Tiger Eyes

Book review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Tiger Eyes Book Poster Image
Powerful novel examines teen's world of grief.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Young adults who read Judy Blume's Tiger Eyes will learn about terrain and lifestyles in two different parts of the United States: Atlantic City, N.J., and Los Alamos, N.M. There's especially a lot of detail about the Southwest: climate, social attitudes, and history. The book includes a brief history of Project Y and development of the atom bomb. Characters discuss issues surrounding the morality of building bombs and opinions about gun control; the novel offers multiple viewpoints, encouraging young readers to think critically about important issues.

Positive Messages

Tiger Eyes shows readers how time, family support, and therapy can help people recover from even the most traumatic loss. The book takes an unvarnished view of the dangers of teen alcohol use, and a friend provides information on how a girl with a drinking problem can seek help.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Davey's mother tunes out somewhat as she struggles with grief, but she ultimately makes tough decisions that are right for her children. She's also as open as she can stand to be about her suffering, and suggests Davey see a psychologist when Davey seems stuck in her own anger and pain. Davey's aunt and uncle, Bitsy and Walter, have a different lifestyle and attitudes from what Davey's used to, but they're caring and supportive when they're needed. A therapist, Miriam, helps Davey and her mom talk about their grief.


The events and emotions that Davey and her family go through in Tiger Eyes stem from a shooting death. The murder is described in great detail and has a tremendous impact on the family. Davey, who is 15, witnesses the aftermath of the shooting and thinks about it often. In internal monologue, she recounts what happened the night of the shooting, including graphic descriptions of blood and a wounded person dying.


Davey describes the way she feels when kissing her boyfriend, Hugh. They have a heated make-out session, though they are fully clothed. Davey's friend Jane gets drunk and makes out with a boy in the back seat of a car while Davey and another boy sit in the front; Davey describes the sounds of what her friend is doing, but she tries not to look. At another point in the book, Walter becomes angry and criticizes Davey's mother for having become pregnant as a teenager.


Grape-Nut Flakes, Chevy Blazer, 7-Eleven.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

When Davey faints at school, she's accused of using drugs or alcohol. Later, she mentions having tried alcohol but not liking the way it made her feel. Davey's friend Jane abuses alcohol as a way to mask her own fears, and as a result engages in risky behavior with a boyfriend. She also drinks at school and sometimes becomes sick or hungover from drinking. Davey tries to help Jane talk honestly about her drinking and seek help. Davey's mother takes prescription pain killers for tension headaches, but eventually gives them up. Davey drinks Sangria with her mom at a restaurant.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Judy Blume's young-adult novel Tiger Eyes focuses on a family's struggle to recover emotionally after a family member is murdered by armed robbers. The book is narrated by 15-year-old Davey, who is dealing with her own normal growing-up issues as well as her grief. In addition to describing a horrifically violent event, the book addresses issues surrounding safety and gun control, and the morality of countries building bombs. Tiger Eyes also depicts teens abusing alcohol and an adult who uses prescription pain killers. Teen characters kiss passionately but remain clothed. Tiger Eyes was made into an award-winning 2012 film.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymarymojo2002 November 25, 2013

Do not let your child read this

It is a totally inappropriate book. I cannot believe that my daughter was able to bring home this book from her school. She is 10 years old. On page 126 it stat... Continue reading
Adult Written byShellyBnerdsmomma January 16, 2021

Opens the real world to young children

I read this book to my 12, 9 and 11-year-old. Totally appropriate no graphic images great book. Great role models too!
Kid, 12 years old February 19, 2021

Amazing Book!!

I read this book and it is over all amazing! Some things you may want to know is that there is some drinking and this girl’s dad get’s murdered which some kids... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byTheoutsider2019 April 10, 2020

Love this book!

I love this book!! I love the story, and characters. I just love this book! The story was relatable. By the end of the first chapter, this book had me interest... Continue reading

What's the story?

TIGER EYES is told from the point of view of a 15-year-old girl named Davey, who is grieving for a family member murdered in an armed robbery. When the book opens, she is dressing for a funeral. Davey stays in bed; she stops eating and doesn't want to start school in the fall. When her stress level starts to cause panic attacks and fainting, her doctor suggests that a change of scene might help. Her family then decamps to Los Alamos, N.M., to visit Davey's aunt and uncle. Once they're settled in the Southwest, Davey's mom begins to fall apart, while Davey makes a few friends and deals with normal teenage issues as well as her grief. All the family needs time and support to face their sadness and anger, and move on to the next stage of their lives. Tiger Eyes was made into a film that was shown in several regional film festivals in spring 2012.

Is it any good?

Tiger Eyes is a powerful and emotional novel about grief and recovery. Davey describes the heavy issues affecting her, and regular growing-up struggles, in an articulate but believable way. In general, Blume shows just the right amount of restraint in writing this book for young adults: There's enough detail about the violent events to make a huge impact without giving young readers more than they can handle. The author also treats other issues that are important to her characters -- sexuality, alcohol and drug use, safety vs. independence -- with great sensitivity and realism. Of all of Blume's novels about growing up, Tiger Eyes may be the most tender and the most true to life.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Davey feels in the book. Why does Wolf become so important to her? How does she begin to feel better?

  • How does Tiger Eyes compare with other young-adult Judy Blume books you've read?

  • Does this book take a stand on gun control? What are the pros and cons of having personal weapons?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love coming of age stories

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate