A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Between the horror and the humor, there's not much room for learning, but readers will pick up a cartoonishly exaggerated bit of rural Wisconsin color.
For good or ill, there's more to people than you might think. As Kippy navigates a world in which any of the people she's known from birth might be a killer, many people she can't stand turn out to have a good side. Examples of small-town rallying around a cause go to absurdly destructive extremes in the story, but there's also an appreciation for the sense of connection.
Positive Role Models
Kippy, a good student dealing with the normal hassles of small-town teen life, her mother's recent death, and the awkwardness of being a late bloomer, gets points for determination and creative thinking in trying to solve a murder. She also drinks beer, routinely lies to her dad about where she is and what she's doing, lies to other people, and burglarizes a house. Adult characters, for the most part, are complete no-hopers, from Kippy's school-counselor father who calls her "pimple" and "chocolate butt" to the lawyer who was having an affair with the victim. They're usually well-intentioned, even when doing wildly inappropriate things like packing Kippy off to a mental hospital. Ruth's brother Davey, who becomes Kippy's love interest, is either a hero or a coward, depending on your point of view, because of the way he got himself home for his sister's funeral.
Violence & Scariness
It's part of the genre, but violence -- against people and animals -- is pretty much off the chart and wallowed in, from gruesome murder to involuntary confinement in mental hospitals. For example, the murdered teen's bereaved brother, speaking at her funeral, says, "She probably had to watch her killer take out that needle and thread. They only dropped her from the tree after the fact -- after she'd already suffocated on her own teeth and bile and straw. Then they did her like a buck from a basketball hoop."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The sexually active murder victim's diary rates the penis size of her boyfriend and the middle-aged guy she's cheating on him with. The boyfriend preys on female students for sexual services, especially oral sex. A classmate is said to have had sex with every male in town. Narrator Kippy has a comically intense, awkward makeout scene with her new love interest.
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"F--k," "s--t," "piss," "ass," "dick," and other crude language appear on many, many pages.
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Products & Purchases
Narrator Kippy hero-worships news anchor Diane Sawyer. One scene includes references to The Shawshank Redemption. Commercial products get frequent mentions (Subaru, Jell-O, Milwaukee's Best, M&M's), not always in a positive context, as part of the scene-setting.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One young adult character gets drunk on beer; in another scene he and Kippy drink together. When Kippy is sent to a mental hospital, she and the other patients are kept in a drugged stupor. References to other teens having marijuana.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that No One Else Can Have You mixes humor, horror, sex, small-town strangeness, and teen angst in a violent but funny brew. The story opens with the grotesque murder of a teenage girl in small-town Wisconsin and frequently rehashes the gory details with gusto. As the victim's BFF tries to find the killer, she uncovers a raft of sleazy secrets the locals would rather keep buried. She also lies to her dad and other adults, burgles a house, and commits other questionable acts in her quest for the truth -- and also attracts the killer's interest. Teen and adult characters seem to be constantly having sex with one another; the murder victim was especially interested in the penis size of her various partners. Some underage drinking and drunkenness; creepy mental-hospital scenes with mind-altering drugs; abundant crude language.
Is It Any Good?
NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU is a bit of a kitchen-sink combo that's not for the faint of heart, but fans of gruesome absurdity (think Fargo) will love it. It mixes murder mystery, broad regional comedy, and sexed-up high school life with all the trappings of the horror genre (from gore, violence, and creepy mental hospitals to teens making ill-advised moves). Many teens will relate to Kippy's out-of-place feelings, her determination, and her creative-thinking skills as she tries to make sense of who her late friend was, whether they were really friends at all, and why she's so determined to find the killer anyway.
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.