A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Dazzling Heights is author Katharine McGee's sequel to her debut novel, The Thousandth Floor. Set in 2118 New York, it picks up shortly after the events of the first book. Reading the first book isn't necessary to understand this one, but it will deepen understanding of the characters and how they're changed by the events of both books. Romantic relationships are a big focus, and having sex is mentioned or implied a lot, but descriptions are rare and vaguely describe kissing and light making out. Glamorized, unimaginably wealthy, elite high schoolers frequently drink at parties (the legal age in this world is 18). A main character is recently out of rehab; she drinks alcohol but doesn't take any drugs. One character goes to an illegal rave and pot shots are mentioned. Another character's cocktail is drugged by a villain. Profanity is rare but includes "f--k," "s--t," and "bitch."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Life in THE DAZZLING HEIGHTS of the 1,000-story Tower in the year 2118 has taken a dark turn for the elite, wealthy teens struggling with the tragic death of their friend Eris. Leda, Avery, Rylin, and Watt all have deep secrets they try to keep, which becomes more and more difficult as they process their guilt and grief. Friends become enemies and enemies friends as alliances shift and newcomer Calliope breezes into their world. When a common enemy is revealed, can alliances shift yet again to allow the group of teens to defeat the enemy together?
Is it any good?
This appealing second helping of the same place, time, characters, and setup as the first book offers some new twists and intriguing new characters. Author Katharine McGee once again does a great job balancing character development and world building with advancing the plot. She's also made it easy to jump right into The Dazzling Heights and follow along, although those who read the popular The Thousandth Floor will have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the characters.
Lots of teen appeal here, as the glamorous, super-rich high schoolers of New York in the year 2118 navigate their world of ultimate luxury and the latest in high tech. But it's a character-driven mystery, and readers will relate to every character in some way and be equally intrigued by all of them. Those who've read the first book may find this one less suspenseful. The identical setup of flashing back from a dead body at the very beginning, not knowing who it is or how she died, makes you pretty confident you'll find out everything in the end. Or will you? And speaking of endings, some of the characters reach the end of their satisfying arcs, but there are plenty of loose ends, and even a cliffhanger, that'll make fans eager for another installment.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether The Dazzling Heights glamorizes drinking and drug use. Does it seem realistic or exaggerated? What are the negative consequences?
Did you read the first book in the series? Which do you like better? If you didn't, do you want to now?
Do you identify with any of the characters? Is there one you wish you could be like? Who would you not want to be like?
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