Suzanne Strack

Is this book appropriate for my 12 year-old? Is there any bad language? Is there any sex? Thank you.

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Rob There is a little bit of bad language, and no sex that I can recall, but this is not at all appropriate for a 12 year old unless that kid is *extremely* mature. And I don't mean "all the other parents compliment my Johnny on how grown up he is" mature. I mean he could be mistaken for an adult if he was communicating with someone via text.

Really though, your question makes me think this would be a good book for you. A large chunk of it is devoted to looking at the really problematic ways parents approach the fiction their kids consume. I think you might find the relationships of the book enlightening, especially if your primary concern is whether or not the book has naughty words in it.
Claudia Putnam No. Not appropriate for a 12-yr-old, but a great work of literature. Read it yourself and see.
Susan I only just started it, but so far there isn't any. Ready Player One would be a great book for a mature teen who likes video games. However, it is an adult book and I think it has some language in it.
LaRaie As another commenter said, this book won the Alex Award.
"The Alex Awards are given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The winning titles are selected from the previous year's publishing. The Alex Awards were first given annually beginning in 1998 and became an official ALA award in 2002."
Like all books, it won't be appropriate for everyone, regardless of age.
Sarah It depends on whether or not you want to be censoring your children's reading, for one, and secondly, if you want to make your child's reading decisions based on *your* tastes. I'd encourage you to avoid this behaviour, regardless of the book. What you might like and approve of might not entice your child. What if a more mature book, possibly one with sexy bits or bad language, got your child reading more, improving their language, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills? What if it opened up their mind to the world around them? 12 is considered YA, the "A" standing for "adult." YA novels deal with bad language and sex because young adults encounter these things, at least peripherally, in their everyday lives. They want to read about this stuff. Many 12-year-olds are old enough to be reading adult books; certainly many have the reading abilities to do so. Reading is a private thing. If your child needs help picking out books, that's one thing. If you're doing this because you want to keep an eye on what your kid's reading, that's something else entirely.
Matthew Desmond I'm all for exposing children to "mature" art, and I think this is a terrific little novel. I think 12 is too young, though. There's no graphic sex, and minimal swearing, but the subject matter is DARK. I can't imagine a twelve-year-old getting through it, anyway. It's slow, oblique, and very sad, and the plot is minimal. A bright sixteen year old might really relate to it, and if it made them listen to the Mountain Goats that would be a great victory for humanity. But 12? No. Not unless he/she is a very depressed super-genius.
Ruth I would not want my 12-year-old to read this book. It's too sad for him. The violence is much too real. There is some bad language in one scene, but I don't mind my son reading those words. I had him read The Martian, which started with a bunch of f-bombs, and I think that was fine. It's the horror of the protagonist's situation in Wolf in White Van and the lack of resolution that I think might give him nightmares.
Robbi C Interesting. I have not yet read the book but I have read through these responses and it seems that everyone says it would not be appropriate for a 12-year-old. Again, I haven't read it myself so I can't say for sure but I was surprised because it just won an Alex Award which is, "...given to ten books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18. The award is administered by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association." Just wanted to share that info with you as well, in case it helps any in making your decision.
Eric Agree with other commenters. It's not about sex or bad language - I don't think there is either, really - but it addresses violence very, very complexly. You should read it first to confirm (it's fairly quick), but I would strongly recommend he/she not read it at that age, it's just too complex.

Also agree with the recommendation of "Ready, Player One". A great book for 12, without pandering or dumbing down.
Linkin Park I'm twelve and so far it's great. However, It does contain many uses of F*ck, Sh*t, and other such curse words. And for sex, so far there has been only very little. But I'm not done so I'm not the best person to judge.
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by John Darnielle (Goodreads Author)
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