendship. Monday's Not Coming illustrates with incredible depth how child protective services fails, how alcohol and drugs cause family dysfunction, and how poverty devastates a community. Readers will love the girls in this story who are so real and fully developed. Parents and teachers will appreciate this author's writing on many complex social issues.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about poverty in Monday's Not Coming. How do you talk about class and race issues with your friends and family?

  • Have you ever decided to help a friend who needed help? What steps did you take to make it happen?

  • What prejudices might you have against someone who's not like you? Do you know anyone who has a learning disability? Do you know anyone who lives in low-income housing? How can you learn more about people to avoid stereotypes?

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