A Black girl sits next to her mom and dad on a couch, all smiling. She is pointing at a smartphone that they are looking at together.

Concerned about social media, AI, and screen time?

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the best out of media and tech.

Parents' Guide to

Tell Me Something Real

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Taut, compelling drama about teen coping with mom's illness.

Tell Me Something Real Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

Calla Devlin's debut novel is taut and well-structured, with a believable narrator teens will relate to and a surprising twist on the terminal-illness story that grabs you and doesn't let go. Tell Me Something Real is about the impact of her mother's illness on Vanessa and her family, focusing on their ability -- or lack of it-- to cope with illness and heal after betrayal. The patient and the illnesses are seen exclusively through the family's eyes, so the medical issues, or what it's like for the patient, aren't explored.

The well-developed characters, air of mystery, splash of teen romance, and unexpected turn in the story keep the pages turning. Readers will root for Vanessa as she tries to keep herself, her love life, and her family together without giving up her dreams for the future.

Book Details

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate