Americus - M.K. Reed, Jonathan    Hill
When Neal’s best friend, Danny, is caught reading the latest release in The Adventures of Apathea Ravenchilde series he is sent to military school (the announcement at dinner that he is gay probably adds to that decision, too). His mother doesn’t think that is enough though and decides to try and save all the people in Americus, Oklahoma from the “smut” being housed in the public library.

Neal gets a good look at both sides of the censorship issue when he becomes a page at the local library. There is gets to spend time doing what he loves – talking about books. Normally a very quiet guy, Neal is forced to take a stand in order to save the town from the overexcited censors.

I really wanted to like this book. Censorship is very close to my heart seeing as I lived through a similar experience in 2009 with Ellen Hopkins. I don’t like how the graphic novel portrayed Oklahomans being as I am one myself. The mother leading the challenge and a lot of her underlings were totally over the top. I’m sure the author did that to get the point across, but it just seemed too much. Also, in a heated debate over the book at the very beginning of the story, Danny admits to his mother he is gay. This turns out to be a unnecessary plot element because we never hear of it again. In fact, in the way the argument was written he could have just said that to get his mother even more riled up. Who knows.

This is a simplistic view of a book challenge, but might shed some light on the process for people who don’t know what goes on when someone disagrees with materials in a library collection. I, personally, would have liked to see the challenge set in a school library instead of the public sector.