Cover Image: Answers in the Pages

Answers in the Pages

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Member Reviews

This book had so many quotable lines and phrases I would end up bookmarking a whole page for its wonderful content. I am so happy a book that deals with censorship and community divisiveness explains things clearly and easily for all ages to understand. The messages are so profound and needed to be heard by those of all ages: it's okay to be different, and it's okay to not understand everything about yourself yet, but always keep an open mind. 

I did have trouble getting into the book. There are three main storylines that we follow: Donovan and his mother's challenge against the book, experts from the book itself, and Gideon and Roberto's relationship. It's not made clear who exactly Gideon and Roberto are, and it took awhile for me to be able to differentiate them from Donovan's storyline. I wish that had been made clearer earlier on.

Once I was able to get the three storylines sorted out, it was much easier to get invested and follow along with the plot and I enjoyed the ride so much more.

I thought it was a great point that Donovan was confident in his sexuality at the time, but open to figuring out more later in his life. His relationship with his mother was awesome. It was great that she wasn't portrayed as a hateful person, but rather as a mother who needed to hear from her child what he thought about the book, and how age isn't always a reason to restrict learning.

I also liked how the parents were portrayed, especially Donovan's mother. We don't have some crazy villain bent on removing a book and any mention of LGBT characters, but a mother who is shown to care for her son and truly wishes for his well-being. We see her learn and grow by the end of the novel, not necessarily in a grandiose fashion, but by simply understanding that her son's childhood is going to be different from hers.

 
I did have questions about the relationships between characters towards the end. The author of the Adventurers book (G. R. Bright) we find out has a past history with Mr. Howe, Donovan's teacher, who assigned the book in the first place. Mr. Bright shows up to the challenge hearing and, though he doesn't  take part in the hearing, I did wonder if there was a conflict of interest here with the educator promoting a book whose author he had a relationship with. 
There was a part in the story were Donovan emails Mr. Bright and the author asks to get in touch with Mr. Howe  to continue the conversation. Perhaps Mr. Howe was unaware of who the author really was, but it wasn't made clear to me. It took away a part of the conversation about LGBTQIA+ book challenges and censorship and had me focusing on potential conflicts between authors and educators and the problem with nepotism and education.

I would have prefered that the author remain anonymous because part of the lesson of the story is that it doesn't matter what the characters identify as, since it is up to the reader to decide if the characters are LGBT.
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I thought this was a thoughtful and well written book. I liked how the storyline with Roberto and Gideon tied in with Donovan's and I enjoyed the excerpts of the novel within a novel. I hope David Levithan will decide to write standalone Rick and Oliver adventures. I think they would be popular with kids who read Percy Jackson. The ending was not very realistic but I liked that it was a happy ending (particularly the way things worked out with Donovan and his mom) which doesn't often happen in real life. I loved the positive way that Roberto's parents reacted to his relationship with Gideon. The topic of book challenges/banning is definitely timely and if I had the money I would send a copy of this book to every library in Florida. Overall I thought this was a fantastic book.
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Absolutely adored this queer middle grade novel by David Leviathan! 

This book deals with queer awakenings, banned books, homophobic parents, and more in an accessible way that will have you devouring this book! I loved all the characters, and the queer visibility was so beautifully done it filled me with hope for the future! 

Also, that twist at the end was so big! I didn't see it coming at all and loved it so so much!!
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This is the story of how books have been for the characters in their lives. We have three stories in one. One is a story of two teenagers who may or may not be in love. They are the characters in the book that Donoven, the narrator, is supposed to be reading for school.

And then there is a third story going on, about a boy who loves all things turtle, and the new boy who he meets that gets him, the way that no one else has.

And these are actually, in a weird way, all connected. So best not to skip ahead, thinking there is a main story that you want to read.

Donavon’s mother doesn’t like the idea that he is reading about possibly gay chracters in 5th grade, as though there are no gay characters in real life around him. That one of the girls in his class has two mothers, and his teacher happens to be gay.

It is an interesting take on what drives some parents to “protect” their child. When really what they are doing is hoping that they can somehow keep out the world.

But as I and others always say, representation matters, which is what is pointed out in this book. Just because we never read about anyone like us, doesn’t mean that we don’t exist.
Well done middle grade level book


<em>Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.</em>
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I love the cover and that Gideon loves turtles. Nice book about the LGBTQ community and about banning books. Thanks for the advanced copy.
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The beginning first person narrative starts with a book and draws you in to “what happens next”. 
Fifth grade Gideon loves turtles and playing with “living and breathing” words.   The first two things that confront him are a new boy in the class, Roberto Garcia, who likes to wear green, and a newly assigned book his mother clearly is questioning on gender issues.
His mother is a school volunteer who also closely monitors the school activities and curriculum.
Mr. Howe’s class has been assigned a book, The Adventurers, and the three main characters, Rick, Oliver, Melody, of different ethnicities, become the second narrator of the dangerous protagonist McAllister and their frightening adventures.
Ms. June’s class is assigned Harriet the Spy and partners the students who will write five things about themselves. Roberto and Gideon become partners and find great interest in what the other is writing, becoming a close “pair”.
As parents take opposite positions, awaiting the review of the book challenge, there is spirited discussion in and outside the classroom as the contention continues, 
Mr. Howe’s students team up and choose Gideon to contact the author of the book. The students, parents, and the administration all know that the much-loved Mr. Howe is gay and married.
As the community meeting begins, the book focuses on the insecurities, maturity and decisions of youth caught between adult decision-making and their own choices. 
The overlapping of the two stories is interesting, but felt strained at times.
The author is adept at serious, forthright, thoughtful points of consideration for youth and adults, parents and children, to ponder and discuss.
A joyful side note: Gideon loves making new words from any word that catches his attention!
Take “banned” - den, end, bed, bead, bad, dab…
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5 stars 

Jason Reynolds gives one of the best descriptions of Children's and YA books as time capsules, and while this book - sadly - isn't covering a new issue, it's absolutely weaving together an incredibly profound and succinct example of exactly what Reynolds describes. 

There are three storylines here: present, past, and the book within the book. Donovan, the m.c. (for the most part), is a grade-schooler who gets assigned a fun adventure book in his Language Arts class. The kids all appear to love their teacher and enthusiastically read and enjoy the book. However, Donovan's mom is the demented kind of reader (sorry, it's just how I strongly feel) who picks up a book and reads its ending first. When she does, she discovers what she considers "inappropriate" content. Thus begins her revolting campaign to have this book removed from the class. 

The throughline is very much about the book being assigned, Donovan's processing of his mom's bananas actions and bigotry, and the final school board meeting where the book's fate will be determined. Woven throughout this main story is the past storyline of two young fellows who meet at school and experience their friendship evolving into something much more profound. I smiled during every second of those sections. They are *so* sweet. And finally, there are chunks of the "inappropriate" book included throughout so that readers can make their own assessments. 

Like all of the fellow educators with whom I am personally acquainted, the most recent wave of banning and all of the related issues have me feeling ill, devastated, worried for our future, and certain that _Idiocracy_ was a documentary. I'm expecting Gatorade from the sprinklers any minute. But this book gave me a little hope that kids - and maybe even more importantly some of their misguided guardians - will pick this up and feel seen and change their minds, respectively. 

I'll be enthusiastically recommending this to my students: especially but not exclusively those who are future teachers. It's a speedy must-read.
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When Donovan leaves his copy of the Adventures, a class reading assignment, on the kitchen counter he never thought what would happen next would ever happen.  His mom reads the beginning and the end of the book, it is a paragraph found at the end that has Donovan's mom in the principals office, and will have the school and community in a uproar before it is all over.

This was a awesome book and came in such a timely period when book bannings are at there highest numbers ever.  This book should be on every librarians (school and public) to be read list.  I am sure I will be personally buying copies to give out.  The character are wonderful and the whole book is wonderfully thought out.  I loved this book and hope you all do too.

This review will appear on my blog on May 10th
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Well written, but all over the place.  Unfortunately I had trouble getting into this one.  I really tried to finish it, but struggled through the first few chapters.
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Donovan’s mom feels a book assigned by his teacher is inappropriate and files a complaint;she’s told the school has a procedure for book challenges. Some parents are for the book being pulled; others are not. One mom says it’s up to parents to protect their children from things they’re not ready for while another one says gay people should be celebrated. “We need to teach children about the world we live in.” When the school board has a meeting to decide the book’s fate many people show up. The teacher tells everyone “even if you pull all queer books you will not keep us from being who we are.”  What happens next?
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Answers in the Pages by David Levithan is a middle grade book about book censorship and what should and should not be taught to young kids. I don’t know how long Levithan has been writing this book but the given the current climate surrounding banning books, this couldn’t have been written at a better time. 

We follow three timelines. The main timeline follow Donovan, a fifth grader. When his assigned reading for class is questioned by his mother on how appropriate it is for his age, the whole town takes sides. We follow the story of the book in question, The Adventurers, in which two boys go on an adventure together and grow close. And then the third timeline follows Gideon, a fifth grader who is obsessed with turtles who gets a new boy in his class who sparks his interest. 

The main plot of this book is basically the discussion on whether or not a book with two boy characters who say they love each other is appropriate for fifth graders to read. I thought that the way this book handled the discussion was really nice, especially since this book is written for that age group. It is impossible to shelter children from the world. It is important for them to learn about things that are going to be a part of their lives. The LGBT+ community is something that isn’t going to go away just because you don’t teach your children about them. People often think that fifth grade is too young for kids to be learning about sexuality but still insist on asking their fifth grade child who their boyfriend/girlfriend is. So I do think this book makes some good points in the way that it discusses all of these issues. 

As a parent myself, I would never want my kids to feel like they couldn’t read about certain kinds of people. The more they learn about at a young age, the less they will be confused about as they get older. 

The biggest thing that I didn’t like about this book was that the different povs were kind of confusing, especially the two different fifth grader povs. I really liked how they came together at the end but I definitely got parts of them mixed up.
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Answers in the Pages by David Levithan follows three stories simultaneously but in a very readable and enjoyable way that middle grade readers will be able to follow with little difficulty. He addresses censorship, friendship, and love in a straightforward manner that shows both an insider view and includes outside perspectives as well, giving readers a full picture of the issues and relationships. Recommended for classroom use as well as young readers' bookclubs, as there is plenty to discuss and enjoy in this short book.
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I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

So, this is more of a 4.5, mainly because the story it was a little difficult to follow with the flow at first, but once I got into a rhythm, it was fine. 

David Levithan is one of the authors that introduced me to gay characters when I was a young queer person. I was thrilled to see another book by this wonderful author. 

The book did not disappoint. I loved the characters and I found myself snapping and cheering during parts of the book when people were coming into identity, defending others, and defending the book that is the subject of a possible ban. The character Donovan really struck me given his presumed straight identity and how it was so hard to speak to his mother about his own feelings about the book. It goes to show that kids are still not listened to in todays society. 

I loved the way the three interlocking stories connected at the end.
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Plot - 5
Characters - 5
Writing Style - 5
Cover - 5 
Enjoyment - 5

Ohhh, boy. So, let me preface this by saying that for some bizarre reason, I ended up confusing two different characters by melding them into one without realizing it until I was (no lie) 97% done with book.  o__O  I don't know if it was the similar enough unique names of Gideon and Donovan, but yeah, I read this with different colored glasses, lol Looking back, I question how I did this (ex: why would the kids be reading two books at the same time, assigned by two different teachers? I have a story, but this isn't the place). 

ANYWAY, even doing that, I still fell in the love with the book. I probably did that in the first paragraph. I had to stop reading it at night because I kept laughing whilst my husband tried to sleep. The characters are perfectly imperfect and darling and daring and I want more Samson. I want more scenes of the kids talking to and voicing Samson. I had so much nostalgia and feels for this book, I highlighted loads of lines, and I am absolutely purchasing it once it becomes available. I almost didn't request it either. due to its reminder of another book I read that left me disturbed and uncomfortable, and I would have regretted that so very much. This is an amazing, amazing novel full of love (book love, knowledge love, friend love, romantic love, all the love) and representation and turning your focus to the things that rationally and legitimately matter. It resonates big time, and I felt the matters were maturely and masterfully handled. Leviathan has a wonderful way with words and he made the layout so much fun by having three stories going at once; two are told in third person whilst the other is in first person. There's a book within a book, stories within stories, and I cannot sing this book's praises enough. Read this for your kids, with your kids, for yourself.
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I am very thankful to get an advanced copy of Levithan’s newest book, knowing I would love it, before even diving in.

Of course, he did not disappoint, per usual. Answers in the Pages really did have the answers in the pages in connecting the three storylines.

The main plot follows Donovan, along with all his fifth grade classmates in Mr. Howe’s class, reading the Adventurers. Donovan’s mother comes across the book, reads the ending only, and works to ban the book from the school district for “homosexual themes.”

The secondary plot, is of Roberto and Gideon, two boys that are forge a wonderful bond and friendship.

Lastly, the Adventurers plot, is that of Rick and Oliver, going on none other than adventures.

I absolutely loved reading the intelligent and heartfelt conversations of the children in the story, and the wonderful interconnected of the story.

Wonderful read.
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Answers in the Pages by David Levithan is a must-read for all ages. What a touching and heartfelt book about friendships, discovery, love, censorship, and standing up for what you feel is right and not letting others dictate what is written. A beautiful story of discovery and love and what love means to each of us. This is a brilliant book and speaks to what is happening today and the banning of books. Books and the written word are so important. It's hard to read and sad to see the ignorance of some of the characters and the intolerance, but mostly this book shined a light on the children and them standing up and voicing their support of the book.

The school board meeting was quite powerful and had me in tears. The characters were so incredible and well developed. I loved the way the one character's mother described how she started off thinking one way, and then her head was turned just a little after speaking with her son, and she was able to see a different perspective.

I would highly recommend this book for all ages.

#AnswersinthePages #NetGalley @RHCBEducators
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I really enjoyed this very short but wonderfully written story about current events and handles them in a very realistic and non sensationalized way. There is also a wholesomeness to this story that some of the other books on this subject are missing.

This book actually has three stories in it. The one about the book banning, excerpts from the book being banned and then a third story, which at first doesn’t appear to be connected to the other two, but it does all come together by the end.

Donovan is the narrator of the book banning story, and he is mystified by his mother’s disapproval of the book. I loved that he went to the school library to get a copy when his mother took his away so that he could still read it. Showing that often known fact, that when you forbid someone to do something, they will just go ahead and do it anyways. He is a pretty smart and perceptive kid, and when he confronts his mother he makes some good arguments and points that kids his age would conceivably make.

The whole book banning storyline was done very well and very realistically. There is a procedure that most schools and libraries have in place when a parent has an issue with a book. Some of these procedures seem to have been forgotten in the current climate however. The climax of the school board meeting was also well done and went the way you would expect.

The story line that was about the actual book in question was a lot of fun. I would like to read the whole story as it seemed like quite the adventure with three friends who have each others backs. The two boys are definitely friends who love each other and there is nothing wrong with that.

The third story is about Gabriel and Roberto, two boys who also go to the same school as Donovan. They become friends and then something more than friends. This is a very sweet story with a very sweet first kiss. I loved that Gabriel liked to look at words and names and come up with as many words or phrases using the same letters. This story isn’t tied into the other story about book banning until pretty close to the end, but there are hints along the way if you pay attention as to who these two boys really are.

Another great book about banning books and one that I think most kids will be able to relate to. I have had some great conversations with kids about book banning and why it is wrong, and I think this book will spark some great conversations with them as well.
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When the fifth grade class at D. Craig Walker Elementary School is assigned the book The Adventurers to read, none of them expects the book to be challenged by a group of parents. It's a book about about adventure, and friendship, and saving the world from evil....right? But when Donovan's mom picks up the book and reads the ending first, she initiates a challenge because she assumes the two main characters are gay. Donovan and his classmates are shocked. What does it matter if the characters are gay? That's not the point of the book, nor should it be a reason to keep it out of students hands. Love and families come in all forms, and the students are ready to take on the parents to defend the book. Author David Levithan masterfully connects three distinct plots as readers experience the full story unfolding.
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Answers in the Pages contains three story lines. The story of a book being challenged, the story of the book that IS being challenged, and the story that inspired the book that is being challenged. Alone, they are all good stories, but put together, this book is amazing.
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This was such an amazing book! I really loved the way that we got to see 3 timelines and the way that they all intersected at the end. It was a beautiful read.
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