A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The tsunamis are linked to the massive earthquakes, and may inspire some interest in learning more about the threat of earthquakes along the western United States.
When privilege and status are stripped away, people are much the same: looking for connection and something to hold onto.
Positive Role Models
Shy makes a tremendous effort to rescue people aboard the doomed ship, including a man who threatened him, and to aid people in distress. He tries to be a good friend and, in times of crisis, lets go of past insults. Shoeshine materializes at key times to help Shy. Carmen is a solid friend who is working to keep sexual tension from complicating her relationship with Shy.
Violence & ScarinessIt's a disaster story, so the body count is necessarily high, much of the violence is decribed in detail. A man leaps off the cruise ship to his death in the opening scene. A man investigating the suicide hreatens Shy. News footage describes extensive devastation from a series of powerful earthquakes in the western United States, then several tsunamis sink the cruise ship. Shy witnesses scores of horrible injuries and gruesome deaths, including of familiar characters, as the boat sinks, in shark-infested waters, in sick rooms, and during a mass execution of innocent people. He shares a lifeboat with rotting bodies, finds the bodies of two murdered men, and has a gun held to his head.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Shy likes to check out women, and routinely sizes up their appearance. He's especially focused on the body of his friend Carmen. He and Carmen kiss passionately. There's a suggestive scene with a young man and two women in a hot tub, and there are references to other characters ogling women, hooking up, and wet dreams.
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The teen characters swear casually and constantly: "damn," "s--t," "ass," "pissed," "a--hole," "bitch," "f--k," "damn," "bastard," and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
Jacuzzi, Subway, Skype, Game Boy, Gatorade, Telemundo, Kay Jewelers, iTunes, Windex, and the Raiders.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Two underage characters get drunk on wine.
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Parents Need to KnowParents need to know that The Living, by Matt de la Pena (Mexican Whiteboy), is the first installment of a violent, thrilling disaster tale. There's plenty of gruesome violence, a very high body count, and teen characters swear casually and constantly (including "s--t," "a--hole," "bitch," "f--k" ). The story emphasizes themes of racism and class conflict, and the wealthy characters generally behave with selfish entitlement. Given the bloody details and the pervasive strong language, we recommend this for ages 15 and up, a slightly older audience than the publisher suggests.
Is It Any Good?
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