A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Urges readers to read closely and search for clues; the mystery encourages creative thinking and the related Web site encourages creative writing and imagination.
Amanda's actions are mysterious but appear to be positive. Plus the importance of family and friends is key.
Positive Role Models
The main character, Callie, and the missing girl, Amanda, are smart, caring, and creative. Amanda's friendship leads Callie to the confidence she needs to quit being friends with the superficial and mean "i" girls. Her missing mother is a gifted astronomer. Her new friends, a boy and a girl, are both independent, self-aware, and mature.
Violence & Scariness
In a hit and run accident, a 14-year-old girl "borrows" her parents' car and hits an acquaintance on a bicycle. There is some minor vandalism.
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Products & Purchases
The book jacket promotes the interactive Amanda Project Web site. While the Web site promotes creativity it also advertises the book and the 9 books to follow in the series.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character's mother disappeared months earlier and in despair her father starts drinking and becomes irresponsible. After being confronted by her, he does stop drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that despite the apparent commercialism of a series of 10 books tied to a Web site that promotes their purchase, this is an excellent book by a talented writer. Each book in the series will have a different author, all writing under the pen name of Stella Lennon (this one is written by Melissa Kantor). Because of that, the quality of the subsequent titles may change. Complex themes are age appropriate and thought provoking. Besides a hit-and-run accident by a 14-year-old driver and one parent who drinks too much, the characters are very positive.
Is It Any Good?
The writing and the book design are both beautiful. Main characters are smart, resilient, and optimistic -- Kantor’s dialogue is spot on, and the characters will resonate with readers. Callie’s life is a roller coaster, and yet her new-found friendships empower her. Amanda’s disappearance seems to lead to more secrets and more revelations at the same time, and Callie finds the strength, and the support, to make some big changes in her life. Courage leads to confrontations that help many people; but Amanda is still missing.
This is a cliffhanger that will have readers anxiously awaiting the next book, and the Web site may inspire them creatively.
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.