A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This book will get kids thinking about
The value of friendship is front and center here. The girls continue to grow up -- this time working through their complicated relationships with their mothers.
Positive Role Models
These are great kids -- they love each other, they understand loyalty and friendship. You'd have them over for dinner in a heartbeat.
Violence & Scariness
One storyline follows a character dealing with her mother's suicide.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Much making out, more graphic than the previous book. Kostos has sex with a girlfriend (the act isn't described), who gets pregnant.
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A few strong expletives.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sequel continues to focus on the relationships of four close friends. The girls demonstrate a great love for each other, and teens can learn a lot from how they support each other. There's some mature material -- one teen faces her mother's suicide of years ago, while another single mother has an affair. Plus, the girls make out with boys (more than in the first book) and make some poor decisions from time to time. But it's the strong friendships as well as the girls' individual coming-of-age stories that make this series sing.
Is It Any Good?
Author Ann Brashares is a strong writer, and the scenes and events flash easily by, imbued with good and important lessons that aren't too didactic. Fans of the first book -- and there are lots of them -- will certainly want to follow the girls' melodrama into its second summer and will be enthralled as their favorite characters plow through their trials and tribulations.
There's more of everything here: more pages (it's almost 100 pages longer than the first book), more peripheral characters (so many that it's sometimes hard to keep track), more tears, more dark and selfish behavior, and more graphic make-out scenes. Even the Pants travel around more, though they're less central to the plot. Even though the characters are less sympathetic and less dependent on each other in this book than they were in the first novel, . The Second Summer will resonate with fans of the first book, as much of what happens to the girls this summer builds on events from before.
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.