The series provides quality, balanced, and accessible information on a very high interest topic. Each title discusses the topic from an historical and/or cultural context as well as discussing the practices from psychological and personal health points of view. The books include photos as well as many personal stories which personalize the factual information. The books are not didactic which students will appreciate, but provide pros and cons. The writing is conversational though the content and vocabulary makes it a high school selection. Titles include a further reading section, making them good for research as well as interest reading. For schools with “i-search” projects, this will be a great addition. Index.
—Sarah Applegate, NBCT Teacher Librarian, River Ridge High School, Lacey, Washington
These books are well written, well researched, and engaging. Reluctant readers will be drawn in by the snappy, funny sidebars and clear photos, which are gorgeous and, at times, gory. Some students will be intrigued and others will be repulsed by images of flesh-eating diseases. The authors take a largely nonjudgmental tone as they describe the reasons teens and adults permanently alter their bodies. This series is nothing if not surprising and refreshing, with each page packed with information that teens will want to repeat and share. For example, naval piercing became fashionable "as the bikini culture took root in the 1950s." Health discourages teens from body modification more than the others in the series, but it also makes an argument for the mental-health benefits some experience from body modification. Crammed with facts, anecdotes, and research studies, all of which are referenced, this set explores the complexity of a topic that might seem narrow at first glance.