Parents' Guide to


By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Family secrets, mature themes in thoughtful drama.

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Kids say (2):

This drama set in the United Kingdom is an absorbing look at family dynamics and how the past, even if it’s forgotten, continues to echo through the following generations. Shifting points of view between 17-year-old Katie and her grandmother add depth and richness to the slow reveal of the family’s past. It also broadens the appeal beyond YA; Unbecoming is a book that can be savored by adults and teens alike. Teen drama and romance are definitely present, but they take a backseat to piecing together Grandmother Mary’s story, so it’s best for mature, independent readers who enjoy family history and dynamics.

This is Jenny Downham’s third YA novel, and she continues to hone her skill with varied, believable narrators who are easy to relate to. The different voices in different periods of time are ably unified by an underlying warmth, sly humor, and refreshing honesty that keep the engaging characters on your mind long after the last page is turned.

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