Grace Meredith

Is this appropriate for middle school kids? My younger brother wants to read it... There's nothing explicit?

To answer questions about The Time Traveler's Wife, please sign up.
Shelli My opinion: I don't think this book is appropriate before high school (age 14-16, depending on maturity), for the following reasons:

1) It's written for adults (it is definitely not YA), which means it's long, uses pretty sophisticated language, and, given the time travel theme, has a labyrinthine plot. I would think the average middle schooler might find it too challenging to really fully follow and enjoy.

2) This book is very emotionally hard-hitting. I pretty much sobbed through the last 75 pages at age 45; I can see a tween girl being absolutely emotionally overwhelmed.

3) Most of all of the misgivings posted here revolve around sex. Argh! What about all the other "adult" topics one finds in books and movies that are not considered as traumatizing to children, but should be? Examples include cruelty, violence, dismemberment, death, miscarriage, drugs, mental illness. Now, I am not saying which of these appear so as to avoid spoilers, but several of them do,

5) And as for the sex, which I listed last not by accident or coincidence, but because it really should be the least of your worries about this book:

Look: Teenagers, if they are not already having sex, are at the very least thinking, talking, and obsessing about sex. Wouldn't you prefer they have a few non-gratuitous literary examples of couples who love and care for each other deeply to counterbalance what they're watching on PornTube?

That being said, there was one sex scene that squicked even me out, which is saying a LOT. (** MINOR SPOILER **) I was pretty disturbed by the two teenaged Henrys getting it on. I guess technically it would be, what? "Enhanced masturbation"? But it felt like incest, and it also felt unrealistic. (** END MINOR SPOILER **)

I hope adding another perspective is useful to others asking this question.
Alexi There are about 10 sex scenes, including forced sex acts and cheating. C-word is also there. My opinion, not for kids.
Haley Abbott I read this when I was 12 and absolutely loved it. It depends on the child's maturity level
Erica T I would definitely not let my middle schooler read it. It was a little too racy for me. Not appropriate for anyone under 18 in my opinion.
Charisma I have a 12.5 year old son. When I started a book, I thought he might like the time travelling part of it, but I soon realized that the scenes you're referring to wouldn't be appropriate for his age. I think I'll need to wait till he's at least 15-16 years old before I suggest it.
Zwanssens Don't think there's anything here worse than what most kids would be exposed to on tv or magazines by age 15 or so.
And it's not very likely any kid reading this wouldn't be mature enough to handle the so called "racy bits".
It's a modern, filosophical romance with a few honest descriptions of what lovers can do together, and people shouldn't be hypocritical about that.
Ilana Honestly, I think a middle school boy would probably be bored by it and unlikely to make it as far as any potentially racy bit. The few there are in the book are skimmed over quite quickly, though. It's pretty tame, for the most part.
Annie No. Definitely not for middle schoolers! What is wrong with you people who say it is?
Christina I wouldn't worry about the sex, but the message in this book is that women should sit at home and be chaste and understanding while it's okay for their husbands to sleep around, and that is not something I would want a teenage boy to read.
Trish No, just no. Others have described the sex scenes. My complaint is about the unnecessary violence in some scenes late in the story. Horrible.
Lisa I personally wouldn't let younger kids read it but I think like me, they'll be bored in a few chapters. I did persevere and read the whole thing though.
Denny Not my recommendation for anyone under 18, maybe 21.
Nicole I've been wondering the same thing. I read this a long time ago and the little boy who was at my side while I was reading it is now 13 and just finished 11/22/63 which he LOVED. (Actually I just realized that this book was right next to me on the day the picture I use here for a profile pic was taken!) Anyway, he is a very mature 13 but I don't remember how explicit some of the scenes were in the book....
Kathryn There are a few sex scenes but it does not go into too much detail with those. Hope this helps.
RShine Prime I have always been pleased that my parents never used this kind of reasoning with me. They let me read what I was interested in and did not judge "appropriateness" for me by any other measure.

So my answer is, do you know your brother? What else does he read and is it, as Shelli answered, of the same maturity level? What have both you and he enjoyed?

(By now he's probably graduated from college Grace, and the point is moot. LOL)
Catie Currie I know it's been said before, but nooooo, not for kids! It's very explicit and has copious amounts of bad language
Jana No, this is adult fiction.
Kingston Lor haha i read it in year 9, when i was 14, i never got into reading until i read this book, haha what caught my attention was the romance and sex scenes, interactions between a young teenager girl with a middle-aged man.
Arkady I have just finished it and there is one particular sex scene I have in mind, in which the author describes quite some stuff: nipple licking, pussy eating, penetration... It is the strongest scene in the book I think, but not the only one with cock references or such.

Being said that, you can decide the age at which your child could read it.
jamesjohn jamesjohn Two passages of very explicit sex. Otherwise, a few others with detailed allusions, as well as a few mentions of violence. This is adult stuff... but... Ms. Niffenegger teaches a whole lot about healthy human relationships, as well as how to masterfully tell a story.
Carol Leigh I would not recommend this for middle-schoolers. Frankly, I would only suggest this for more mature readers, for a number of reasons; she Shelli below
L. McCoy I would say it’s more high school appropriate.
Main things to know about regarding explicit content are sex and strong language.
Abunihal Osman is there a film About this book
Sam Ogren I say let em read it! Though it definitely explores some adult themes,

A) seriously doubt it comes close to what most middle schoolers are likely being exposed to on a regular basis on the internet these days, and

B) when it comes to young, burgeoning readers, the thing is to help them foster A LOVE OF READING. in my observation, this is best achieved by allowing developing personalities to pursue whatever directions their passions take them. finally,

C) most middle school boys I've known generally love a good pursuit of the prohibited. if he really wants to read it, he probably will anyway. and the truth is, this is a beautiful story with a principled protagonist. slapping a "do not enter" sign on the book will just have him looking for whatever parts you're most hoping he will avoid
Stephen Dawson It partly depends on what you mean by "middle school kids" - the age range for "middle school" varies hugely around the world. My middle school was for ages 9 to 13, and while the book is ok for many 13-year-olds, it's probably not for 9-year-olds.
Madi Pk There are a few questionable scenes but the author never goes into too much detail. It depends on maturity level.
Image for The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger (Goodreads Author)
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more