A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this sequel to TTYL is again written entirely in IM text-message form. It has plenty of "teachable moments." Again, the girls freely and frankly discuss their sex and party lives, giving the book a real ring of authenticity. Booklist says these books are appropriate for kids in 10-12th grades for a reason: they talk about experimentation with sex, drugs, and the love dramas that characterize the high school experience. Mature readers will find the antics relatable, but kids who are not as socially advanced might wrestle with some of what's discussed. But there's nothing in here they won't already have heard about by the time they get to high school, including a variety of controversial topics, such as the pressure to smoke pot, parents with drinking problems, and exploring sexual feelings for the first time. A girl gets busted buying marijuana, another gets caught in bed with a boy, and a third takes a cross-country bus trip without telling anyone. Parents are at times portrayed as poor role models, but this book gives real parents a great way to get into discussing some touchy subjects without prying into their own kids' personal lives.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Angela's father loses his job and uproots the family to California. Meanwhile, Maddie hooks up with a guy from another school who has another love interest but fools around with her on the side (he also introduces her to pot, and she manages to get busted for buying). Finally Zoe, the stereotypical good girl, gets involved with a male co-worker, who formerly had a crush on Angela. Fighting ensues between the girls. But they pull together when miserable Angela comes back to Atlanta via Greyhound without telling her parents.
Is it any good?
Young teens will be happy to know that SnowAngel, mad maddie, and zoegirl are back in TTFN, a quick read that at times is funny, poignant, and touching. But the intensity of problems shared is lost in the sing-songy rhythm of text messages, complete with graphic smiley faces and dramatic punctuation. The book's format enables the reader to be a voyeur, learning about the deepest secrets of teen girls. It will appeal to younger teen readers who haven't had many of the experiences described here, but the mature material makes it a better fit for high school students. The conclusions are a bit obvious, but the book does impart some nice messages about friendship and being true to yourself.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about censorship. Some people have wanted to ban this series from libraries and schools. Why do you think that is so? Do you feel anyone has the right -- besides you or your parents -- to determine what is right for you?
Why do you think the author wrote the book in IM text?
The girls spend most of their time discussing boys, sex, drugs and little about homework, tests, or any positive extracurricular activities. Do you think they are positive role models? Are they meant to be?
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