Parents' Guide to


By Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Funny coming-of-age tale of self-esteem issues and bullies.

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Scott Brown's debut novel is an honest, heartfelt coming-of-age tale about the growing pains of life, making it a must-read for teens. Like many stories about high school, the characters deal with self-esteem issues, bullies, online trolls, and relationship drama, but Brown manages to present them in a unique way. Will's sarcastic, self-deprecating humor provides many hilarious pop culture references and jokes -- The Hobbit, his Fiat, and two-inch shoe inserts to name a few -- that will make teens laugh out loud. And the comparisons he makes to the gorillas at the zoo and their social hierarchy are a powerful way for readers to understand how Will views himself before and after his growth spurt.

Will sometimes whines too much about how unfair his life is, but he ultimately learns that everyone has their own insecurities no matter how tall they are. As XL progresses, teens will understand that growing up means learning how to feel comfortable in your own skin, understanding that you might grow apart from your friends, and accepting that change is part of life.

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