A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The author notes in her acknowledgements what inspired her stories, and some readers may be interested in following up on some of this source material.
Stories impart subtle messages about what it means to love someone or to do the right thing. Not all the stories are purely moralistic: In one story, a dead girl trapped in Limbo, wishes to experience any feeling, even the suffering of others in Hell.
Positive Role Models
There are characters who accept their duty, stand up for bullied kids, or realize what it means to love someone.
Violence & Scariness
Plenty, including monkeys being raped by other monkeys, semi-graphically; an old woman is severely beaten; a man finds a dead baby in a bag; a man is knifed and killed; another is pitchforked.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A scene of childbirth, sexual references, a teen tells another to grab a naked old man "by the nuts."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Needle-injected drugs, a fairy smokes a pipe.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a very mature story collection. There is plenty of violence, including a horrifying scene of souls trapped in Hell, a semi-graphic rape scene between monkeys, portrayed with human thoughts and emotions, and a giant who makes his clothes -- and even new eyelids -- out of the bodies of kidnapped children. The language and ideas mark it for older teens as well. The stories do impart subtle messages about what it means to love someone or to do the right thing. And the author notes in her acknowledgements what inspired her stories, and some readers may be interested in following up on some of this source material.
Is It Any Good?
There is no doubt that this is a mature collection: both the language and gritty details mark it for older teens and up. As with most story collections, some installments will resonate better with readers than others. But the author's language and dark imagery will transport readers time and time again, leaving them with haunting images -- and much to think about both in terms of our universal fears -- and also what it means to love someone, or be a hero.
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.
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