Cover Image: Answers in the Pages

Answers in the Pages

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This is a fantastic Middle School read about book banning which is so relevant in libraries now a days. It is timely, thought provoking and allows for many differing views
Was this review helpful?
I love the way this book puts interpretation and understanding at the forefront as the issue in today's book banning efforts. The teacher has a very key speech towards the end of the book that I think should be used at every book challenge and board meeting. It's the perfect clapback to the book banning efforts happening now.
Was this review helpful?
Wow! A marvelous, timely middle-grade novel about book banning in public school. Eerily similar to recent headlines, although handled with tact and grace. The central dilemma is an adventure novel taught to 5th graders. A mom reads the last sentence of the book which has a male kid expressing "love" for another male kid. She interprets the characters as gay and leads the town into a frenzy over what is "appropriate" to be taught to children.
Was this review helpful?
I read this book in one very enjoyable sitting. As a librarian in a county that has been plagued by book challenges, I found this to be a realistic take on how students view the material and how the parents react. Accurate, factual, and all too timely look at book banning by one of my all-time favorite authors who is uniquely familiar with the topic.
Was this review helpful?
What a wonderful novel! At one point, about three-quarters through, I found myself actually whimpering aloud because it was so lovely, and I had to put the book down and recover a little bit from its emotional beauty before I could pick it back up and finish. (Yes, I'm an overly dramatic reader.)

I promptly fired off an email to my colleague who teaches sixth-grade English, because I think this would be such an important and worthwhile novel to read with students. And I double-checked to make sure that my school library had a copy as well.

By this point, we're all used to alternating POV chapters (and in fact I'm rather tired of this device), but even so I at first found the structure of the novel a bit confusing and had to go back to the beginning at one point to make sure I had the characters all clear in my head. But it all comes together so wonderfully and unexpectedly at the end that I regretted every mild thought I'd had along the way that the structure could have been simpler without sacrificing anything important. I was wrong, and David Levithan was absolutely right.

<i>“'You can’t have adventures without freedom,’ Melody pointed out. ‘And you can’t have freedom if you’re not willing to defend it from the people who want to take it away’” (Ch. 5)</i>

My thanks to NetGalley for providing me a copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
There are many reasons, Answers in the Pages by David Levithan, is a book to read.  The themes of the book: be courageous, stand up for what is right, and accept differences, are all powerful.   The main character of Donovan is an interesting character as he tries to balance what he knows his mother thinks, with what he thinks and how to move forward.  

The book is timely as there are many people who want and are working toward banning books. One of the central themes of the story is whether a book called ‘The Adventurers’ should be banned.  As the book continues the three distinct storylines begin to move together. 

There are three storylines that weave around each other. One storyline is about Donovan and the book he left on the counter that has his mother up in arms.  Another storyline revolves around the adventures of three students chasing down an evil character before he can do more damage.  The last storyline revolves around two friends and how they found their lives changed because of the other.  

This is a fantastic Middle School read.  It is timely, thought provoking and allows for many differing views.  Answers in the Pages by David Levithan is a book to read!
Was this review helpful?
A bold timely novel is right! What a great book. I love the connection of the 3 stories at the end and the discourse. I also love how Donovan and his mom treated each other even though they did not agree.
Was this review helpful?
As an adult, in this year, I needed to read this story. I'm not sure if kids will feel the same way?  I liked the suspense of figuring out who Roberto and Gideon were in the grand scheme of the story. I like how they intertwined them, but I'm not going to lie, I was mixing up which character was in which story. And I wasn't interested in the book they were reading, I wish it would have been mentioned less.
Was this review helpful?
I appreciate the simplicity of this book. The plot is easy to follow as is the messaging. It's short and sparse and normally I'd offer that as criticism but in this case it works in the book's favor. It's unadorned and gives us space to apply our own thoughts and context to the events, to consider our own baggage and relate to the characters. In a world where book banning is a hot topic, this brief foray into the conversation is worth a look.
Was this review helpful?
Three stories in one: the past, the present, a novel.  Although it was easy to keep each story straight, there was a bit of mystery how one story was going to connect or relate to the other two.
Was this review helpful?
As a librarian and a queer person, this book stirred up a lot of feels. At first I was wondering how this complex issue would play out in a middle grades novel, and I'm happy to say that it absolutely excels! It does a fantastic job of getting into all the facets surrounding a book challenge with viewpoints from students, the teacher, administration, parents, community members, and the author. All of this is told in a riveting story line from Donovan's point of view, the boy whose mother starts the book challenge. As someone who can relate a lot to Donovan's situation, I thought the story was handled with care and love, while giving Donovan the chance to stand up for himself and the book that he and his class loves. The two other stories are cleverly woven with Donovan's - first are the chapters from the book that's being challenged, which show insight into the relationship between Oliver and Rick, the book's protagonists; second is the young love story between Roberto and Gideon. The way the stories come together at the end made me so happy! I think this book would be an excellent addition to any collection and it's a great entry point to discussing book challenges.
Was this review helpful?
This book brilliantly illustrates issues that are currently facing students in the U.S. The way that all of the characters are portrayed was perfect and I think that the thoughts and ideas presented in this book will help a lot of young people sort through their feelings about acceptance, love, standing up for yourself in the face of injustice. I recommend this book to any middle grade parent or student that is seeking a student perspective on LGBT issues in libraries and schools.
Was this review helpful?
A timely narrative, this book reminds us that book challenges are usually done as a form of control by parents, most of whom don’t read the book, and takes advantage of the line of communication between teachers and parents when their goals for children are the same: to teach empathy and communication.
Was this review helpful?
This is (sadly) a timely story about book-banning in this country, and the people who are most hurt by it—the very readers parents purport to protect. While Levithan's story offers a hopeful, common-sense-prevails ending, extremists in this country have set up websites specifically challenging masses of books with cookie-cutter letters that require little more than choosing a title and posting it to your school, town, etc., never mind actually reading the book. Needless to say, those challenges are not the result of a caring parent's worry about a vulnerable child—and would hardly make for a fun middle-grade novel.

Here, Levithan brings depth to the story, with a compelling plot, multiple points of view, and a balanced argument that goes out of its way to present all points of view. He stresses that even the villains here started from a place of caring, before they went off on their misguided way. In Levithan's deft prose, Mr. Howe, the teacher who assigned the book in question, offers an elegant, impassioned argument to the school board, parents, and community at large, 

"There is nothing inappropriate about being gay or lesbian or bisexual or transgender or nonbinary or questioning or any other identity within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. There is nothing sinful about it. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing about being queer that deserves censorship rather than expression. Nothing. This should not be a matter of debate, because a person's humanity should never be a matter of debate. Instead, it is a matter of the highest principle we can aspire, which is equality.

I know that if you've spent your lives being told an identity is wrong, sinful, or inappropriate, it's hard to wrap your mind around the fact that everything you've been told is bigotry."

Write that down, everyone, and remember it.
Was this review helpful?
David Levithan is my favorite author. In this timely middle grade novel, Levithan takes on censorship and book bans. There are 3 distinctive plots that come together in a beautiful tear shedding moment. "Answers in the Pages" is another brilliant book I'll proudly add to my bookshelf.
Was this review helpful?
A must purchase for middle grade readers.  The strength of this story is its heart.  Donovan, Mr. Howe, Gideon, and Roberto drive the story with their kindness, authenticity, and relatability.  Donovan's mother was a welcome antagonist for this type of story who doesn't have a complete change of heart, but shows readers shades of grey in humanity.  I found myself speed reading though some of the "Adventurers" chapters to get back to the main stories.
Was this review helpful?
Donovan may not be excited to read the next assigned book from his teacher, but he certainly didn't expect it to create an uproar in the town. When his mother borrows his book and then schedules a meeting with Donovan's principal, he knows something is up. As the parents start talking, their kids start hearing about how Donovan's mom thinks their class book is inappropriate. 

There are so many timely elements of this book that I really loved. The incorporation of an official book challenge and the procedure that is followed, the divisiveness in the town, the kids not thinking anything is wrong with the book some parents are upset about. I also especially loved the incorporation of other gay characters and the discussion about how it doesn't matter if the characters in the book are gay. I know that many dissenters will struggle with the kids reading the book despite their parents' wishes. I felt like the three storylines got confusing to follow at times, although it all made sense by the end. I also felt like Donovan's mom was given a positive ending that I don't feel has been realistic in the similar situations I've seen.
Was this review helpful?
What a timely book.

This book features a protest against a book that may or may not contain gay characters. Sound familiar? 

I loved this book and the way the author wove together those protesting the book and those working for it. David Levithan tells a great tale.

As a middle school teacher, I think kids would love this book for the action and the underlying themes.
Was this review helpful?
Really fun middle grade about the effects of minor homophobia and "helicopter parents". Story was super quick to read and had me gripped the entire time. I absolutely loved the representations of multiple LGBTQIA+ characters
Was this review helpful?
I loved this middle grades book. So much so that I read it in one sitting. The writing is fabulous and the characters are relatable, especially for students who may need to learn that it's ok to stand up for what you believe. I will definitely recommend this book to my students in the fall as it will spark some great conversations about censorship. Thank you netgalley for this ARC.
Was this review helpful?