Jenny asked:

This book is on my child's summer reading list. Can anyone tell me if there is any sexual content and any profanity in this book? Also, what age is this book appropriate for? Thank you.

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Linda C Haven't read the book yet but sorry, this is a question that simply sets my teeth on edge. If you want your child to be a reader, let them decide what they want to read. If you want a TV watcher or video game player, then by all means censor their reading material. A good reader can decide for him or herself, no matter the age.
Rebecca I am surprised by some of these negative responses. Maybe the book list is from school. Maybe this mother isn't directing or dictating what her child is reading. She was simply asking some responsible questions. I had 3 children and I could not read every book on all 3 of their book lists. And Linda C the statement that a "good reader can decide for him or herself , no matter the age" is simply not true. My 10-year old grandson who has a little crush on Anna Kendrick wanted to read "Scrappy Little Me" because it was by and about her. It was by no means appropriate for his age.
Miroslav Lysak If you are willing to spend time asking people if YOU should be okay with this book. Just go read it yourself.
Zach Betz I read this book in high school. It had all those things but not in a immature sense. This book was what made me fall in love with reading for myself.
Christi Lots of profanity and sexual content although it is not gratuitous, it really fits with the story. I would be more concerned about the violence of war. It is awful what people will do to each other.
Sue Dixon There is a lot of sexuality - and talk of it by the soldiers that though it is realistic of what would have happened in war times, it is very crude and more than I wanted to read about. And the violence was incredible. ** SPOILERS - people killing other people to make hamburger meat to sell to the starving people, cutting off the feet of a prostitute so she couldn't run away again, lining up and shooting prisoners who had thought they had been selected for better things than death. It was very graphic. If you want your "child" to be introduced to the realities of war, this will do it.
George It really depends on your maturity level. I am 13 and I read this book. In fact, my L.A. teacher recommended it to me. Books aren't a one size fits all deal.
Melanie No way is this child appropriate. Teen appropriate, yes, for an older teen.
Toni Daugherty There is so much violence in this book, but I think a mature high-schooler has probably read worse. I don't recall much sex, but I also think sex is a natural act, whereby killing and maiming is not. If your high schooler is 14 - probably too young for this book, but a Junior or Senior, probably okay. (Just one mom's opinion - U should get many)
Sharon I agree with Linda C. Don't censor what your child reads. If she/he can't handle it they will probably just put it down.
Andrea As per another comment - why don't you read it yourself and decide? By the way: it's worth it! And by now I am sure you have read it!
I loved every word, it's a wonderful story!
Aura Yes there is but I would not hesitate to recommend it to a mature high schooler.
Robert Considering this book is a fictional rendering, it does take from actual events during one of the worst times in the history of the world. As a result, one can expect violence. But it is not gratuitous or unnecessary. It is what people faced during WWII in Eastern Europe. Teens these days are exposed to such horror in the news, on the Internet, and even in their schools and neighborhoods daily.
Dayna Yes, there is a lot of violence and sex in this book. I agree with the others that a more mature high-school student would be able to handle this read.
Chrissa Kuntz My high school students read this and LOVE it. It is always in demand! It has great pacing, an interesting and not often told plot about WWII Russia, loveable characters, and -- yes -- sex, profanity, and violence. I would say that literature is preparation for real life, and I'd let anyone in high school read it. I loved it too!
Sasha C. I read this when I was 14, but I now realize at 21 that I missed most of the sexual innuendos. It didn't detract from the story though.
Debbie Small This book has explicit violence and horrifying scenes. This is far more disturbing to me than the discussions of sex, or bad language. The images that were conjured in my head of cannibalism and starvation in Leningrad are ones that will stay in my adult mind forever.
Joanna T I would not recommend this book for kids under 15. It has brutal imagery and adult content. This doesn't mean I don't give the book a good rating for adult readers, however. I just think it's not appropriate for younger readers. As a parent, read it first and gauge what you think your child is ready for in terms of inhumane treatment. This is a story about the terrible things people during wartime have to tolerate or feel they have to do to their fellow humans (And animals). Yes, there are redeeming qualities in the two major characters in terms of friendship and surviving hardship. But the story covers many brutal subjects...including the treatment of women.
Gina I found the sexuality very real and actually sweet. It would be good for a teen. The horrors of war bothered me much more. On the other hand, it is good for people to realize war is horrible. People who grew up in the 40s and 50s seem to like to glorify it. Part of it is that the war wasn't fought at home and we entered it near the end and became heroes. Much easier than the people who lived and died during the war in Europe.
Stephanie I don't think this book is listed, but if there are other books you are looking into for propriety's sake, can give you a good breakdown of content. They also review film and video games.
Afrim I wouldn't personally recommend this book to a child as in some instances it contains inappropriate content.
Michele Hayes I just finished this book. There is a ton of sex, language and violence. It is definitely for a mature reader. If I would have known, I would not have read it myself.
Agnieszka That book is about Leningrad. If you had history lessons, you know what is it about. Cannibalism, death, cruelty. It's hard lecture, but - in my opinion - it's worth it. War, hunger and despair is everyday life for some and past for others.
Siege of Leningrad was real. It's good to know for young person. Maybe not for ten or thirteen years old but older person should know something about it.
a failing author This is a novel that makes my top shelf. There are certainly some mature scenes: violence, some sex, torture and a bout of rape. It is not gratuitous, however, the scenes are certainly written well enough to burn a lasting impression. Its hard to follow this description up with a positive and lasting remark about the book; however, it is well-written, and quite a terrific story.
Judy Mahler If your child is high school age, can probably handle this book. A lot of sexual talk, probably not appropriate for middle school and younger. A sad book, but well written and insightful.
Diane Bollinger This important book contains sexual content and lots of profanity but the backdrop is the siege of Leningrad which was a very dark time in Russian history. Its historical importance trumps any such content and should be read to give us an understanding of war and suffering. However, you used the word "child". I wouldn't recommend it for a "child" but certainly for teens and older.
Dennis Raffaelli Yes
Senior high school
J. E. Hewitt It's set in war time, in occupied Russia. So yes obviously there are some very graphic scenes.
Cloe The main character of the book was a kid. Many characters in there were under 18. Think all the kids living during this time. And now we're asking if this book is kid appropriate. Kid appropriate or not, THIS was many people's childhood.
Vincent Reynolds First, I loved the book. Very well written with an amazing story. It is gritty with some very disturbing descriptions, but it was during the siege of Leningrad. I recommend you read it first.
Arlette this is an older question. Not knowing whether you read the book yet or not. I have an advanced 11 year old . There is no way no matter how mature , I would let her read this. The brutality is over the top. Although it nay be reality a child doesn't have to envision the horror of humanity at an early age. with the response to let children read whatever they want, my grand could read 3rd grade level in grade one. At 10 she read at grade seven level. There are things a child of 12 is ready for that a child of 10 isn't. Thank you for being a concerned adult, if the book isn't even listed as YA. There's no way I'm going to introduce it.
Melanie Griffin I would absolutely not have my child read it. It's incredibly, profoundly violent and graphic. Lots of sexual content, but for me the violence knocks it right off the list. I wouldn't let a child under 14 read it.
Karin Dominkovics I'm not sure how old your child is. I don't think there are explicit sex scenes. There was a violent scene that I found very disturbing but overall, I thought it was a great book.
Parrish If you go to Barnes & Noble's website, search the book and scroll down to the product details. There is usually a recommended age group there. Hope this helps anyone who may also be wondering this, whatever the book may be!
Jaska Jokunen I find this to be a valid question, but I would approach it differently. Sex, violence and profanity being ever present for the children, we are not able to shield them from it. I think the better approach would be (and, I hope, one that is taken by the instructor who put this on the summer reading list) is for the guardian to also read the book, so that they can discuss the book with the child, and to help the child to understand it in proper context.
Brittany Krueger its a book about war....
Marge I would suggest that only an older teen should read this book
John Cheeseman It has some of the worst insults i've ever heard, swear words I've almost never heard before and I absolutely loved this book but its not for the faint hearted.
Jill Middle school- no! High School- maybe. Certainly going into an AP English course. 17, 18yos can certainly handle it.
No one This book is well written. I am in high school. Depending on your child's maturity I would read it first before your child
Dori Kalish Yes there is sexual content and profanity. Also disturbing violence- it is war and the Einsatzgruppen were not known for restraint. Whether it is appropriate depends on the child but whoever put it on the reading list must have thought it was appropriate.
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