Cover Image: Answers in the Pages

Answers in the Pages

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Member Reviews

What an amazing middle school book that takes the issues of middle schoolers and book banning. Unfortunately this book might not make it into the hands of readers that need it the most. What stuck with me is the importance of readers being able to see themselves in books. This book gives some readers a chance to know that they aren’t alone.
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Answers in the Pages by David Levithan is a middle grade novel about book banning and censorship, but it is also so much more. Donovan's 5th grade class is assigned a book called The Adventurers. When he leaves the book sitting on the kitchen counter, he doesn't know that his mom is going to pick it up and read it and he certainly doesn't expect what happens next. Donovan's mom is deeply upset about a scene at the end of the book that refers to the love that the two male main characters feel for each other. Donovan's mom feels that this content is "inappropriate" and that he isn't ready for such "mature themes" and begins a mission to get the book banned from the classroom. The problem is that Donovan doesn't feel the same way and he doesn't know how to share his thought with his mom.

In addition to the main story, readers are given excerpts from The Adventurers and get a peek into the two main characters, their adventures, and their relationship. There is also a third story that we are given a glimpse into...that of Gideon and Roberto (whose relevance isn't revealed right away).

Levithan masterfully weaves together these three seemingly separate storylines and helps us feel for and connect with all the different characters. I primarily picked this book up because I was interested in Donovan's part of the story, but as I was reading I found myself increasingly looking forward to reading more about Gideon and Roberto. I found all of the primary characters to be extremely interesting and likable and I enjoyed the way the chapters allowed me to move through bits of each story. The author's note at the end of the book contains some interesting information on how Levithan named some of his characters and I HIGHLY recommend reading it!

I feel that the content in this book is especially important in 2022 as many school and public libraries face challenges and attempted banning of books, especially those that include LGBTQIA+ characters. Like Donovan's mom, many parents believe that keeping these books away from their children "protects" them, but the reality is that they are already aware of the diversity that exists in the world. Book such as this one allow LGBTQIA+ students to find characters that they can relate to, but they also allow other students to learn how to become allies and support their friends through the challenges that they will face (such as standing up to a book challenge for a book that supports their identity).

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children's for the opportunity to review Answers in the Pages by David Levithan.
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Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this in exchange for my honest review.

Adorable! And timelier than ever, due to the most recent surge in angry parents attempting to ban LGBTQ titles. Really enjoyed this - basically like three books in one!
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I loved this book. It had me in tears. This is a book for ALL ages. The characters were very well developed and made me resonate with them. This is my first book by this author and definitely not my last. I will be recommending this book to friends. 
Loved it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Thanks to Random House Children's and #NetGalley for an advanced copy of the book for my honest opinion. 
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This book is so important right now as school boards and parents across the nation try to ban books simply because they don't like the content. Donovan leaves his school copy of The Adventurers in the kitchen, and when his mom picks it up and finds out the characters *might* be gay, she calls starts the process to remove the book from the school curriculum. This is a timely novel that I can't wait to add to my middle school library.
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This is a complex story in that there are actually three stories braided together.  Story number one is about a fifth grade class reading a novel together.  One of the student's mother reads the first chapter and the last chapter and assumes the story is a gay romance and takes steps to get the book banned from school, prompting a lot of conversation at school but very little at home.  The second is passages of the adventure book and the third is a completely unrelated coming of age gay romance, which is tied into the the first story at the end of the end of book.  It seemed to be targeted at middle grade students and I think the book could prompt some interesting discussions.  I found the jumping between stories confusing and I can only assume if I found it confusing, it would be confusing for kids as well.  It was hard to keep track of the characters and I was about halfway through before I really figured out who was who and why.  I also thought that although this will probably prompt a lot of conversations, I wouldn't even be able to consider putting a book like this in my elementary library at the moment because of the political situation in my community.  I didn't like it enough to try to fight for it.
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Wow! This book had me hooked from page one! In this era of "book banning" this book is so important for young adults to read! I love how the chapters tell the story in thirds...that way, a broader image can be painted into the reader's mind. I think it's so important for middle grade children to see how easy it is for things to get blown up by one parent,even if that parent doesn't feel like they are doing any harm. This book is fabulous and I feel young adults will love it!
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This book was one I picked up and didn’t put down. It had likeable characters, a cause to root for, and key discussion points. I definitely recommend it!
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David Levithan is always in the forefront when it comes to issues important to kids, and it is evident that Answers in the Pages is also personally significant to him.
The story is told in three interwoven strands. First the stage is set in Mr. Howe’s fifth grade when a parent picks up an assigned book and decides the possibility that there are gay characters makes this novel inappropriate for young students. She mounts a challenge which takes over the town. This part of the story is told by the woman’s son who, although originally fearful of contradicting his mother, soon joins with the rest of his class to support their teacher and the book.
Another story line involves 2 boys, also fifth graders at the same school and their developing friendship through the year.
The third strand presents chapters from the book The Adventurers which initiated the whole controversy. The book is full of action and drama but also describes a close friendship between two of the main characters.
Levithan’s book couldn’t have come at a better time as schools and libraries are currently battling both parents who think they have the best interests of their children at heart, as well as political forces with their own agenda. Levithan does a pretty good job of not painting the mother as a total control freak, but it is certainly clear how he feels about this issue. At the school board meeting he presents both the opinions of those concerned that the book is inappropriate for fifth graders and those who think homosexuality is a sin.. He does not linger on any one speaker but he makes the ultimate decision seem like a reasonable result of the town discussion.
I couldn’t help wonder if this book about a challenged book would face some challenges of its own. In the meantime I think kids who read this will see a reflection of their own culture with some pretty insightful writing. I think some of the intimate scenes would have been very awkward for me as a fifth grader but I know children are maturing earlier these days no matter what some old folks prefer not to acknowledge.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Children’s for the ARC of this, I alternated between reading it and listening to the audio from my library. 

This short and sweet book gave me all the feels, and I was tearing up by the end. I was so happy to see how it was resolved, as someone who grew up queer and who’s parents could’ve been the first to fight a book like this if they’d wanted to - for all their strict religious views, the one thing my parents did right, in my opinion, was not censor my reading. I loved the alternating chapters between The Adventurers, Gideon and Roberto, and Donovan (who’s Mom is trying to get The Adventurers removed from their class’ reading)
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I received a copy of this story from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I've long been a fan of David's work so I was very excited to receive a copy of this book. I knew from the premise that I would enjoy it but I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. Seriously, everyone should read this book!

It's topical. Banned books, banned topics of conversation, banned subject material is an incredibly unfortunate part of the world we live in. This book does a beautiful job of portraying that experience through the eyes of the children people are trying to protect. I find it admirable that the book clearly sides with the children but doesn't vilify the parents. It seeks understanding on all levels, even while disagreeing.

I love the multiple, interlocking story lines. Donovan, Rick and Oliver, Gideon and Roberto - their stories are all important and valuable. And it was amazing to see it all come together. I do wish the setting for this story had remained vague, to keep the sense of anywhereness, but I recognize that that might have been difficult. 

I wish I had had a book like this as a kid. There's such an appreciation for identity - all identities - and knowing yourself at any age that I would have treasured. It makes my queer heart so happy to read. Yes, this story is about middle school age kids but there's an accessibility that works for all ages.

I cannot recommend this book enough!
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Levithan has written a middle grade novel about 2 5th grade boys who become friends, then something a little more, at the same time that the book their class has been assigned to read is being challenged by one of their parents. This book joins a growing pantheon of children's literature that respectfully tells kids about the LGBTQIA+ experience in an age-appropriate way. Kids will learn a bit about book challenges too--that there should be a process for schools and libraries to handle them. Review from e-galley.
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Misleading.  Only some of the answers are in the pages.  Some aren’t there because the questions are the wrong one.  There are a lot of questions when 5th grade students come home with a book about adventure.  Only because the boys profess their love for each other.  No mention of what kind of love.  That is to the reader to decide.  And their parents, some of whom do not want their children to make that decision.  

Look, I get it.  You want to control your kids and what they experience.  It can be hard to lose that control.  Donovan’s mom argues she should be the only one to decide what her son reads about.  She argues he is not ready for the “themes” of the book.  I’m a parent.  The teacher argues that representation matters.  All children should know they are a normal part of the world.  They are not to be ashamed of who they are and what they feel.  This cannot be left up to parents.  I see this, too. I’m a teacher. 

In the end, the story is about love.  When can children know about love?  Most parents are surprised by what their children know, by what they understand, and by what they think about the world around them.  The answers are in the pages, to the important questions.
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Highly recommend!! My first book to read by this author but definitely not my last!! Uniquely and beautifully written, this story and its characters stay with you long after you finish the book.
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It took me a minute to figure out the three separate story lines but they blended together beautifully. This is an important book in our current times and "political" climate. This was a great middle grade read.
I received an electronic copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of this story for my unbiased opinion.

I happened to love this little story. I think the reason I only gave it 4 stars is because I would have loved to read a longer book. Not so much the book that the kids were reading in class but more of the kids in the class. I think the author did a great job of not pushing the views down the readers throat. Some kids knew they were gay, or otherwise queer, some of the kids really didn't know, and that sounds so true to life.

I did write some notes down while reading this book: ( I was trying to find my notes thinking I wrote them down on paper but they were actually in my kindle, lol)

Loc 762 - Ok the mom is weird and a bitch. I know there are some people who read the end first but the mom here would read the first part of the book and then read the ending to see if she approved of the book for her 5th grade son to read. So she did this with the book the teacher assigned to the class and pitched a fit because her son might "turn gay" if he read it.

Loc 1115 - These are kids in 5th grade talking about Valentines Day and giving presents like chocolates, flowers, and dinner, in a restaurant, or all three? Wow, I never thought about stuff like that in 5th grade. We were still doing the giving stupid little valentines day cards for everyone. I know it was many years ago and things probably have changed but wow!

This book was a cute little story and I think it would be fun for all to read.
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I LOVED this book. The interconnected storylines, the lgbtqia+ positivity, the sweet main character & his friends, the anti-censorship message, the turtles! I cannot *wait* to add this to our school library and start recommending it to kids — it is middle grade perfection!
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I can't recommend this book enough. I've read two other books by this author and this has to be my favorite so far, although I was a fan before this book. The book is timely, even as debate rages in schools and communities over banning books. What I love is how sensitively the author approaches the issues, and that he doesn't just make out those who want to ban certain books from the curriculum as pure evil. In fact, Donavan's mom, who started the whole process of banning the adventure book from their classroom, was painted as someone who truly loved him with all her heart. It was clear to me that the only way to "win" in this battle is for people on both sides to talk to each other. Okay, there were some people on the side of banning the books who are not well-intentioned, but I liked the way the issue was approached at this school and in this book. There were so many good points made in this book that I would like everyone to read this book. But ultimately, what I loved about this book were Roberto and Gideon themselves as they form first a friendship, and then first love. I also loved hearing the perspectives of many of the characters in the book. This book and so many books for lgbtqa+ teens and middle school students need to be in schools everywhere. 

As an aside, I loved the turtles in this book! It made me think of my own Sheldon, may he rest in peace. We lost him at the ripe old age of 50+.

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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This beautiful middle grade book gets all the stars! Levithan expertly weaves together three stories about friendship, bravery, adventure and love, through the lens of a classroom book challenge. The characters are endearing and plot moves quickly. This book is especially important in light of the recent book challenges and bans happening across the country.
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Living in our current world is tough for a middle grader. With parents and politicians banning books with "inappropriate" themes and threatening to close libraries, firing teachers, and making marginalized populations feeling like their lives don't matter, now, more than ever, we have to promote literature that has themes of love, kindness, friendship, standing up for your beliefs, and a reflection of all children. David Levithan's book, Answers in the Pages, is a timely exploration of these themes. I highly recommend it!
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