A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A few signs in American Sign Language are briefly described. A few words in Arabic with context clues.
Secrets always come out eventually. Being honest with loved ones, even when it's sometimes painful, is the best way to protect them. It's easier to face the scary unknown when you're not alone. With people you can count on alongside, you can face anything.
Positive Role Models
All three main characters model courage, perseverance, and teamwork. Aziza is a good leader with creative thinking skills. Leo is loyal and his optimism helps the others believe in themselves and each other. He also models a strong, positive relationship with his younger sister. Tristan models gratitude and self-sacrifice.
Aziza's parents and grandfather are from Lebanon, and Arabic was their first language. Leo's mom is from Italy and his dad is from Massachusetts. Leo's mom uses American Sign Language to communicate, although she can speak and hear. Tristan has pale skin and platinum blond hair. One character identifies as bisexual and another as gay. There's a same-sex romantic relationship. Aziza lives with her grandfather, Leo lives with his cis-normative nuclear family, and Tristan doesn't have a home.
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Violence & Scariness
Violence is in the fantasy realm and includes fights pitting humans against magical beings and creatures. Pain is described in detail, and injuries and attacks mention blood and broken bones and stabbing briefly, with mild gore. Characters are in danger from scary creatures like reanimated corpses, a giant kraken, and a dark witch. As part of a magical ritual a character cuts his own hand many times to mark places with his blood.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Memories of kissing and sleeping together in the past; nothing's described directly. Some romantic tension and longing.
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"F--k," "f--king," "motherf--ker," "s--t," "bulls--t," "asshole," "ass," "hell," and "Jesus" as an exclamation.
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Products & Purchases
One or two incidental mentions of Walmart, Starbucks, and Brita water filters.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Mention of rowdy, drunken tourists and hot chocolate served with liquor at a winter fair. A teen gets a prescription for pain killers but doesn't take them.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rochelle Hassan's The Buried and the Bound is a fairy tale-type fantasy about teens fighting dark magical forces while forging strong bonds of friendship. Violence is in the fantasy world and includes fights pitting humans against scary magical beings and creatures. Pain is described in detail, and injuries and attacks mention blood, broken bones, and stabbing briefly, with mild gore. Characters are in danger from scary creatures like reanimated corpses, a giant kraken, and a dark witch. Strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," and variations. Parental loss and separation are strong themes.
Is It Any Good?
This is an inventive, dark fantasy that combines classic fairy tale elements with spooky settings that deliver chills and thrills with a fresh, modern feeling and a generous sprinkling of humor. Aziza's wry cynicism, Leo's endless optimism, and Tristan's angsty sadness are blended well into an unlikely friendship at the heart of the story. There's a lot going on, and a lot of different elements that weave in and out of the story, but it's well structured and easy to follow. Switching points of view keeps the pages turning, and the open ending will have fans longing for further adventures.
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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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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