Cover Image: Answers in the Pages

Answers in the Pages

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Member Reviews

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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David Levithan has done it again. Answers in the Pages is the book we need right now in our world. I have read every book David has written and none of them hit quite like this one. As I began to read, I wondered what the heck was going on in this book. I kept flipping back and forth, trying to figure out what I was missing between the three stories being told at once. I had convinced myself that the two clearly not the book being read in the book were different classes in the same school. The rush of adrenaline I felt when I realized what was happening put a smile on my face and a tear in my eye. 
In his acknowledgements David thanks his LGBTQIA+ author predecessors but he too has such a part in where the literary world has ended up. I will do my best to put this book into as many hands as I can.
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An awesome fictionalization of the challenging of LGBTQ+ books that's going on in schools and libraries (and even bookstores) all over the country. The author's note about the names in the books really cinched this as a five-star read for me, but it was already a great, topical book.
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This was a fascinating book, and very timely; it revolves around a novel assigned by a 5th grade teacher and objected to by a mother, because the main characters might, maybe, possibly, be gay - or they may be very good friends who love each other platonically. The assigned novel never makes that distinction clear, nor is it in any way relevant to the plot of the novel. But based on one paragraph, on the last page, one mother submits the novel for review, and sets off a firestorm in her neighborhood.

There are three groups of characters in this novel: Donovan and his 5th grade classmates, Gideon and Roberto, a pair of 5th graders in another class, and Rick and Oliver, the main characters in The Adventurers, the novel assigned in Donovan's class. These three plot lines alternate throughout the book, in a way that is slightly confusing at first, but the purpose of which becomes apparent at the end of the novel. Along the way, various 5th grade students, and their parents, discuss why, if at all, The Adventurers should be read as an assigned novel, what they already know about various LGBTQ+ members of their community, including those in their own class. 

One of those students, Curtis, announces at a school board meeting that he is gay, and notes "I want to tell everyone here that I am gay. I think it's important you know that. A lot of the people here have been talking like there aren't any gay kids in Mr. Howe's class. They say that kids like me aren't ready to read about Rick and Oliver. But they have that wrong... Being ready is our choice, not yours... I think that if you want to know what kids really need, you should talk to us." This is a key point in the book, as well as a key comment on the social issues surrounding book banning: so many adult people decide what is best for kids, and they never ask kids what they want, never mind what might be best for them.

For anyone interested in the book banning debate, anyone who wants to see a variety of viewpoints from children about both book banning and the self-awareness that comes as children and tweens begin to understand themselves, this book is a must-read. For those who think that book banning is necessary to preserve the "innocence" of children, reading this book is vital. Recommended for ages 10 and up, based on reading level.
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I appreciate David Levithan's foray into middle grade. The adventure novel sections were really not appealing to me though showed why the kids liked it. The secondary story line really takes a long time to be revealed as to why it's relevant. It's a solid entry, though the message is a little too strong. It reads as a book written to the message as opposed to a book written with a message that comes through.
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