Cover Image: Answers in the Pages

Answers in the Pages

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Member Reviews

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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What a positively delightful middle grade book!

I’ve enjoyed a few of the author’s other books but didn’t know too much about this one going into it. It’s a super quick read (<200 pages, and they go by fast). If you’re not interested in this age range/genre in general, it may not be for you. There’s only so much depth of character you’re going to get with something like this. But it’s doing what it sets out to do extremely successfully and I enjoyed the heck out of it. 

I guessed the gist of the ending about 2/3 of the way through, but it didn’t ruin it at all. Mostly I had a big ole smile stuck on my face, I was just delighted and excited to see how we were going to get there. This book is funny and sweet, and it’s nuanced without getting too “both sides are equally valid!” about it. Highly recommend!
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This book is kind of a book within a book, featuring the challenged book. Pretty typical for David Levithan.

Answers in the Pages is middle grade fiction that tackles topics like censorship and LGBTQIA+ inclusion in classrooms. David Levithan is no stranger to having his books land on a "challenged" or "banned" list. I think that's why Answers in the Pages feels so authentic.

It all starts when Mr. Howe assigns The Adventurers to his 5th grade class. Donovan and his friends have barely started reading the book when his mother decides it's inappropriate. She marches down to the principal's office and demands it be removed from the curriculum. *insert intense eye roll here*
 
If there's one thing I know about readers, it's this....if you ban a book, we're all going to read it to find out what's so bad about it. Which is exactly what the students in Mr. Howe's class do. They've been told that the main characters are gay, and not just two best friends going on adventures together. They argue that with the parental interruption, many of them never got to read the book from any other perspective.

There's talk of rallying the troops against this homosexual book. There are even accusations that the school board is allowing an openly gay teacher to indoctrinate their children. I don't know if it's like this everywhere, but I've heard those exact phrases when books at my own school were being challenged.

This book really shows who is affected when things like this are brought up in such a public forum. It hurts everyone when books are challenged or banned. It creates a stigma for LGBTQIA+ kids who are still trying to figure who they are. I have high hopes for the generation going through school in the 2020s. They're going to break the cycle.

Huge thanks to NetGalley, Random House Children's, and Knopf Books for Young Readers for sending me an e-arc of this book!

Answers in the Pages by David Levithan comes out May 10, 2022!
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I read Answers in the Pages in one day! I loved Levithan's "Every Day" book, so I knew I'd enjoy his writing here too. This is a middle grade book, but adults would also enjoy it. The book flips between Gideon's current life, and chapters in the "Adventurers," a book that he is currently reading. This is a very apropos book for now, with the current book bans and challenges. Throughout the book, I learned about Gideon's feelings for his friend Roberto, and how his mom has taken up a book challenge for the Adventurers, and that it may have a gay relationship featured. Gideon and his young classmates show acceptance for other gay characters, and show that it doesn't matter what the subject matter is in a book; it reflects the real world, which has LGBTQ+ people in it. I really loved this book and got involved in the characters (and the book within a book characters). The only thing I was unsure about was why Gideon was also called Donovan- that was confusing to me.
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I only wish real life could be as common sensible as this sweet book. David Levithan has created another wonderful addition to the LGBTQIA+ canon that shows how an open, honest conversation can help open peoples’ minds.
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I loved this story. It was a very well written and current story. I love the fact that the book challenged in the story the readers got to read excerpts to also make up their minds. This book is really 2 and a half stories in one and I enjoyed all three stories.
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Story told in three storylines. There’s what feels like the primary plot of Donovan whose mother is certainly outspoken about her objections to his fifth grade teacher’s most recent book selection for his class. Then, there’s the telling of THAT story inside the “main” storyline. Alongside both of those is a third plot of two boys (Gideon and a new kid, Roberto) who also attend the same school Donovan attends. A few times, I wondered how their paths hadn’t crossed as I read. At first it felt choppy, but after a bit it felt more fluid. It was definitely a sweet reward to see how the various stories eventually connected.
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Levithan- take a bow. Now only is this a poignant story, it's creative and a breath of fresh air. The story within a story about book banning which is a hot potato right now but short, pointed, and wholesomely written. I want to hug the book and squeeze it so tight. It's the pinnacle of middle grade. I adore it. 

Turtles as a fun side bar. And two boys in a story about adventure being read in class where Donovan's mom read a little bit of it and deemed it unacceptable for her child to be assigned to read in class because of it's gay content. She is a loud mom. She is a vocal mom. So she meets with the principal, she calls other moms, she presses the button on legitimately challenging the book. But who is left out of the equation? Donovan, who's kind of left to figure things out for himself about why the book is that big of a deal, what he thinks about it, what he knows about himself and his friends, and getting a copy of the book from the library when his mom took his. 

The fact that it's as short as it is, it is tightly written which I value. It's direct and thoughtful. Levithan is a competent storyteller and leaves a breadcrumb trail of characters based on real people doing good in the world. 

And the Board of Education scene *chef's kiss* with the author, their teacher, and the resolution. 

It would be a lovely readalike to Starfish.
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This is a very interlaced story within a story. I was a bit confused at first, I didn't know if Gideon and Donovan were the same person. But as we learn more about the characters we see how they all intertwine. 
This is a great look at books about books and book banning. 

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC!
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An extremely timely novel about the book banning. Levithan gives the reader three different story lines that weave together beautifully with a delightful surprise at the end. Donovan's mom challenges a book that she deems inappropriate for her fifth grader. This banning brings the class together as they discover what it means to support LGBTQ+ people and the right to read. A fun, moving book about friendship and books.
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When Gideon leaves his assigned reading book "The Adventurers" on the kitchen table one night, he has no idea that his mother will start a campaign to have the book removed from his classroom reading list.  Objecting to the two main characters' "love" for each other, Gideon's mother jumps to conclusions that the book is about a gay relationship between two 12-year-old boys without having read the entire book, Gideon's mother starts a campaign among the other parents to challenge the books use in the classroom under the guise of "protecting" innocent children.  What his mother doesn't know is that there are gay students in his classroom and several of the parents as well as his teacher, Mr. Howe are also in gay relationships.  Additionally, Gideon starts to have feelings for the new kid in the class, Roberto and they must hide the extent of their "friendship" from Gideon's mother.  Showing the reader how any work of fiction can be interpreted differently by each reader, Levithan challenges us to think carefully and honestly about our own reactions to the works we read.
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