A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book is the second in a mystery series about a murdered teen -- and her long-lost twin, who is trying to solve the crime. There is much to make parents cringe, including dangerous pranks, underage drinking, sneaking out, shoplifting, label-dropping and more. Even so, protagonist Emma is trying to solve her sister's murder and Sutton, who narrates as a ghost, feels increasing remorse about her bad girl behavior.
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What's the story?
NEVER HAVE I EVER picks up where The Lying Game left off: Emma is still pretending to be her murdered identical twin, Sutton, and living her rich girl life as she tries to find out who did it. When she is able to clear Sutton's closest friends, her attention turns to the Twitter Twins, social media-obsessed sisters anxious to be get in with the popular prank-pulling pack -- and who Emma learns have a serious score to settle with Sutton. But will Emma be able to solve the crime before she becomes the next victim?
Is it any good?
It may be formulaic, but the novel is fast-paced, and fans of these kinds of books will probably look forward to Book 3. Readers fond of series like Gossip Girl will find lots of other clique lit staples to fantasize about -- such as an awesome makeup artist coming over to do the girl's makeup before a school dance, or Emma's romantic secret swim with Ethan in a vacationing neighbor's pool. Some of this is truly suspenseful, such as when Emma gets trapped in a cave while searching for one of the Twitter Twins, who may have been hurt in a fall -- and then suddenly hears a "maniacal giggle." Not much gets resolved here, but Sutton, who narrates as a ghost, feels increasing remorse about her bad girl behavior.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about mean girl behavior. What do you think of the way that Sutton's friends act? Are the pranks and put downs authentic or exaggerated?
The author notes in her acknowledgments, "I dearly hope none of you emulate the club's sinister and often dangerous pranks." Is this warning necessary? Should parents be concerned that kids will emulate what they see in media -- or do they need to give them more credit for separating real life from fantasy?
For kids who love mystery and suspense
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