Cover Image: Answers in the Pages

Answers in the Pages

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Member Reviews

As the book seems to be three story lines I liked the main story line. I feel that the morale of the story is that we should not be so quick to label things or fear things we not understand. I also appreciated the parts about how reading about gay people will turn someone gay. Gay people exist and are not going away.
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David Levithan does it again!  I found this read fast paced, heart breaking, and beautifully poignant.  A stunning story from start to finish.
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I absolutely loved this book!  It was a very well written middle grade novel.  Donovon's class is reading a novel called "The Adventurers".  He leaves his copy on the kitchen counter and his mom picks it up and skims through it.  Next thing he knows, his mom is leading a crusade to have the book banned from the curriculum.  Donovon has no idea why.  It turns out that his mom, and the other parents working to have the book removed, are upset because they feel that two of the main characters are gay and in love.  Meanwhile Mr. Howe, Donovon's 5th grade teacher, is gay and is happily married.  Curtis, a student in Donovon's class comes out as gay.  Another student in the class has two moms.  So, Donovon isn't sure how reading a book with possibly gay characters is a big deal.

There is another story that is being told simultaneously in the book about a boy named Gideon and his feelings toward a new classmate, Roberto.  The two stories wind together beautifully and make the book that much more powerful.

This novel fits what is happening in the world today with parents fighting against books in schools for various reasons.  I would recommend this to upper elementary and middle school students, along with teens and adults who are interested in the topics addressed.

Thank you to #NetGalley for an ARC of #AnswersinthePages by #DavidLevithan.  5 stars
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Standing up for what you believe even if it goes against your own mom. Book challenges. Discovering who you are. Short read, absolutely perfect for 5th grade!
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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the electronic ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I requested this book because of its cute cover and because I have really enjoyed David Levithan’s books in the past. The description made it sound particularly timely, as more and more wonderful books are finding themselves on “challenged” lists.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first—the book within a book was an “adventure” book, not a genre of which I am especially fond. But then I began to understand what was going on. There are three stories within this book (which I somehow missed in the description).  There is the story in the book, which mentions how a boy feels about another boy, resulting in one mother leading other parents in challenging the book, on the assumption that the boys are gay. There is the son of the woman spearheading the challenge and how he handles the situation. And then there is the story of two boys, one of whom really likes turtles, and their relationship. If you’re like me, and didn’t read the blurb carefully, you may not figure out how that story connects to the other two until the end—and I’m kind of glad it worked that way for me, because it was REALLY cool when it all came together!!

Quick! Don’t read the book jacket—just read this book! It’s about books, and standing up for them, and a really cool teacher…and love!
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**Thank you to NetGalley, author David Levithan, and Random House Children's, Knopf Books for Young Readers for the eARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**

I love discussing censorship and banned books, so when I saw this book coming out, I was super excited. I was really hoping to love it, and I did enjoy the premise of it, but I just felt like there were too many stories packed into too few pages. 

We read about the story of Donovan and his fifth-grade class who were defending the book The Adventurers because Donovan’s mother wanted to pull it from the classroom; we read about the story of Gideon and Roberto as they navigated new schools, new friendships, and new feelings; and we read some of the chapters from The Adventurers, going on crazy and dangerous missions. If the book was longer, I think this tri-perspective could have worked, but because the book was only 180 pages, I did not feel like I could fully immerse myself in any one story nor make connections with the characters. As an adult reading this book, I think that if I struggled to keep tabs on each storyline, a young reader might struggle with the same. 

This book is very timely and important to current-event conversations we are having in the United States right now, I just wish it picked one story to elaborate on and invest in.
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"But even if you pll all the queer books from our class, even if you could manage to somehow pull all the queer book from this town, I guarantee you, you will not stop us from being who we are. The worst damage you can do is to make the more vulnerable of us feel bad about it. But you cannot hold back the ocean. The ocean will not be contained in such a way." 

When Donovan's mother finds a copy of The Adventures, the book assigned to his fifth-grade class, and reads the ending, she is upset by what she finds. In a matter of weeks, the entire town is disecting the book, and whether or not the two main characters, Rick and Oliver (who are trying to save the world from an evil genius trying to get the Doomsday code), are best friends or something more. Meanwhile, Gideon and Roberto are paired up for a book report, and their quick friendship may be blossoming into something more...

I...I am rendered speechless. I have not read David Levithan since high school, and he continues to write the most beautiful stories. Stories about love, friendship, fighting evil, reading books, and standing up for what you believe in. That is exactly what Answers in the Pages is. It is a story of good vs. evil (yes I do consider book banners evil), and discovering who you are. 

I loved everything about it. All three stories wove together in a way that I didn't expect, and every character wormed their way into my heart in a different way. The plot was beautifully paced, and gorgeously written, especially for a middle grade novel. It was at the right age level, with characters who felt like they were real fifth graders. They had eleven year old thoughts, eleven year old problems, and dealt with real things eleven year olds face. As I was reading it, all I wanted to do was get it into the hands of my younger cousins, who are in third and fifth grade. I was excited to get it for the kids of my friends who are that age, because I think it is beautiful and necessary, and honest. 

Answers in the Pages deserves a spot in the queer literary canon alongside Levithan's other works, and it feels like an honor to have gotten the chance to read it.
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So cute, so timely, and so important. I wish parents contesting books in school libraries would pick this one up.
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This is am amazing book and so relevant with everything going on right now with people trying to ban books and remove access to books from students. This book brilliantly went between three stories, one where a boy's mom sees the ending of his book for English and immediately works to get it taken out of the classroom. This part of the story brilliantly shows  how students use their voice to speak out against injustice and by sharing their truth make a difference. Another story is parts of the book the parents are trying to ban and then finally the third story is the author of the almost banned book's story from when he was in middle school. This book is complex with the multiple stories and connections and would be great for a classroom while also allowing for conversations about current book banning situations. It was engaging I think think middle school students would identify with it.
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This book is a great read that tackles the topic of book censoring from three different story lines. It is inventive and should be essential reading for middle grades classes--and their parents!
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A very timely book about book banning that takes a look at what children think of all the fuss that adults are making about their books instead of just letting them read.
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Can I just say that I love when authors tackle subjects of current events in such an amazing way. Set in the time of schools banning books all because a male character expressing love for another male character. 

This made me cry. As someone who loves all individuals no matter their sexuality, gender, race, religion etc, this book broke my heart. The mother who is against the book is beautifully written. While not having the support for the book she never once faults from loving and caring for her child. The book is filled with so many wonderful lessons and pinpoints that are dire for this era.
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Wow - what a timely book! There are three story arcs woven together by the novel The Adventurers - bits of The Adventurers itself, fifth grader Donovan's experiences, and a third storyline. Donovan's mom finds his school book and as is her habit, reads the last page and then challenges the book. Levithan so simply yet clearly presents this "ripped from the headlines" story in just the right way.  I can't wait to get a copy for my classroom library. Thanks so much to #NetGalley for the opportunity to preview #AnswersinthePages by David Levithan. Everyone needs to read this book!
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Big thanks to Random House Children's, Knopf Books for Young Readers, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of Answers in the Pages.

When middle schooler Donovan's teacher assigns an adventure book for the next class reading assignment, he's excited. A major problem arises when he leaves the book on the kitchen counter. His mom starts reading it and it opens a can of worms. Donovan's mom thinks that the book's main characters are gay. Donovan doesn't know what to think since he hasn't finished reading the book. He can't finish it because his mom won't give it back. She's working with other parents to have the book banned! Even if the characters are gay, what's the big deal? What I loved most about this book was that the kids rallied together to educate some pretty clueless and bigoted parents.
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“‘I think some of the parents who are most afraid of this book are actually afraid that the world you’re growing up in isn’t the world they grew up in. And rather than adjust, they think they can keep it the same. That never works, not in a free society.’”

When Donovan’s teacher assigns his class the book The Adventurers, Donovan can’t wait to start reading it. Two guys trying to stop an evil genius, complete with death-defying escapes and killer alligators? Awesome! But then Donovan’s mom picks it up and finds something in it she does not approve of Donovan reading. Soon, the entire town is arguing about whether the book’s main characters are gay, and Donovan is right smack-dab in the middle of it. As he and his classmates discuss the hot-button question, they realize it shouldn’t matter. The book should not be banned from school. But can they get the adults to see that in time? 

David Levithan’s Answers in the Pages is a book that everyone needs to read, and I mean absolutely everyone. Not just because of the current political climate, not just because of the fantastic characters, not even just because of the killer alligators. No, you need to read it also because it is such a heart-warming, funny, and all-around amazing book that you will read the entire thing with a smile on your face. I absolutely loved how Levithan interwove three different storylines so that they all come together in exactly the right moment. And having actual chapters from The Adventurers included so that we can read it along with the characters is just *chef’s kiss* wonderful. Answers in the Pages is sweet, it’s hard-hitting, it’s relatable, it’s comprehensible, it’s fun, and it’s now one of my all-time favorite books; it’s THAT good!

Content Warnings: Fire, some action sequences with guns, homophobia, censorship

Answers in the Pages by David Levithan is out now from Alfred A. Knopf BFYR.

(Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change upon final publication.)
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Answers in the Pages is a marvelous book, I absolutely loved the message it carries and I love the style the book is done in with three different stories that all tie together at the end. I loved that it explores several important themes, and trusts that middle grade readers will not only understand the material but enjoy it as well. This book needs to be read. I will definitely be sharing it with my middle grade aged kids.
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This title hits a little too close to home, as a librarian in Texas who is experiencing a rash in the attempt to ban books. David Levithan masterfully weaved two stories, and when they came together at the end, it was one of those forehead slapping moments somewhere between "I can't believe I didn't figure that out sooner" and "I'm so glad I didn't figure that out sooner." Highly recommend this timely story.
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How do you put into words a book that touched your heart? I adored David Levithan’s Answers in the Pages, but I knew this review would be incredibly difficult to write. Levithan captures the heart and humanity of an often-discussed issue in an accessible and easily digestible way. It put into words that feeling, deep in your gut, that you get when you read about another school, town, or place attempting to ban a book. That is no small feat, and it makes it awfully hard to express how deeply this book will impact you, how important it will be to kids and grownups alike, and how much value it will add to your life.


This middle grade fiction jumps off the page and engages the reader from the gripping beginning all the way to the final page. It’s thought provoking, insightful, pointed, and just so very important. It is so touchingly beautiful. I cried multiple times, I gasped, I laughed– it’s a full roller coaster of emotions, all running on an undercurrent of hope.

There are many reasons, from a technical standpoint, that this novel is fantastic. The well-developed characters that feel so viscerally real you hurt when they’re hurt and laugh when they laugh. The incredibly realistic dialogue roots the reader in the scene.

The themes are wide-ranging from inclusivity and LGBTQIA+ to book banning to channeling outrage in a healthy way to how to disagree with people you love. It’s the combination of the gorgeous storytelling and topics middle grade readers encounter daily that contribute to the overall wonderfulness of this book.

I’ve been struggling to pinpoint the feeling that reading this book gave me. I like to think I am inclusive, but I know I have more work to do to be as strong of an ally as I want to be. But it came to me today, the name of the feeling this book gave me: empowered. What a gift for a book to be able to give.

I wish I had the right words to adequately express the impact this book as had on me, and I’m merely an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. I can only imagine the heart-filling, soul-touching, mind-changing impact this book can have on the world.

Even though I’m a writer who should have the right words, I don’t. So instead I would like to leave you with some of my favorite quotes from Answers in the Pages:

“But I think some of the parents who are most afraid of this book are actually afraid that the world you’re growing up in isn’t the world they grew up in. And rather than adjust, they think they can keep it the same. That never works, not in a free society.”

“We are who we are…And we’ll be who we’ll be. A book can make us feel that, but it can’t invent that. It’s already inside us.”

“I’m not coming out to you, I could have said. Because for all I felt at that moment, I wasn’t gay. But at the same time I wanted her to understand what she was doing to all the kids who were or would be gay or lesbian or bi or trans or nonbinary by trying to pull a book from our class just because it had one boy saying he loved another boy.”

“Even if you pull all the queer books from our class, even if you could manage to somehow pull all the queer books from this town, I guarantee you, you will not stop us from being who we are. The worst damage you can do is to make the more vulnerable of us feel bad about it. But you cannot hold back the ocean. The ocean will not be contained in such a way.”

David Levithan’s Answers in the Pages is available now. Thank you to the author, Random House Children’s publishing, and NetGalley for an advanced digital copy such that I could share my honest opinions here.
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answers in the pages is a very well done middle grade book that intertwines three stories. the first story follows donovan as his mother tries to get his assigned reading banned due to it's "inappropriate content." the second is excerpts of the book that's the cause of all the town's discussion in the first place. the last story is that of gideon and roberto, it's a very sweet and innocent romance. 

this book has a very good message and discusses them in an effective manner. book challenges are shown here in a realistic manner. book banning has become such an important topic these days and i'm hoping this book will get into the hands of those who need it.

thank you to netgalley and random house children's for an arc in exchange for my honest review.
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This is a timely story for our world today in the midst of book banning, LGBTQIA+ discrimination, “Don’t Say Gay”, and so much more. This is a well written  book for all ages with great characters, and an important story line. Highly recommend.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review
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