A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids will enjoy reading this book -- and it will give them plenty to think about, too. Check out our "Families Can Talk About" section for some ideas for delving more deeply into the book's plot.
Evie grows into a person who's learning to be herself, without others' rules. She's also able to realize that friendships can evolve instead of ending.
Positive Role Models
Evie and Francesca's history teacher turns out to be a very good role model. She's mad at the girls for their antics but is still able to be a teacher. She imparts a powerful life lesson when she says no one has a right to "write my story ... but me."
Sex, Romance & Nudity
The main character has a crush and later goes on a group date with him. There's some other talk about dates, crushes, and breaking up, but no actual physical stuff.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Francesca's guardian has parties, and the next day Evie sees wineglasses scattered around the living room.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that here isn't much to worry about here on the sex, drugs, or language front. Evie and her new friend Francesca get up to some sneaky antics -- and end up hurting their teacher's feelings -- but their hearts are in the right place. Their teacher turns out to be a very good role model who imparts a powerful life lesson. It's a lesson that connects well with Evie's own growing interest and ability to be herself, without the rules of others.
Is It Any Good?
This is an author who certainly remembers what junior high felt like. Readers will understand Evie's desire to break free of her lifelong friendship with Nisha and Lily -- she loves them but feels trapped by the rules of their relationship and wants to be free to explore her identity. They'll also understand why she's drawn to Francesca, even though her free-spirited neighbor often bugs her ("How could you stay even a tiny bit mad at someone who gets who you really are? Or who you would be if you weren't afraid?").
Another great thing: In the end, no character is ultimately painted as good or bad. Evie is able to work things out with both her old friends -- and get through her problems with Francesca. And along the way, she even learns to start being her own person. This isn't a book with an outrageous plot or any big tragedies, but it's very grounded in reality and imparts gentle lessons about how both friendships -- and your own identity -- can always evolve.
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.