A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Teen girl drama and meanness prevail throughout, along with some neglectful or clueless parenting. A teen is stripped naked and photographed without her knowledge. One elderly woman remarks on a "colored girl" almost being let into an exclusive club.
Violence & Scariness
A small shoving match between two girls.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing, making out, and sex between teens in high school, not graphically described. Teen girls are described dressing sexy, wearing and stripping down to lingerie. Plus the typical high school banter of sexual jokes and innuendo.
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"Ass" and "bitch."
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Products & Purchases
Labels are the extra debutante in this book: Dolce & Gabbana, Mercedes, Manolo, Vera Wang, Blackberry, Coach, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink, smoke pot, and abuse prescription pills to party and to escape stressful situations.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, like the Gossip Girl books, both mean-girl antics and high-end labels are quite prevalent. In one scene, a girl is stripped naked and photographed without her knowledge. Teens engage in sex (not described in detail) and drink, smoke pot, and abuse prescription pills to party and escape stressful situations.
Is It Any Good?
One thing to make clear about DEBS by Susan McBride is that it isn't as vapid or damaging as the Gossip Girl series. The characters have a bit more depth. It is, still, a guilty pleasure full of high-end clothing, debutantes, lots and lots of money, and cute, but confusing boys. As usual with privilege and pretty, there are problems. The girls' struggles with body image and self-acceptance are exacerbated by the perfect deb image they all feel obliged to portray in order to make it into the Glass Slipper Club.
Fashionistas will love the endless clothing parade, and the bright spot that is Laura Bell. She makes some pretty bad decisions throughout the book, but one thing is clear -- at a size 14 she loves herself just the way she is, pushy debutante mom and taunts of "debu-tank" aside.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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