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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Packed with educational facts about science, animals, math, spelling, poetry, presidential history, recycling, and more. Each of Charlotte's chapters begin with a piece of trivia that relates to her story. A vocabulary word is defined at the start of each day.
Courage, kindness, perseverance are important themes. Find the beauty in everyday situations. Spend as much time with your parents as you can and appreciate your family traditions. It's up to you to decide how to handle life's challenges and obstacles. It may take time, but you'll connect with people who make you feel like you belong and form true friendships.
Positive Role Models
Charlotte and Ben are incredibly smart kids interested in a variety of subjects including science, history, spelling, and more. Charlotte doesn't believe in changing herself for others, thinks you should be happy with who you are. Ben's perseverance, courage during school election will inspire kids to never give up. Magda and Wyatt are great friends to Charlotte and Ben. They show the main characters that friendships can be found in unlikely places.
Violence & Scariness
Ben is bullied at school. He gets tripped and pushed, and he wets his pants when the bullies purposely startle him at the beginning of his speech.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Girls talk about their crushes.
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Mild insults include "idiot," "dork," "nerd," and "loser." Kids insult a girl at school named Magda by calling her "Mad Magda."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that You Go First, by Newbery Medal winner Erin Entrada Kelly (Hello, Universe), is told by two kids in alternating chapters -- a 12-year-old girl in Pennsylvania and an 11-year-old boy in Louisiana -- over the course of a week. Although they live in different states, the kids bond over an online game of Scrabble and help each other deal with their family and friendship issues. Characters use mild insults including "idiot," "dork," "nerd," and "loser." Bullying is a large part of the book, but kids will learn about the importance of family and the power of friendship, courage, and perseverance.
Is It Any Good?
This is a sweet and hopeful tale of friendship, family, and perseverance. Author Erin Entrada Kelly creates relatable characters whose unique, memorable connection and heartfelt conversations perfectly capture the awkward, at times humiliating, aspects of middle school. Packed with tons of advice and an important life lesson from Robert Frost, You Go First shows kids that everything will be OK. Readers will root for Charlotte and Ben as they learn to step outside their comfort zone and understand that it only takes one person to make you feel like you belong.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate