Answers in the Pages by David Levithan

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Donovan is a fifth-grade student whose mother challenges the book his teacher assigns, The Adventurers, because she sees the two main characters as being gay.  Gideon and Roberto are two fifth-grade boys whose friendship turns into something more romantic.  Rick and Oliver are the two main characters in The Adventurers, who, along with their friend Melody, are trying to stop an evil genius from stealing the Doomsday Code.  Each story unfolds in alternating chapters until they come together at an important meeting of the school board to decide the fate of the book.  Includes a three-page author’s note acknowledging the work of other authors who write books about LGBTQIA+ characters (many of whom have characters named for them in the story) as well as the work of those defending challenged books.  176 pages; grades 3-7.

Pros:  This book could hardly be more timely, and I appreciate David Levithan’s nuanced writing about this issue. I liked how Donovan’s mother was able to change her position after an honest conversation with her son.  I totally did not see how the stories were coming together at the end and was delighted by that twist.

Cons:  I was reading this book kind of quickly, and it took me a while to figure out the structure with the three alternating stories.

June 6, 2022 at 03:36PM Janet Dawson