Book Review: How it ends

by Melissa on February 17, 2010 · 0 comments

in 14-17, Family & Relationships, Romance, School Life, Social Issues

Title: How it ends
Publisher: MTV
Author:Laura Wiess
Lexile: [?] TBD
ATOS Level: [?] TBD
Parent Rating:
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Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
PAUSE For Ages: 14-17


All Hanna’s wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She’s gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him — but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be. Bewildered by Seth’s treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school’s community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she’s turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was. Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audiobook the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice, and devotion. Hanna’s fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without her even realizing it, the story begins to change her.


Complex social issues abound.  Got a ‘pause’ due to the mature sexual content and the slew of social issues to talk to your teen about.  Not recommended for under 15 or 16.


Level 1, 2, 3 [?]

Sexual Content

Girl doesn’t want to kiss a boy, but gives him a ‘mercy kiss’. Girl wonders if kissing a boy before she’s going out with him would make her an ‘affair girl, almost like a slut’.  Boy looks at a girls chest, she calls him a ‘perv’ teasingly.  ‘Keep it in your pants…she’s jailbait.’ Pretty heavy make-out session, petting with details. ‘Making out in lust is great, making out in love is stellar.’ Teen boy considers smear of tanning oil on his wall a trophy of sorts from the ‘first time he did her standing up’. Hanna has sex with her boyfriend, he doesn’t use a condom, instead, ‘pulling out’ and she was very anxious that she might be pregnant and takes two pregnancy tests at school.


A teen smokes (brand name mention of Marlboros). Teen smokes weed in his car at school. Friend gets high off the smoke. Teens go to a keg party, drink beer, blackberry brandy.  Teen drinks vodka at home with a parent home.


Sandwich shop girl works at is robbed and she is beat up by the robber.  Very scary. Details of animal preservation.


Teen thinks her jeans make her look fat.  In the process of the story, we watch Hanna’s neighbor deteriorate from Parkinson’s disease.  It is a very detailed description from both Hanna’s and the woman’s perspective.  Foster parents are abusive and sexually exploitive of a teen girl. Stories told of soldiers ‘degrading women’ while their families were forced to watch at gunpoint just after WWII. Woman with Parkinson’s wishes she had collected lethal doses of drugs to kill herself. Eventually, her husband kills her and then commits suicide to end her suffering.


Use of ‘God’ as exclamation.

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