Reading with my Tween: A review of Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick


I tend to read the books that my stepdaughter brings in from school. Sometimes it’s out of boredom but most of the time it is out of curiosity. I want to know what she is being exposed to. I had previously read the first book in this series and I wasn’t impressed so I never picked up the second or third books. As a reader, I found the plot mildly interesting…not original and predictable but not boring.

I am not a fan of this author’s writing style. There are some moments in the novel that I like…some decent description. Mostly, the author writes in a conversational tone that sometimes defies the art of writing itself. As a reader, I like Patch’s character. I think that he is the only character that Fitzpatrick cared to develop. The other characters are boring and often betray their own developments.

As I was reading the book, I often cringed that my 11 year old stepdaughter was reading it. I want to state that I am not, by any means, a conservative parent. My stepdaughter and I have a very open relationships and she comes to me when she has questions about ‘adult topics’. Here are the problems I have with the book, as a parent:

1. The relationships in the book are completely unstable.

This goes for ALL the relationships in the book. Nora hates her mom, is hateful to her best friend, glorifies her rivalry with Marcie and partakes in borderline abusive relationship with men.

2. Too many scenes in the novel glorify “lust”, rather than love.

The story is branded as a love story but it is really about lust. I can handle books that talk about cute guys and involve kissing and such but this book goes too far. There is one scene where Patch comes into Nora’s dream and it describes a very physical make-out session where “he puts his hand up her shirt and touches her back” and she returns by “wrapping her legs around his waist”. Another notable instance of this is between Rixon and Vee when Vee is describing a make-out session between the two and states “he seemed really into it so I was too”. This type of behavior is repeated throughout the story and although I have to commend the author for including talk of condoms (at least she’s advocating safe sex), I don’t like the idea of my stepdaughter thinking this is acceptable teenage behavior. Furthermore, there is a great lack of explanation of feelings as it regards to love so the reader is led to believe that the attraction between Nora and Patch is more physical than emotional…again NOT what I want my 11 year old to think of as “love”.

3. FULL of teenage rebellion

Nora, whose mom is absent for most of the story, tends to break all rules and boundaries by going to bars, staying out all the time, vandalism, ect. I’m not delusional about teenage rebellion: it hasn’t been long since I was there myself. Of course, I would like to channel the natural teenage rebellion into more constructive means (activism), but I am aware that pretty soon, my stepdaughter will find herself in a fair share of “trouble”. That being said, I don’t want my stepdaughter to receive so many tips about how to do it without getting caught.

Overall, the book is a decent read. It is a young adult fiction book, so I can overlook the childish writing style. So if you are an adult and you enjoy this type of fiction then you might be interested in reading this book.

If you are a parent of a child who is reading this book, be aware of the themes that are in the book. You know how impressionable your child is and if you don’t want him/her to be exposed to these themes, proceed with caution. I am not saying don’t let your kids read this book, it can be harmless. What I did, instead of telling my step-daughter that she couldn’t read it (I don’t believe in banning books), I talked to her about the things in the book that concerned me. I let her know that some of this behavior is dangerous and explained to her the trouble that it could lead to.

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