A high school senior takes censorship to task in this engrossing literary love letter.
Clara Evans doesn’t just love books. They are the language of her life. When she finds out that Lupton Academy—the prestigious Chattanooga private school she attends—has been secretly banning books for years, she realizes that she has a duty to fight back. With the help of the school librarian; her best friend, LiQui Carson; and unexpected allies, she forms an underground book club designed to send the message that literature belongs to everyone. In this compulsively readable novel, Connis (The Temptation of Adam, 2017, etc.) demonstrates deep reverence for literature’s ability to create community and challenge our beliefs. Only a true believer could craft a work of such relevance and heart, and every facet of this novel, from chapter headings designed as censored books to finely etched characters and witty teen-speak dialogue, proves this author’s worth as a champion of literature. Clara’s relationships with major and minor characters feel as authentic as the novel’s Tennessee setting, which provides a backdrop for exploring class inequality within the private school world. As Clara—a working-class student competing for a college scholarship—sets out to change her school, she finds herself confronting her own prejudices. An absence of clear physical descriptions makes race difficult to determine.
A timely read that will ultimately prove timeless. (Fiction. 13-18)