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Parents' Guide to


By Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Biracial teen learns to love herself in heartbreaking novel.

Starfish Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Good book, for at least 16+

This is a beautiful story about a girl finding herself. Despite her critical mother, throughout the book, she slowly gains confidence and learns to see beauty in herself. Quite a bit of emotional abuse from her mother. There are issues with an uncle that get talked about in general for quite a while. Parents should know that the main character is a senior in high school… An unwanted kiss, one f word, and the phrase “jacking off” are the reasons I wrote 16+. There is also a situation where someone tries to commit suicide. It may be older than 16, depending on your child. I definitely don’t want my 12 year old reading it yet... however, it was listed as younger teen at our library.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (7 ):

Akemi Dawn Brown's heartbreaking debut novel powerfully portrays the harmful effects of childhood abuse and an empowering journey toward healing. Although it's difficult to read the cruel words from a narcissistic mother incapable of unconditional love and sometimes frustrating to see how Kiko's social anxiety holds her back, Starfish sadly shows how abuse fosters feelings of self-doubt and worthlessness. Through her emotional internal monologues and the gorgeous art descriptions at the end of each chapter, readers will understand Kiko's struggles and triumphs as she slowly breaks free from her dysfunctional family environment.

Book Details

  • Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Topics: Arts and Dance
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: September 26, 2017
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 18
  • Number of pages: 352
  • Available on: Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: February 11, 2018

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