Very LeFreak



Tech addict's story veers from too breezy to overly mature.

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Strong lesson about taking personal responsibility.

Positive role models

Very is a lot of fun to watch, but she can be thoughtless and cruel, especially to the people who care about her. But by the end of the book, Very has learned to stop trying to escape her problems. She makes a new life plan that involves being responsible and taking care of herself.


Very physically attacks Bryan after he throws out her laptop, but it's played more for comedy.


Very tells her therapist that she slept with five guys and two girls (she describes one incident with a girl graphically). During therapy, she also reveals how angry she is about her first sexual experience, which was with a teacher when she was 12. She has a one-night stand with a friend and later has oral sex with him.  


Lots of swearing ("f--k," "s--t," etc.) and sex talk.  


Awash in junk food and media products including: Starbucks, iPods, Google, Wii, Gap, Coke, Cap'N Crunch, Chewy Chips Ahoy, Doritos, M&Ms, Red Bull, Stolichnaya, etc.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink and get drunk (Very admits to having sex after drinking). Very also admits smoking since she was 16, and her mother died of a drug overdose.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a mature book, both in terms of its language and plot points. The main character smokes and gets drunk, has sex with men and women she hardly knows, swears, spends money irresponsibly, and lives on junk food. Very also carries around some serious baggage: Her mother died of a drug overdose, and a teacher had sex with her when she was only 12. There is a positive message underneath all this bad behavior: By the end of the book, Very stops trying to escape her problems. She makes a new life plan that involves being responsible and taking care of herself.

What's the story?

Very's so attached to her iPhone, laptop, and online crush -- not to mention running a social networking site on which she plans parties and flash mobs -- that she's about to get booted out of Columbia. But when she attacks Bryan after he accidentally destroy her laptop, her loved ones pressure her to go to ESCAPE, a rehab facility for technology addicts. There, she meets a wild cast of characters, and starts to unpack some of the drama and trauma of her past.

Is it any good?


Very is a great character. She is a lot like the spirited teen at the center of Cohn's Gingerbread series: she's a mouthy girl who's full of life and honesty, and even though she often makes the wrong decision and hurts those she loves, she's really a good person who's carrying around a lot of pain. The problem here is that readers won't know if this book is supposed to be funny or serious. Does she actually have a technology addiction? Or is the rehab center, with its needlepoint and 12-steps, just a joke? The beginning of the book is so breezy that readers might feel sort of lost when Very starts unpacking her emotional baggage, including her mother's deadly drug overdose, and her first sexual experience at the age of 12. 

Families can talk about...

  • This book is about a girl who's sent to a technology rehab center. Ask your kids: Do you think technology addiction exists? If so, what defines an addict? You may want to check out Common Sense Media's article on Beating a Computer Addiction to get one expert's opinion and advice.

  • Towards the end, Very realizes she prefers "the virtual world because the real one is hard, and cruel, and scary. And I don't know if I have what it takes to make it on my own."  Putting addiction aside, do you think people often use media as an escape for their own problems? Do you ever find yourself doing this?

Book details

Author:Rachel Cohn
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 12, 2010
Number of pages:320
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17
Read aloud:14
Read alone:14

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byjnnfrprtr November 21, 2010

Perfect for older kids, but not for tweens

I'm 15 years old. I got this book for free out of a summer reading program. While reading this book, I couldn't help asking myself, "Exactly what age level is this meant to be for?" There is a LOT of foul language, sexual behavior, and drug abuse throughout the entire book; however, it was a great read. The novel has a nice ending (which I won't tell you about (;) and there is a lot to learn. I DON'T recommend using this book for a book report in an English 2 Honors class because it's so hard to find literary devices without sexual remarks. Altogether, this book is a little sketchy for teens but good for 16-17+.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byBeliefs-Wonder May 1, 2010

Very. . cool name :)

I'm glad they put these problems out in the open for people can tell how wrong they really are. Although some teenagers sometimes feel that there's more of that stuff happening than they thought, so they feel as if they ain't alone and feel more confortable. Cuz when a teen as young as me, or as young as Very has sex, it won't turn out good for them. They'll be worried about being pregnat, what others would think, and they'd feel 'worse' about themselves than they did before, like they're sluts. But they just made bad decisions and need help, ( Note:if a girl or guy brags about 'having sex' at school, you can usually tell they didn't if they brag cuz then they would know exactly what it is and feel more embarresed. ) The author sure used her creativity on this one - i suppose. :) My sisters were a little like Very. . now I haven't a clue where they are, or what they're doing. I hate it when families get split like this, I use to have six siblings, I'm down to two. And none are fully related. I'm just saying I wish people would act more like they care, and hopefully not to give in to pure preasure, cuz it won't make them cool, or 'in' or 'tough' it will mean, and make them weak. Can we get out of this era now? Start acting like we're ALL family? It may seem gay to others, but that must mean they don't know what love is or is afraid of it. Believe me, if a guy or girl wants you to go to bed with them at such an age, even if you knew them for a long time, that is not love, thats cheap scandels. Be better than that, they ain't worth it. I'm just throwing that out to people. . . thanks for reading.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byNida Sundrani April 16, 2010
it kinda shows the present circumstances that people may see in their older siblings & will get their at a age so early awareness is much better
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models


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