A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This book has coming-of-age themes, plus forgiveness is something all the characters confront in one way or another.
Positive Role Models
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 & Scariness
Deanna knocks down a boy for grabbing her crotch. Her brother beats up another boy.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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).
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Some swearing, including "s--t" and "f--k," and the finger.
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Products & Purchases
Many stores and fast food restaurants mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen characters smoke (tobacco and marijuana) and drink.
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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."
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.
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.