The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It Book Poster Image
As smart, funny, and teen-centric as its title.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The characters are flawed, but find a way to cope with all that is going on in their lives. Most of them understand the consequences of their actions and when they hurt each other, they feel remorse.


Domestic violence, bombs go off twice resulting in a person being killed and several injured. There are also fights among students.


A married couple talks about passion and romance, there's a budding romance between two teens. A girl is called the "Big Mistake" because she was a surprise pregnancy.


Some swear words, but nothing excessive.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol and tobacco use by both teens and adults.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know there is domestic violence and teen drug use in this book. Teen characters struggle with family, interpersonal, and class issues. Overall the book has a light touch about these topics, as reflected in the title.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPrincessEmly April 9, 2008


Teen, 15 years old Written byJemmaWithaJ July 24, 2012

Guess who has a new favorite book?

This is seriously my favorite book. I've read it three times now, and done a report on it for my English class. This book does have some intense scenes in... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bybeautydawn4 December 27, 2011

Pretty darn good.

This was a wonderful story, but raven and his family smoke, drink alcohol, and do drugs. They also eat "premium mince," and the butcher claims (later)... Continue reading

What's the story?

Gemma Stone has a lot going on. Her sister is getting married and the groom's family is a bunch of loons. She normally throws up when she has to speak in public, but this year she's decided to go out for the school play -- it doesn't hurt that her crush is in the play too. She also has to worry about Raven De Head, a bad boy from a bad family who's insistent on being friends with her.

Is it any good?

Lisa Shanahan has a large following in Australia as an author of children's books, and this first foray into young adult literature is a great success. The main character, Gemma Stone, is having a defining year in which she finds herself outside of her safety zone, giving up old ways of thinking, and growing up a lot.

The book is touching and laugh-out-loud funny. Shanahan finds a way to mix a ridiculous wedding, a class war/food fight among students, a Shakespearean play, and profiles of three very different families into a believable vehicle in which Gemma is being taken for a ride. As the story is set in Australia, there's some slang or colloquialisms that may be foreign to many readers, but overall the book is universal in its themes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about domestic violence and class issues in their school. Why did Gemma feel like she would be betraying Raven if she told what she had witnessed at Raven's home? How would you react? Is there a trusted adult that you could talk to? Why were the De Head children treated differently? Why did Gemma feel guilty for disliking Raven? Would you have been embarrassed to call him a friend?

Book details

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