More Than We Can Tell

Book review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
More Than We Can Tell Book Poster Image
Emotional coming-of-age story tackles abuse, cyberbullying.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

A glimpse at the type of bullying that women encounter in the gaming industry. Plenty of digital citizenship lessons for teens, including how to deal with cyberbullies, being careful about who you interact with online, and remembering to take a break from technology to connect in person. 

Positive Messages

Communication is essential. Remember that you're not alone and it's OK to ask for help. Sometimes you need to ask questions for the silent to be heard. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rev is a protector even if he doesn't realize it. He saves Emma from someone she thought was a friend and also defends Matthew when he's bullied at school. Although she pushes people away when things get uncomfortable, Emma is fearless and knows how to bring out the vulnerable side of Rev. Her interest in coding and gaming might inspire other girls to pursue STEM careers. Both teens eventually learn that it's OK to ask for help and that they don't need to solve their problems on their own. Geoff and Kristin are loving, welcoming, and supportive to everyone who comes into their home.


Child abuse, sexual abuse, cyberbullying are large parts of the story. Rev slowly reveals how his father abused him as a child, leaving multiple scars on his body. Another character mentions he was sexually abused at previous foster homes. An online troll's sexual harassment makes Emma fear for her safety, and she's later beaten up by someone she thought was a friend. Teens engage in fistfights on and off campus.


Teens kiss.


Strong language includes "douche bag," "bitch," "crap," "ass," "c--t," and variations of "f--k" and "s--t."  


Pop culture mentions include YouTube, Harry Potter, iMessage, Xbox, Game of Thrones, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink beer and wine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that More Than We Can Tell is a standalone book set within the universe of author Brigid Klemmerer's 2017 novel, Letters to the Lost. Told from the perspectives of Rev Fletcher and Emma Blue, this emotional coming-of-age story deals with heavy topics including child abuse, sexual abuse, and cyberbullying. Strong language includes variations of "s--t," "f--k," and "c--t."  Although there are several scenes that might be difficult for sensitive readers to handle, there are positive messages for teens about communication and digital citizenship.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymother-teacher February 4, 2021


I haven’t read this entire book. I read the first book in the series and started this one yesterday, but I was very disturbed on the first page. Language is men... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byUberRainbow January 6, 2020

AWESOME! ❤️❤️❤️

I highly suggest this book! I found it deeply heartwarming, and true to life.
Teen, 14 years old Written byimemmaslen September 10, 2018

Favourite book

I have never done a review on a book before but I had to write review because I love the book so much that I wanted to persuade people to this book. I really on... Continue reading

What's the story?

In MORE THAN WE CAN TELL, Rev Fletcher and Emma Blue bottle up their feelings and have trouble letting others know when they need help. For Rev, a letter from his abusive father brings back all the horrific memories of his childhood and makes him wonder if he should tell his adoptive parents. For Emma, a computer game she built from scratch as an escape from her parents' fighting is ruined by an online troll's increasingly cruel comments. When the two teens meet, a deep connection is formed as they slowly uncover the truth behind each other's secrets and realize that they don't need to fight their battles alone.

Is it any good?

Teens won't be able to resist the well-developed characters, swoon-worthy romance, and dramatic plot twists of Brigid Kemmerer's emotional coming-of-age novel. Although it can be difficult at times to read Rev and Emma's heartbreaking stories, Kemmerer realistically portrays the pain and suffering that's involved in child abuse and cyberbullying. As their friendship blossoms into a deep connection, Rev and Emma's thoughtful discussions provide important lessons about communication and internet safety. Sometimes our problems appear to be More Than We Can Tell because we don't think anyone will understand, but readers, especially those who find themselves in difficult situations, will see that asking for help isn't a sign of weakness.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the heavy theme of More Than We Can Tell. Is it important for kids -- even those who have never had to deal with an abusive home life -- to read Rev and Emma's story? Why or why not? How does the book deal with sex, cyberbullying, and violence? How do these issues affect the characters?

  • How do you cope with issues? Who can you turn to? What help is out there?

  • Can you think of any other books or movies that deal with sexual abuse? How might a novel like this be helpful? Check out our list of Books to Help Teens Understand the Importance of Consent.

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming-of-age books and stories showing value of consent

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