The Kidney Hypothetical: Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days

Book review by Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media
The Kidney Hypothetical: Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 12+

Rapid-fire story of boy's horrible final week of school.

Parents say

age 14+

Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yet.

Add your rating

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.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Good lessons about the cult of overachieving

Pros: Wow I could not disagree more with the reviewer on two stars. I love Lisa Yee's other works like the Millicent Min trilogy and Bobby vs Girls, so I was excited to read Kidney Hypothetical. Coming from a family, culture, community of myopia who think Harvard is the epitome of Life, I know too many people who teach their kids to be entitled overachievers that think that an Ivy League diploma means you're better than everyone else. I think the 'hate campaign' against Higgs was a good wakeup call that intelligence and grades and achievement, doesn't trump friendship, kindness, empathy and actual thinking and consideration for others. What's more, it acknowledges the unhappiness and insecurity that "perfection" can bring. I know many young people who could stand to learn this lesson. I'm in my late 30s but my inner teenager thoroughly appreciated this book. Cons: There is the usual swearing and smoking in teenage fare these days. I'm not sure that Higgs really learned his lesson as far as getting away with fraud. The parental neglect is troubling but realistic considering what they're dealing with, however it isn't explained helpfully for a younger reader. (As an adult I can see the clear symptoms of severe depression and need for professional help, but the realistic stigma in the book and in the culture is unfortunately realistic.) The ex-girlfriend and other girls in school are one dimensional, yes. However I thought it was more a symptom of how Higgs saw them rather than how we are supposed to~ granted a teenage reader may not get that nuance. Overall I think the message that "success alone won't bring you happiness" is a useful message that some entitled people in my own community could stand to learn. Maybe not in yours, but definitely appreciated in mine. Five stars.

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

  • Sway Poster Image


    Complicated teen boy learns to feel again in edgy tale.

    age 15+
  • Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You Poster Image

    Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You

    Powerful, mature book about bright teen's alienation.

    age 15+
  • Tease Poster Image


    Riveting tale of teen bullying tragedy, told by the bully.

    age 14+

For kids who love coming-of-age and high school stories

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon picture of a sister and brother holding hands
    Brothers and Sisters
    See all
  • Cartoon hands high fiving
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a high school letterman's jacket
    High School
    See all

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