My 8th grader has an assignment to read a book from a specific list. He is not comfortable reading books with a lot of swearing. I would appreciate any opinions you have on the following books: Friday Night Lights, by G Bissinger; My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult; Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexis; American Street, by Ibi Zoboi.

Oh gosh…this is the entire list? I’d be sending the teacher a note. These are appropriate for min 16+ IMO, some 18+. Here’s what you can expect in each:

  • Friday Night Lights: Lots of language and underage drinking. No sex.
  • My Sister’s Keeper: Strong language, sex, drugs, and suicide. Plus it’s a cancer book (ugh!)
  • Never Let Me Go: Not much language, but there is sexual content. Maybe chose this one, but read it together?
  • Part-Time Indian: Language, alcohol related violence, sexual content (primarily masturbation)
  • American Street: LOTS of strong language, drug use, some violence. No sex.

If I had to chose from this list, I’d probably pick Never Let Me Go because it’s the most tame concerning offensive language, but I’d read it together with my eighth grader and use it as a chance to talk about healthy sexual relationships.

Good luck!

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