Cover Image: Answers in the Pages

Answers in the Pages

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Member Reviews

I really wanted to love this middle grade novel about book banning, but it wasn't for me. I love that this book exists for kids, however.
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This book is just wonderful. I have read a few of Levithan's books (and enjoyed them all), but this is my new favorite! There are three different storylines throughout the book: Gideon, Donovan, and excerpts from the challenged book The Adventurers. I really enjoyed seeing each of those storylines come together as the book progressed. Levithan did a beautiful job.

Donovan left his copy of The Adventurers on the kitchen counter, and his mom read the beginning and the last page. She immediately contacted the school and initiated a book challenge as she thought it was inappropriate for Fifth-grade students to read a story where two boys deeply love each other. Donovan and his classmates join together to fight off these few loud parents in a push to support their teacher (who is gay) and defend their right to read all books.

Gideon and Roberto, a new boy in class, become fast friends. As they continue to hang out, their friendship evolves into romance. This six-month period helps Gideon realize who he is, and has a profound influence on the rest of his life.

As you reach the end of the book and the school board meeting, be sure to have tissues close at hand. I cried several times throughout this part of the book. I only hope that Levithan's fictitious meeting becomes a reality all across the country as similar issues plague schools and libraries.
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This timely middle grade novel is about parents attempting to ban a book from a school district. Donovan's mom always reads the ending of a book before she starts from the beginning, but the ending of the book Donovan leaves in the kitchen ("The Adventurers") upsets his mom so much, she tells him he needs to stop reading. Period.

This snowballs into phone calls, numerous angry parents, and a school board meeting to determine the fate of this and other LBGTQIA books in their school district.

Answers in the Pages intertwines Donovan's story with excerpts from "The Adventurers," as well as a mysterious third story about another boy, attempting to figure out his feelings for a new friend. I loved the way these storylines intertwined, it was perfection!

The escalating book challenges and bans in America alarms me, and that's to put it politely. This is the perfect middle grade novel to read in our current educational (and political) climate.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC.
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Answers in the Pages is a book about censorship, acceptance, and learning what really matters. When Donovan is assigned a book in class that his mother finds inappropriate, he is faced with the uncomfortable situation of being directly connected to something that impacts not just his class, but the whole town! Of course there's a process to get a book banned, which his mom is set on following through on. However, Donovan just does not understand what his mom's problem is.

This book will allow many students to see themselves in a book for (maybe) the very first time. In reading this, I thought of some of my students who I know would love this book. Set for publication on May 10th 2022, this is one you should definitely add to your to be read pile!
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I feel so lucky to be a queer educator who got to read this early. I feel so lucky to be a queer educator with resources like this book to give students. Mostly, I feel so lucky to be a queer person who gives to read wonderful queer books like this one. 

Answers in the Pages might just be the most important book of 2022. It's about a book that might be gay getting taught in a fifth grade class and being challenged by a student's parent. We also get to read parts of that book, and we hear from Gideon and Roberto, two boys experiencing first love. In the age of things like the Don't Say Gay  bill and other kinds of oppressive political turmoil, kids need this book. Adults need this book. All educators in America need this book. More than that, queer kids deserve this book. They deserve to feel known and seen and to know how many people are fighting for them every day. 

I love this book. I needed this book. And I am so excited to be a small part of its journey, and to put it in the hands of kids.
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This book was AMAZING! As a young queer child, this book would have absolutely changed my life. This book is marketed toward the age I was when I realized I was queer and having access to queer books like this that are so empowering would have absolutely changed my life. A big thing discussed in this book is what books should be allowed in schools. Going off of this I think that this book should be required to read in schools. Not only does it talk about queer acceptance, it also talks about the importance of young voices being heard. The kids in this book are really encouraged to speak their opinions and are being told that their opinions matter. Many kids are told that since they are kids their opinions don't matter and I love that this book teaches the opposite. I also loved the simplicity of queerness in this book. The two boys were having an innocent childhood romance, as is seen so often in the media, but there's was queer and it wasn't looked at any differently because of this. The one thing I didn't like about this book was the chapters of the Adventure. I found them a bit dull and confusing and I would have preferred if they weren't there. Overall great book! Id definitely recommend!
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Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for the advance Kindle copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for this 5.10.22 release. It’s short but powerful, weaving three tales into one. The main storyline is about a fifth-grader whose mom has a habit of reading the end of books first. She picks up an assigned novel from school, objects to something in the end (that her son can’t figure out), and insists it be removed from the curriculum. In another storyline, two boys are paired together for a reading project and become close, even falling in first love. In a third, the actual book being challenged plays out. The author offers a look into the book challenges that are raging in today’s climate, and addresses it well. He includes the students’ points of view, including the kid who is mortified about his mom’s “crusade”. Highly recommended for all upper elementary and middle school collections.
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Answers in the Pages focuses on the story of two boys - Donovan, a kid whose mom is challenging a book he's reading in class, and Gideon, who is experiencing strange feelings for the new student in his class. These two stories intersect at the end of the book and complement each other in a way that is sweet, endearing, and empowering for middle grade readers. 

The book is structured in chapters that are divided into thirds - one third is devoted to Donovan, another third to Gideon, and the last is a brief glimpse into the book that Donovan's mom wants to ban. I think this works well for the story rather than having three times the number of chapters; it feels like Donovan and Gideon are growing right alongside each other. 

Much of the book focuses on the process of having a book challenged at a school and the relationship between a parent and child on opposite sides of the issue. Considering that this is a position many kids will unfortunately find themselves in, this book will likely become an important read for many. Levithan does a good job of showing how these things happen without overburdening kids with just how awful the world can be, and because the book ends on a high note, it really does a fantastic job of leaving the reader feeling empowered and ready to take on the world (including parents at school board meetings).

Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing a copy for review.
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A beautifully written middle grade novel handling, sadly, much too relevant issues—lgbtqia acceptance and censorship in schools—with absolute grace. Alternating chapters weave in a lovely little romance and an adventure story. The mix of stories was masterfully done and the formula is evocative of classic Newbery winners like Maniac Magee. I loved it.
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I wish this book could be required reading for parents as well as students.  It gives voice to those who might not know how to speak, it shows respect for people's privacy (not just preaching it), it has one of the cutest first kiss scenes ever, and it ties it all up with a strong plot reveal.  This is an excellent book, both by itself and as a platform for discussion.
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Three connected stories. One: Donovan is in fifth grade, and his class has been assigned The Adventurers, a book that his mom takes exception to. Two: The Adventurers, portions of the story are sprinkled throughout. Three: Gideon and Roberto - they become friends in fifth grade and discover their identities. It took me a minute to realize there were three separate threads. 

This is a timely novel with the increasing number of book challenges occurring in the US. Levithan deftly portrays what happens when a book is challenged. The students become ever more determined to read it. With two fifth grade storylines, I’m hoping my middle school library students will be willing to read this book. I’m sure I can “sell” it. I’d also like this book in my high school library. It would be a quick read, and many students would appreciate the issues. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.
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Levithan is such an excellent writer.

This book has three ongoing storylines. A boy whose class is reading a book that his mom doesn't approve of and would like removed from the curriculum, excerpts from the book itself, and two boys who are becoming friends as they do a school project together. 

Each of the stories is wonderful and joyful on their own and Levithan's magic is all over it. I don't want to say more lest I give away the best parts of the book.

This story is a great reminder that books are magic and we all love who we love and kids can save their parents. I loved every minute I spent with it.

with gratitude to netgalley and Random House Children's for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I really loved this book and the three intertwining stories. Each of the main characters were a great representation of what we are seeing right now in our schools and libraries with books getting banned or challenged and with what is happening with parents, administrators, and politicians. As a parent of a fifth grader, this book really hit home. I would gladly read it with him and have a conversation about what it means to live a different lifestyle than our own and to love and be loved. Honestly, kids are much more open and unbiased that adults and understand a lot more about humanity than what we give them credit for.
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Answers in the Pages is about book censorship.  A group of parents are trying to ban a book, The Adventurers, that is being taught in 5th grade.  This is due to them thinking that the characters are gay.  While the parents are doing their best to get the book taken out of the classroom, the students come together to advocate for it to stay.  This is a timely book given the number of books being banned right now.  As a teacher, I did find some parts that I felt were inaccurate or would not have played out the way they did.  Overall, I think this is a book that will lead to some great conversations about book banning and censorship.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
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I absolutely love the writing style of David Leviathan. I feel like he was able to interweave three stories seamlessly. This book has an incredible message and is EXTREMELY important and timely for the world today.
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Leviathan has tackled two important issues in this book—what should kids be reading in school and LGBTQ students in middle school.   A gay fifth grade teacher assigns a book which may, or may not, have gay main characters. A student’s mom reads a bit of the book and demands that it not be taught.  Students and parents take sides and a formal review is held.  Several of the students in the class are also gay.  The class’ total acceptance of gay lifestyles seemed a bit unrealistic but I think this is a good book for lower middle schools and school libraries.  That said, I had two issues with it.  Part of the book is told in first person from the main character’s POV and other chapters are told about the same boy in third person.  These chapters are interspersed with other “book within a book” chapters of the “banned” book.  I didn’t think switching viewpoints for the same person worked.  I also didn’t think adding snippets of The Adventurers, the banned book, added much and all the jumping around confused me.  I’m not sure how that would work for a middle schooler.  I thank NetGAlley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.
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As an fan of David Levithan's YA books, I was excited to read this title for middle grade. Answers in the Pages was a book that is so desperately needed today to shed light on the dangers of book banning. The story is so relatable for middle grade students in many ways, providing both windows and mirrors. As a library teacher to 500 fifth and sixth grade students who are clamoring for LGTBQIA+ books, I appreciated how the characters in this book are represented and well as this crucial issue. I will definitely be purchasing copies of this for my library!
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What an incredibly timely book! At a time when Florida has gone full homophobe with “Don’t Say Gay” laws, Texans bans hundreds and hundreds of books, and Tennessee lawmakers laud actual book burnings, here comes Answers in the Pages. I only wish I could give this middle-grade book six stars instead of the maximum five.

Fifth-grader Donovan Johnson’s mother begins a crusade — crusade being a most appropriate word — to ban a book called "The Adventurers" because the very ambiguous ending could be interpreted as the two male main characters possibly being romantically inclined. Shy Donovan feels trapped, as his classmates love the book and the gay teacher who assigned it. It would be too easy to give too much away, but let me just say that it’s not just tweens who will adore this novel. Kudos to author David Levithan for this amazing read!

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley, Random House Children’s and Knopf Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review.
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Levithan's middle-grades novel about a book challenge to a text that may or may not feature LGBTQ+ characters could not be more timely, given the current wave of challenges and bans taking place across the US. 

Levithan handles the issue with his usual wit, and also without bashing the book challengers. Well, not the MAIN one, anyway, who happens to be the mother of the main character, Donovan. When his mom reads the last page of the book his teacher has just assigned after Donovan leaves it on the kitchen counter, she lobbies to have the book removed from the curriculum for containing "inappropriate content," even though the LGBTQ+ "content" she thinks she sees is a matter of pure conjecture. 

Levithan could have made the mom out to be a baddie, but instead, she's a dynamic character who learns a lot in the course of the novel, including from Donovan, who takes the opposite side in the battle.

As he often does, Levithan weaves together multiple storylines here: Donovan's present-day narrative about the challenge, excerpts from the challenged book, and a third story about a pair of boys who befriend and then discover deeper feelings for each other. I found it hard to distinguish between Donovan's story and the story of the other two boys--I thought maybe the two boys were other students at Donovan's school at the same time. I

It took me awhile to sort that out. Eventually, the significance of the third storyline becomes clear, but it takes awhile to get there. Maybe younger readers will make those connections more quickly than I did, but that's my reason for taking off a star...I just wonder if the target audience will stick with it if they find it confusing.
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Very well written story with 3 different story lines.  Promotes LGBT+ so if you believe God made man and woman I would not recommend your child read this story.
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