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.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

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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.


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.  


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


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


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 won a 2019 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Author Award. It's 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

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMomD. October 5, 2018

Many Challenging Subjects Including Sexuality Topics

I strongly agree with the rating 14 and up. In addition to the subjects mentioned in the summary, there are many topics about sexuality addressed in this book.... Continue reading
Adult Written byteshawnat October 15, 2019

Just what a teenager should read

Sometimes we have to expose real life issues and conflicts that happen in the world to teenagers. There are also many experiences in life one teenager experien... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byhpulse March 13, 2019

Emotional thriller

This book is written as if you are inside the Claudia's head. Her best friend Monday, who is suffering from child abuse by her mother, Mrs. Charles, goe... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bykiki2005 April 17, 2021

Good book, but a bit scary*this review does not contain spoilers*

This book was wonderful, and I enjoyed the message. It definitely has some hard themes to deal with (child abuse, for example), especially towards the end. Some... Continue reading

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age stories

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