A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Brief discussion on the different societal rules for black kids. Caleb recalls what his dad said about avoiding prison as a black kid: "No sudden movements, keep your hands where they can see."
Stresses the importance of being honest, asking for help when you need it, and being brave enough to stand up for and to your friends. Trust your instincts when something seems wrong.
Positive Role Models
Bobby Gene acts as the conscience of the summer adventure team. He reminds Caleb of their values while still allowing Caleb to make his own decisions. Theire close bond and loyalty as brothers is a great model. They are honest with their parents about the summer's adventures when they finally realize that they need help. They stand up for -- and to -- their friend. There are also strong parental influences: Caleb's mother and father and Mr. Pike all work to hold the boys accountable for their actions while being supportive and allowing them room to grow. Caleb and Bobby Gene are honest in their feelings with Styx as a sign of friendship even when he is less than honest with them.
Violence & Scariness
A bully threatens other kids with a fight. Someone's injured in an accident and his body is described as twisted and bloody, but he ends up being OK.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teen boy seen with his arm around a girl. A teen boy stares at a woman's chest until she becomes uncomfortable.
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Two uses of "damn" and "shizzle."
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Products & Purchases
Mention of Wolverine and Batman in a discussion of superheroes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Kids puff on candy cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Season of Styx Malone, by Kekla Magoon (How It Went Down), was named a 2019 Coretta Scott King (Author) Honor Book. It's a kooky adventure tale about two small-town Indiana brothers, Caleb, 10, and Bobby Gene, 11, who come under the influence of a cool but shady 16-year-old neighbor with big secrets. Parents should be prepared to talk about peer pressure, how to make good choices, standing up to friends, and foster care. A boy is injured in and accident, with some blood described, but he ends up OK. "Damn" is used twice.
Is It Any Good?
This fun, kooky, madcap adventure is a fun read with nuanced layers and a plot driven by the desire to be something and somewhere else. Author Kekla Magoon kicks off The Season of Styx Malone with a compelling question: Are you special if you're the only one who sees it?
Styx is a shady, older teen character, and Caleb is too trusting, but the twisty intrigue has readers asking important questions about character motivation and decision making.
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.