Story of a Girl

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Story of a Girl Book Poster Image
Coming-of-age story about girl who had sex at 13.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This book has coming-of-age themes, plus forgiveness is something all the characters confront in one way or another. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Deanna learns to deal with a past decision -- and move on with her own life. Her friends are caring, even when she deliberately hurts them.

Violence

Deanna knocks down a boy for grabbing her crotch. Her brother beats up another boy.

Sex

The story revolves around a girl who, when she was 13, was having sex with a 17-year-old; and her older teen brother, who got a girl pregnant. Nothing is described, but there are many references, as well as to "boobs," sexual harassment, condoms, "the pill," kissing, petting, homosexuality, and oral sex (very obliquely).

Language

Some swearing, including "s--t" and "f--k," and the finger.

Consumerism

Many stores and fast food restaurants mentioned.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teen characters smoke (tobacco and marijuana) and drink.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a book about a teen who had sex when she was 13. There are no descriptions of sex, but many sexual references. Teens also smoke, including marijuana. There is quite a lot of profanity, including "f--k."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydoriielaiine April 5, 2011

Great book for kids over age 15

Loved it! I read it in my senior high of high school and did my report on it. Definitely didn't want to put this book down.
Parent of a 2 year old Written byunforgettable March 3, 2011

perfect for young adults

this book can show children how life sometimes works out. it can show them that nooones life is perfect nor is it anywhere near perfect. lives have ups and dow... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... January 22, 2010

perfect for just teens 13-19 READ IT!!!!!!

i love it because this can happen to any girl/boy and its teaching you that if you forgive nothing bad will happen just postive things.I wish that they make mor... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byGoGetit October 13, 2009
This boook was amazing and had such a strong message. Most people don't understand what most young girls go through and are exposed too. EVERYONE talks abo... Continue reading

What's the story?

When she was 13, Deanna had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old boy, Tommy, which was ended by her father who caught them in the act. Now it's the summer between her sophomore and junior years, and she is still dealing with the repercussions: Her father can't look at her and seems to hate her, and Tommy's stories have made most of the high schoolers in her small town think she is nothing but a slut.

Hoping to make enough money to move out, Deanna takes a job at a local pizza place, even though Tommy works there too. Meanwhile she is dealing with her brother, who has become a teen father; his girlfriend, who takes off, leaving them with the baby; and her changing feelings about her only two remaining friends.

Is it any good?

The feelings and motivations of all of the characters, but especially of Deanna, are subtle and complex here in a way that most young adult novels aren't. For instance, Deanna is repelled by Tommy, angry at him, contemptuous, a bit frightened, and yet still attracted to him. Tommy himself is a lout, but not evil, and with complex feelings of his own. Every character and every relationship gives the reader much to recognize and think about.

The theme of forgiveness is similarly subtle and complex here -- this is not an author to hit the reader over the head with The Point. Forgiveness is something all the characters confront in one way or another, and those who can manage it do it for themselves more than for others. It becomes an act of survival, not sainthood.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role of forgiveness in the story. Who needs to forgive -- and who needs to be forgiven? 

  • This book deals with a teen who has sex at a young age. Why does she decide to make that choice? Do the repercussions she faces feel authentic? Parents may want to use this opportunity to discuss their own attitudes about teen relationships and sex. Common Sense Media's Too Sexy Too Soon offers advice for how to help girls develop a healthy self-image.

Book details

For kids who love coming-of-age stories

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