Cover Image: Answers in the Pages

Answers in the Pages

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Member Reviews

I just really love David Levithan. The way he writes really gets under your skin and makes you feel alongside the characters, and this was no exception. An excellent addition to any library or collection.
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Answers in the Pages was an excellent book that kept me thinking long after I finished it. I loved the conflict the main character faced. I hope to read more by this author.
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Answers in the Pages is a timely and thoughtful look at the book banning fad in America today. David Levithan has written a middle grade book from the perspective of a child whose mother challenges a book. He makes the issues incredibly simple, easy to understand, and heartfelt.

In this short and sweet book, a few stories are told that interconnect to the main theme of why books get challenged by parents. The first perspective is Donovan, who unwittingly leaves his latest class novel on the counter only for his mother to read a sentence and start a campaign against it. Then there are the chapters from the offending book, The Adventurers, that feature two male leads getting into all kinds of shenanigans. And then there is the story of Gideon and Roberto, who get paired up together for a class project and find themselves drawn together. 

This is a beautiful book about identity, literature. and standing up for what is right-- even if you are only in 5th grade.
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This story focuses on the notion of parents over-thinking what their children and how it often leads to over-reaction. In this story, Donovan's class has been assigned a book and his mother happens to look at it when he left it on the kitchen counter. He hadn't even been past the first chapter, but his mother flipped to the end, read something out of context, and freaked out. Donovan sees the book as "just an adventure novel about two characters trying to stop an evil genius," but his mom is convinced the main characters are gay and that the book needs to be banned. As the synopsis of the book says, "Donovan doesn't really know if the two boys fall in love at the end or not—but he does know this: even if they do, it shouldn't matter. The book should not be banned from school. Interweaving three connected storylines, David Levithan delivers a bold, fun, and timely story about taking action (whether it's against book censors or deadly alligators...), being brave, and standing up for what's right." Takes the fictional notion of book challenges a step farther by actually addressing the gay elephant in the room. I think his notion of how the kids respond to the novel is pretty accurate. Check this one out!
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A middle grade book about parents wanting to ban a book in their 5th graders English class because the 2 boys in the book may be in love.  But they may just be friends.  And a book challenge ensues.

The conversations amongst the kids in the class are the best.  They, like IRL 5th graders, know so much more than grownups want to acknowledge.  Humans are who they are, you can't make or unmake anybody gay.  And by banning such books you say it's not ok to the gay students, teachers, parents to be who they are.  Kudos for telling an important story.

Oh and it's by David Levithan so read it!
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I LOVED this book. I loved how it blended three different stories together. I loved the amount of representation. And I especially loved the messages found in the book. Censorship and book banning have always been a thing, but it is especially prevalent right now. I think this book and this author did a great job of explaining the issues and dangers of censorship and banning. The characters themselves got me right in the feels. My librarian heart was bursting with joy for this book. Highly recommend to anyone and everyone.
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Gentle, heartwarming, and beautiful!  Characters and language come together perfectly to create perfect backdrop for the battle for intellectual freedom in middle schools.  The somewhat surprising finish feels like a giant hug.
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Censorship is hot right now and this book is a good stepping off point for early adolescents.  Will it be challenged... more then likely so.  Is it worth reading? Absolutely yes.  Will kids want to read it because of the potential ban? Again, absolutely yes!  The question of how parents should behave is central in the is book, but the underlying questions the kids have keep the readers interested.
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Oh how I love this book! It has three different storylines, and they all come together throughout the novel. This is a timely with all of the current movements to ban books. I appreciate that Levithan has used a delicate manner in addressing issues in the book: particularly between parent and child when they disagree. This is a wonderful addition to our school library collection.
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A fantastic, current middle-grade book about the banning of books in public schools. Uncannily reminiscent of recent headlines, yet handled with class and grace. An adventure novel that is taught to fifth graders contains the main conflict. A mother reads the book's final phrase, in which a boy professes his "love" for another boy. The town becomes enraged over what is "acceptable" to teach youngsters as she views the characters as gay.

Levithan clearly opposes book bans, especially when they are prompted by the slightest mention of a potentially gay character, but he also portrays the angry mother as kind, if wrong. I believe it's critical that he supports the procedures in place for handling difficult course material. Yes, challenges can occasionally be absurd and even driven by racism or homophobia, but not always. There have been occasions where students were taught in the classroom how Trump won the 2020 election, for instance. It won't be long before a teacher makes Mike Lindell's political ideas obligatory reading. There is no question that parents have the right to express concerns, and those issues should be addressed just as they are in this book. After both parties had an opportunity to speak, and after a school committee was given the final word. 

Some key takeaways from this book include: Even when your parents behave irrationally, remember that their actions are motivated by a sincere love and concern for your welfare. Your ability to make independent decisions is crucial because sometimes your parents will be wrong. Speaking openly about significant issues is preferable to censorship. It serves as a helpful reminder to parents that their kids may have a much greater awareness of the world than they do. Speak with them. Don't let your personal baggage impede the advancement of the current generation, either.

This book is great for adults and young readers alike because there is so much to learn from it. It is challenging to think of a more sincere and objective analysis of this subject. Even better, there isn't any political squabbling fueled by an election year. With David Levithan, you can never go wrong, and this is right up there with his finest work.
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I the beginning, the formatting of this novel was confusing. Having three different storylines all progressing simultaneously was hard to follow. However, as I continued to read, I really enjoyed following each story. By the end, I was completely in love with this novel. Book banning is such a relevant topic right now, and to have the book in question as a part of the story was such a unique touch. Then having the present time and the past converge was amazing as well. I loved how the LGBTQ+ aspect was handled with such care that made this book appropriate for middle school students without question. Answers In The Pages was such a joy to read and I am definitely purchasing for my library.
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This was a wonderful book. The characters are all likeable. Chapters alternate between three storylines that tell an important story. Unfortunately, books are being and challenged and removed in the United States frequently right now. Like in the book the complaints often come from adults who have not read the book. This book is great to stir conversations on this topic. Read it with your children or with your students.
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This was so, so good. A truly life-changing book! i am sure this will be the topic at many book club discussions.
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I loved this short novel. It follows fifth graders as they’re assigned a book to read that some parents challenge. The story they’re assigned is told throughout this novel in alternating chapters, and the characters develop alongside it’s telling. This nods toward the acceptance of LGBTQA individuals as well as the challenges people may be faced with. It’s heartwarming and a cute telling. Definitely unique.
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David Levithan is just brilliant. This book is so well-timed, so well-written, and aimed so directly at the heart. In the current disgusting climate of attacking children’s and YA books that include inkling of queer content comes a book about a parent who decides to do that and how it affects her child and the community around her.

Roberto and Gideon are just precious and desperately remind me of my tween years. And I would have LOVED the book they were assigned to read in class. The alternating chapters didn’t bother me at all. I normally have a difficult time reading books like it, but this was perfect.
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There are some sweet elements to this book, but overall I don’t feel that the story comes together well. Three narratives rotate, with “The Adventurers” narrative being entirely unnecessary. Also, while 5th graders are definitely aware of and curious about romantic relationships, they are solidly in the ambivalent curious-but-grossed-out stage. This is not how the children in this novel are portrayed, making me wonder who this book is for. The topics presented are timely and likely will serve as needed conversation starters. But I don’t think the portrayals are authentic enough to be around long.
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Another wonderful David Levithan story! I will be purchasing multiple copies of this book for the library.
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5th grader Gideon left his new class novel on the table while he played video games.  His mother picked it up and read just the ending.  She didn't like something about the main characters, Oliver and Rick. She took the book away from Gideon and started an official book challenge.  Gideon is so embarrassed, plus, he didn't get a chance to read the book so he has no idea what his mother's concern is - - and, it's not just his mom, several people in the community are jumping on board the challenge.  When a classmate comes out at school, Gideon learns that the challenge is because his mom thinks the characters in the book are gay. Why should his mom be so worried about this? Gideon thinks he knows - Gideon likes his friend Roberto, and Roberto likes him back.	

Levithan's story about a book challenge is timely, accurate, and realistic.  There are so many quotable passages, and I would love to see this used as a class novel. Gideon and Roberto have a sweet relationship that grows, including some kissing.  The reader also gets glimpses of the challenged book, so there's an additional storyline, but saying that it is an adventure is enough.  Perfectly appropriate for upper elementary.
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Thank you Netgalley for this ARC of Answers in the Pages by David Levithan.

Well isn't this APROPOS DURING A TIME LIKE THIS.

Ugh, I'm in such a bad mood right now as my kid's school district are pulling books off the shelf, left and right, scared of putting real life content in the hands of students.  Are we seriously banning books again.

ANYWAY, I bring that up, because that is the very premise of this particular read.  When one line at the end of a popular classroom read raises the eyebrows of a few parents, soon the whole town is questioning whether or not the book should be in the school. But all this one line implies is that the two male main characters might be gay.  And is that really the stuff that needs to be shared in school?

Donovan, a student in the class, and son of one of those "up in arms" parents doesn't know what to do.  He loves the book, and how could gay protagonists be a bad thing for him and his fellow students.  Especially when the rest of the book is nothing more than an adventure, full of the fight of good over evil.  

Through multiple stories, we watch a town resolve a tale as old as time.  Do we ban these books or not?  And what are the repercussions of either choice?

As much as I hate this topic, it's an important one.  I appreciated how thoughtful the author was in humanizing the characters and carefully explaining the harms and dangers of the erasure of entire communities of people, especially young people.  I honestly believe, despite, or hopefully because of your religion or political beliefs, we can eventually become less afraid to teach our kids about what a beautifully diverse world we live in.
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Thank you, NetGalley, for an e-ARC of Answers in the Pages by David Levithan.
David Levithan combines three stories into one complete novel, blending them seamlessly together. The main plot deals with censorship and book banning in the classroom. A timely novel that shows how interpretation is subject to each reader's ideals. Well written, well organized, and well thought out!
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