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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Friends gossip behind each other's backs. There is discipline for various examples of naughty behavior even though the parents aren't a major focus in the story.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing, talk of "hooking up" and making out, but overall it's pretty tame.
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This book has a few swear words that are pretty typical for most teens, though usage isn't excessive.
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Products & Purchases
Car makes and models, some designer clothing and commercial store references, but nothing like most teen novels.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Students talk about wild, underage drinking parties when parents are out of town.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are some discussions on making out, hooking up, and underage drinking. The majority of the story, however, involves the reprecussions of gossip and Web 2.0.
Is It Any Good?
TOP 8 is a great book for teens on what NOT to do in the world of social networking. Online bullying has gotten a lot of attention lately and for good reason. Bullies can do a lot of harm without coming near another student in school, which makes this book timely and helpful. It also shows teens the dangers of allowing too much information and faith placed in social networking sites. Author Katie Finn does a great job in highlighting the fast pace and often frantic environment teens have within their online community. Timeless vices like gossiping, jealousy, and frienemy releationships are magnified and information is forwarded at a pace that provides too many kids with opportunities for instant notoriety. The dialog is authentic, sounding very much like conversations one might overhear at the local coffee shop after school, while the cat-and-mouse game Madison plays with whomever is out to destroy her keeps the audience interested.
What doesn't work is Madison's character. While she learns great lessons on honesty and how to put friendship above popularity, she still isn't completely likeable. Though there is character growth, she's still pretty narcassistic and can be mean. Who knows if the author meant for her to have some residual entitlement issues, but it can get annoying.
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Our Editors Recommend
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