Parents' Guide to

Would You

By Stephanie Dunnewind, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Poignant story about a car accident's aftermath.

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What you will—and won't—find in this book.

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Is It Any Good?

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Kids say (4):

It's easy to be deceived by this slim novel, either by appearance (a light read, divided by subtitles into brief vignettes) or by subject (a depressing story about death). It is, in fact, neither light nor depressing, but heartbreakingly realistic, with devastating insight into how one teen endures a tragedy. Eleventh-grader Natalie and her friends are believable teens, with true-to-life dialog and situations (as Natalie notes about her friend, who works at their hang-out restaurant, "It bites to wait on your friends.").

The author never veers into saccharine or falls for easy solutions. She finds exactly the right note even at the end, which isn't happy or sad: It just is what it is. "If you stick a hopeful ending on there, it'll be a total lie," Natalie says. There's no message about drunk or irresponsible driving; it's a pure accident on all accounts, despite the family's wish for someone to blame. Natalie's engaging narration (the private room at the hospital is "really just the Bad Effing News Room") helps her -- and the readers -- bear the unbearable. As she tells her comatose sister, "Even fathers break. It started with you, Claire, the one broken person. But there is never only one broken person."

Book Details

  • Author: Marthe Jocelyn
  • Genre: Family Life
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Publication date: July 8, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 14
  • Number of pages: 176
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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