A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Students in Clara's Honors English class read about actual court cases that dealt with schools, censorship, and free speech. Two cases mentioned in the novel are Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School, a 1969 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established students' rights to free speech in public schools, and Todd v. Rochester Community Schools, in which a parent took a public school to court to have Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five removed from the high school curriculum.
You should never be afraid of the ideas in books, the controversies and disagreements they create or the changes they make in your life. As Clara discovers, being afraid is the opposite of being free.
Positive Role Models
While Clara has all the usual qualities expected of an activist teen hero (intelligent, inventive, courageous), she also evolves in ways that might surprise readers. She comes to question her motives for creating the underground library and must confront how naive she was about the possible consequences of her actions.
A few uses of "s--t," "a--hole," and "hell."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A teen wrestling with the consequences of coming out as gay is arrested for DUI and later tries to overdose on prescription drugs.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Clara Evans, the smart, feisty main character of Dave Connis' Suggested Reading, is absolutely certain there's not a nook or cranny of her life that hasn't been guided by a book. So she's shocked and outraged to discover that the administration at her posh private school has compiled a secret list of "prohibited media" -- a list that includes many of her favorite books. Clara decides to fight back and sets up an underground library in her school locker. Lending out books to her fellow students is a courageous act, but it means putting her future at risk. Being caught could jeopardize her chance for a much needed college scholarship. Teens use a bit of profanity ("a--hole," "hell," "s--t"), and a student is pulled over for driving drunk. There's an attempted suicide by a character wrestling with coming out as gay.
Is It Any Good?
This thought-provoking novel should open the door to lively discussions between teens and parents about censorship and student activism. Some teens may already have read many of the banned books mentioned in Suggested Reading. Others (like the character Mav, a football player who learned how to become a better boyfriend after reading Eleanor & Park) may discover new titles that will expand their knowledge of both the world and themselves.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.