A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Violence & Scariness
Visions of ghosts who died gruesomely, including a hanged man, a woman whose skin and hair burns off, a man with melted skin and an eyeball sliding down his cheek, and a man who falls into an industrial saw. A girl hits another girl in the head with a brick, then ties her up and leaves her. A fight with a switchblade. Adults shoot at teens with a tranquilizer gun.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Getting a period is a plot point, a description of the first period, a mention of "inappropriate touching," two teens are assumed to be making out (they aren't), a teen is told he will be accused of sexual assault (he's innocent).
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"Bitch" is used more than once.
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Products & Purchases
Clothing, video game, computer, electronics, department store, restaurant chain, painkiller, car brands mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Children are given medications they don't need to keep them compliant.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are some gruesome visions of ghosts who died violently, and a girl getting her period is a plot point.
Is It Any Good?
Author Kelley Armstrong takes her time to get this story moving. This is no slam-bang action-adventure, though it does get pretty exciting in the last quarter. Before that, the author gradually builds up Chloe's (and the readers) understanding of what is happening to her and around her, though the reader will get there long before Chloe does. By the end, though, Chloe and her friends have just barely begun on their journey to understand themselves and their world, which is quite different than what they have been brought up to believe. The cover picture, showing a hot girl in a low-cut dress holding a ruby pendant, may convince some boys that this book is not for them. That would be a shame -- with a touch of gruesome and edgy violence, and that last action-packed quarter of the book, along with ghosts, werewolves, and magic, boys will find just as much to like here as girls. Those who persevere through the rather slow start will find that this has more in common with Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (if that were written well and had fewer plot holes) than it does with Gossip Girls: a group of kids with special powers trying to escape from scientists who want to experiment on them. A fun start to what should be an exciting new series.
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.