A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Take Me With You When You Go explains some geographical details about St. Louis, Missouri, and offers an impression of high school and college life. It also details domestic abuse and its long-lasting effects.
Young people are affected but not defined by their parents; they can forge their own life path.
Positive Role Models
Bea and Ezra, are not everyone's idea of great teen role models, but their devotion to each other, their self-awareness, and their inner strength make them inspiring. Ezra and Terence are gay and in a reationship. Terrence's parents are loving and supportive of their son and Ezra, perhaps despite some discomfort with the boys' romantic attachment. Bea and Ezra present as White. Terrence is Black. Race is not one of the social issues addressed in this novel, but diverse families are represented.
Bea and Ezra's race is not mentioned, but a few physical details, and the front cover illustration, give the idea they are White. We know that Terrence is Black because his mom attends a Black Women's Action Group meeting, and Ezra says he is the only White person when he attends church with Terrence's family. Race is not one of the social issues addressed in this novel, but diverse families are represented. Ezra and Terence are gay and in a reationship.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Bea and Ezra's stepfather, Darren, regularly hits the children and intimates them by destroying their possessions. Most of the violence in the novel is mentioned in the past tense, but two scenes in the novel depict Darren threatening Ezra with a gun in a crowded movie theater, and beating him on the ground in front of Terrence's family's home. Readers also learn that one of Ezra's childhood friends is the victim of domestic violence, including her brother breaking her jaw.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ezra and Bea share stories with each other about their first kisses. Bea reveals that she slept with her high school boyfriend, Joe, and has also slept with her new boyfriend. Ezra and Terrence are boyfriends but no sexual activity bewteen them is described. Other teens make out at a party. However, there are no graphic descriptions of sex beyond a few details about tongue kissing.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Teens frequently say "f--k," "s--t," and "ass."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
One of the teens was fired from Starbucks. London has Avengers toys. Boys play Xbox.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A teen gets drunk at a party and kisses a boy she doesn't even like. Bea feels so upset at one point that she wishes she could get drunk indefinitely. Teen girl reveals that her dad is a "raging alcoholic, emphasis on the raging."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jennifer Niven and David Levithan's emotional novel Take Me With You When You Go depicts a brother and sister who endure verbal and physical abuse. For years, Bea (age 18) and her younger brother Ezra (14) have been hurt and belittled by their stepfather, Darren, while their mother shows little love or empathy for her children. Readers learn on page one that Bea has run away. The siblings keep in touch through secret email accounts (the story is told through emails), and their fears and the damage done to them are exposed through those email messages. The novel depicts intimidation and violence against children, including an incident where Darren pulls out a gun in a crowded movie theater, and another where he beats Ezra in front of onlookers. Readers also learn that a friend of Ezra's, Jessica, identifies with Ezra because her father is a "raging alcoholic" and her brother broke her jaw. Take Me With You When You Go also includes a good deal of swearing (the "f--k," "s--t," "ass"), descriptions of teen kissing, and the mention of sex (though there is no graphic sex in the book). This novel offers some challenging content, but Bea and Ezra’s growth is inspiring. Through their letters over eamil they dig deeply into their family history and learn about the ways abuse has affected all of their relationships. New self-awareness gives them the tools to form better friendships, and their love for each other lights their way out.
Is It Any Good?
This emotional novel told through a brother and sister's emails to each other turns a painful story into a compelling page-turner that's a pleasure to read. Co-authors Jennifer Niven and David Levithan are expert at creating relatable characters and feelings, and it's fascinating to watch these fictional siblings navigate trust issues created by years of their stepfather's cruelty. Take Me With You When You Go tackles very challenging material, yet the characters' deep love for each other, and the ways they come of age -- and come out strong -- leave the reader quite hopeful. There are also answers to years of questions to be (at least partly) revealed.
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.