Suggested Reading
In this standalone, a bookworm finds a way to fight back when her school bans dozens of classic and meaningful books.Clara Evans is horrified when she discovers her principal’s “prohibited media” hit list. The iconic books on the list have been pulled from the library and aren’t allowed anywhere on the school’s premises. Students caught with the contraband will be sternly punished.Many of these stories have changed Clara’s life, so she’s not going to sit back and watch while her draconian principal abuses his power. She’s going to strike back.So Clara starts an underground library in her locker, doing a shady trade in titles like Speak and The Chocolate War. But when one of the books she loves most is connected to a tragedy she never saw coming, Clara’s forced to face her role in it.Will she be able to make peace with her conflicting feelings, or is fighting for this noble cause too tough for her to bear?

Suggested Reading Details

TitleSuggested Reading
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 17th, 2019
PublisherKatherine Tegen Books
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Writing, Books About Books, Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Suggested Reading Review

  • Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
    January 1, 1970
    "Books are wild things. You can't tame them. People are wild things. You can't tame them, either. Put those two together and you can't know what's going to happen..." Suggested Reading by Dave connis is a wonderful story about the power and magic of books.. It's truly a love letter to book lovers and feels so right. My heart is so happy and full after reading this and I just can't help but be grateful to the warm and fuzzy feelings I get from this books. After a list of over 50 books are mysteriously "Books are wild things. You can't tame them. People are wild things. You can't tame them, either. Put those two together and you can't know what's going to happen..." Suggested Reading by Dave connis is a wonderful story about the power and magic of books.. It's truly a love letter to book lovers and feels so right. My heart is so happy and full after reading this and I just can't help but be grateful to the warm and fuzzy feelings I get from this books. After a list of over 50 books are mysteriously and covertly added her private school's prohibited media list, volunteer librarian and avid booklover Clara Evans is determined to keep these books in circulation in an underground library run out of her locker. Suggested Reading is a story about the power of books, what they mean to us and how they shape us. It really focuses of how we internalize books in different ways - and can take completely different lessons from the same story because of our own personal views. It's a story of friendship and celebration that really looks at how different media impacts us, adn we in turn impact those around us. I loved every second of it and I can't suggest it enough.I received a copy of the book from the publisher in excahnge for an honest review.
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  • Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an ARC from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review. When I first heard about this book at the HCCFRENZY event, I was so disappointed when I didn’t receive it in my goodie bag but like always, Harper comes in clutch and gave me a copy for a review and I can’t thank them enough. Suggest Reading easily made it to the top books I have read in 2019 with its addictive story about Clara who loves reading more than you and I. Her passion for books, literature, and words will I was given an ARC from Harper Collins Canada in exchange for an honest review. When I first heard about this book at the HCCFRENZY event, I was so disappointed when I didn’t receive it in my goodie bag but like always, Harper comes in clutch and gave me a copy for a review and I can’t thank them enough. Suggest Reading easily made it to the top books I have read in 2019 with its addictive story about Clara who loves reading more than you and I. Her passion for books, literature, and words will make you feel inadequate and aspire to be exactly like her after this book. So when Clara realizes that some of her favourite books are being mysteriously pulled off the shelf but still labelled as in circulation, her worst fears are confirmed when an email confirms that the school is in the process of banning certain titles. Clara, who believes books are not dangerous and silly to have banned books, starts an underground library. Using an empty locker to store the books, and a library check out app on her phone, she begins to run the underground library that makes non-readers, read, and those who do not feel accepted in society to feel connected. The only reason why I didn’t give it a perfect score was because there really was no plot aside from Clara starting an underground library. Clara, was quite boring. She liked reading but she didn’t have any issues and lived a privileged life where she went to a private high school and was on track to go to big colleges after graduation. I started reading this book on my way to work and let me tell you how I could not put it down, no matter how hard I tried. Dave Connis is a wonderful writer. His words pull you into the story, not letting go until you finish the very last page. If you’re stuck in a reading rut and you need to be reminded why you love reading, this book is for you. Put your current read down and pick this one up.
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  • Samantha (WLABB)
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 4.5 StarsClara lived and breathed books. 😉 She had this unbridled passion for the written word and the power it possessed. Therefore, when she inadvertently learned that many of her favorite books were being placed on a "prohibited" media list, she decided to fight back, and created an underground library. However, as word of the Unlib spread, Clara found herself wondering if the rewards outweighed the risks.This was a book about a rabid reader, which celebrated t Rating: 4.5 StarsClara lived and breathed books. 😉 She had this unbridled passion for the written word and the power it possessed. Therefore, when she inadvertently learned that many of her favorite books were being placed on a "prohibited" media list, she decided to fight back, and created an underground library. However, as word of the Unlib spread, Clara found herself wondering if the rewards outweighed the risks.This was a book about a rabid reader, which celebrated the power of books. How could I not love it!Connis created one of my favorite bibliophiles to date - Clara. She oozed book joy, and I just about hung on her every word, when she waxed poetic about her favorites. The opening chapter, immediately embedded her in my heart, and I held her there until the very last page.The basis of this story was the banning of books, and Connis featured many amazing examples of challenged works, but he also used that a springboard to show the different ways we connect to books, and how they can connect us to each other.Though, the author was clearly on the side of not banning books, he did allow Clara to see both sides of the issue. There was one point in particular that comes to mind, where Clara shared a book that made her feel many positive things, but was rather damaging to another reader. It clearly depicted how powerful a story can be, but also how differently it could impact someone else.This story was not just about books, it was also about the readers, and how their lives were changed from this assault on their freedom. The whole experience of running a renegade library allowed Clara to interact with peers she never imagined spending time with, and that in turn allowed her to grow quite a bit. She had spent many years automatically discounting the "star stars", those wealthy students, who were descendants of the academy's founders, by interacting with them on a different level, she realized there was more to them than their socioeconomic status.I was actually a big fan of the cast of characters Connis assembled. From Clara's bestie, LiQui, to king of the star stars, Jack, each character was well developed. No matter how big or small their role, they each played a meaningful part in this tale, and I really enjoyed getting to meet each and every one of them.Between the fantastic book quotes, the humor, and the raw passion for books displayed throughout, I couldn't help but love this book. An absolutely entertaining and thought provoking read.*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS
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  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 3.5*Ah, who doesn't love a book about books, right? Right. This was pretty enjoyable, so let's get to it! What I Liked: • Books are basically the hero of the story. Sure, Clara and others have a role in ensuring that they get into the hands of those who need them, but they're just the vessel. Books are making the true difference here. • Clara isn't always likable. "Wait, what?" you as/> You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 3.5*Ah, who doesn't love a book about books, right? Right. This was pretty enjoyable, so let's get to it! What I Liked: • Books are basically the hero of the story. Sure, Clara and others have a role in ensuring that they get into the hands of those who need them, but they're just the vessel. Books are making the true difference here. • Clara isn't always likable. "Wait, what?" you ask. "How is this a good thing?" Glad to tell you! So she's judgy as all get out, and she can be awfully self-absorbed, but the good news is, she goes through a ton of growth as a character and tries to do better. And really, isn't that kind of the best? Plus she's pretty funny and witty, so that is a bonus too! • Gosh, the book-within-a-book was fabulous! It's called Don't Tread on Me and I really feel like I need it to be an actual thing? It's Clara's latest book obsession, and I think it really speaks to the quality of the writing that I was able to love a non-existent book. • There were some pretty solid messages in this book. Like I said, Clara learns a lot through the course of the book. It's done mostly through her friendships and relationships with her peers, her teachers, the school staff, and her parents. What I Didn't: • There was a bit of a Problematic Moment™. It serves to make Clara wonder if books can be harmful, but I think it was a little too self-absorbed, for one, and not the best way to show it, for another. (view spoiler)[Jack, who is gay and has parents who are not supportive, tries to kill himself. Clara blames herself for providing him with a copy of Catcher in the Rye. All of this is just... yikes. (hide spoiler)] • The resolution was just a bit too easy. I mean, I knew it would probably end a certain way, which is fine. But I just needed it do so in a somewhat more believable way. Bottom Line:  Suggested Reading truly is a love letter to books, and who among us wouldn't appreciate that?
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  • Suzi Evelyn
    January 1, 1970
    2.49 (2.5 if goodreads would get their act together n give us half stars) starsgreat ideas, poor execution
  • Giulia
    January 1, 1970
    "Books illuminate something differ for all of us. Books change lives because they’re matches."TW: homophobia, abuse, attempted suicideThis was a pleasant and enjoyable read with a touch of darkness I did not see coming. I gotta be honest, my expectations weren’t high for this book – I just wanted to enjoy it, have a somewhat light read. And that was precisely what Suggested Reading offered, and then it also offered some more. I thought this book particularly appropriate to read during the B "Books illuminate something differ for all of us. Books change lives because they’re matches."TW: homophobia, abuse, attempted suicideThis was a pleasant and enjoyable read with a touch of darkness I did not see coming. I gotta be honest, my expectations weren’t high for this book – I just wanted to enjoy it, have a somewhat light read. And that was precisely what Suggested Reading offered, and then it also offered some more. I thought this book particularly appropriate to read during the Banned Books Week as it was, you know, a book about the act of banning books. Indeed, what Peter Hauntman affirms is the truth: "Yes, books are dangerous. They should be dangerous – they contain ideas".And that is precisely what Suggested Reading highlighted and emphasised. It was a story about the power of the written word, the power of books. How they can change and help us, how they can shape us in various different and individual ways. How impactful their influence is. How unique and personal the connection between book and reader is. But it was also a story about friendship and support. Yup, you’ve read that right: there is no prominent romance-plot-line in this book. Which felt like a breeze of the purest freshest air. Friendship and books were the beating hart of Suggested Reading. The plot was centered around books and specifically the banning of some of them; how book-lovers and book-worms got together to fight this and the shenanigans, repercussions and changes that took place because of all this. It was a love letter to books, their weight and their importance. Clara was a bookworm down to her core. She was incredibly relatable and being in her head and listening to her thought was enjoyable and fun. She was compassionate, funny and witty. Her doubts about protesting and fighting for what was good/right, her love for books and her insecurities made her incredibly relatable. Seeing her grow and develop and mature was a good and lovely character arc.But, truth be told, she was also nothing special. I loved how passionate she was about books and her absolute adoration towards them, but otherwise she was a rather bland and vanilla character. I liked her, but she’s not gonna be a favorite of mine. I won't remember her. And the other characters weren’t much different. They all had their problems and stories, but all were rather superficial and not fully developed. Jack’s problems were barely mentioned even if they were an important part of the plot. We know close to nothing about Ashton, unfortunately. We know absolutely nothing about Resi. We also know very little about Clara’s best friend, LiQui. Clara herself was kinda like an empty shell. Apart from her love for books and the things she’s doing and thinking because of this banning of books, we know nothing about her and her personal situation (for example we know nothing about her family, even if her parents were present). I was not particularly a fan of the ending – nobody’s surprised here. I thought it was too sappy and too similar to a happy ending. There were no repercussions, and I thought that was rather underwhelming. Wrapped ups too nicely. There was nothing bad about this book. It was, as I said, enjoyable and fun. It was a light and it wonderfully centered around books, with a relatable book-worm as protagonist. But it was also nothing to write home about, if I have to be honest. It was a lovely average read. If you want a light, fast, enjoyable read full to the brim of love for books, this one is the one. I've listened to this one in a day, and I'd say that it was the perfect book to read during the Banned Books Week :) "Books are wild things. You can’t tame them. People are wild things. You can’t tame them, either."
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  • Neville Longbottom
    January 1, 1970
    A private school in Tennessee bans over 50 books from being taught or being available in the school library. Clara Evans, an avid reader and library volunteer, is horrified by this. Some of the books on the list have greatly impacted her life. Before the school can get rid of the books, Clara takes them and starts her own underground library, dealing banned books to the other students. The first three quarters of the book probably would’ve been a 4 star book for me. I was really enjoying it even A private school in Tennessee bans over 50 books from being taught or being available in the school library. Clara Evans, an avid reader and library volunteer, is horrified by this. Some of the books on the list have greatly impacted her life. Before the school can get rid of the books, Clara takes them and starts her own underground library, dealing banned books to the other students. The first three quarters of the book probably would’ve been a 4 star book for me. I was really enjoying it even though it wasn’t particularly life changing or anything. However, the ending really faltered for me. I thought everything was resolved way too easily. And the way the only gay character was handled didn’t sit right with me. His story was only used to further the main character, and a really important thing that happened with him is only filtered through other characters. I need to give some specifics, so: (view spoiler)[Jack attempts suicide and leaves a message behind referencing The Catcher in the Rye which Clara gave him to read. So all of a sudden Clara starts to think that banning books might be okay because she believes that it’s all her fault for giving him the book and that pushed him to attempt suicide. Other characters tell her that it’s not all about her and that there were other things going on with Jack, so at least that message gets across. But it bothered me that we don’t actually hear that from Jack himself. We don’t see her go and visit him in the hospital and actually hear his side of the story. We only see him again once the story skips ahead months later for the epilogue, where thankfully he’s doing good. He just seemed like someone who was put into the story to be convenient for the plot and it just felt off. Eventually Clara comes back around to thinking that banning books is wrong. But I just don’t really understand why the story had to go this way of her maybe thinking that banning books is okay. There could still be dramatic tension from her breaking school rules and thinking that her methods were wrong instead of siding with the school for a short period of time. (hide spoiler)] I enjoyed the premise of this book but the last quarter really brought down my overall feelings on the story.
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  • Nichole
    January 1, 1970
    4 out of 5 starsWhat a fun read! Such a great concept!A book about books. Something all of us bookworms can relate to and enjoy!I found Suggested Reading refreshing. With a well written plot and a character driven story it was a light-hearted read that touches on some heavy topics.Clara's passion for reading and her love for books was admirable. By starting the locker library she shared this love with others and impacted their lives greatly. What C 4 out of 5 starsWhat a fun read! Such a great concept!A book about books. Something all of us bookworms can relate to and enjoy!I found Suggested Reading refreshing. With a well written plot and a character driven story it was a light-hearted read that touches on some heavy topics.Clara's passion for reading and her love for books was admirable. By starting the locker library she shared this love with others and impacted their lives greatly. What Clara may not have know was how much she was going to grow from this herself and the incredible friends she was going to make.So many hidden messages within this text as well. Don't judge people by how they look, the amount of money they have or the people they hang around with. You never know what's going on inside peoples heads, they may surprise you. Also... never give up! When you have a passion fight for your beliefs whether you are right or succeed it's all worth it.Dave's attention to detail with each book mentioned throughout Suggested Reading was impressive. You can see his time and dedication while writing his masterpiece. This only added to an already enjoyable read. Suggested Reading also fits well with the "cancelled culture" currently circulating today.All in all I did enjoy this book and would recommend you giving it a go. Besides I am sure you want to know just how Clara pulled this off...don't you? Thank you so much to HarperCollins Canada & HCC Frenzy for sending this arc my way for review.Publisher: Katherine Tegen BooksRelease date: September 17, 2019And of course thank you all for reading.Your Book Hoarding Book Worm-Nichole
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  • Max Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Edelweiss for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest reviewBanned books have a rich and lustrous history of pinpointing things people are afraid of and then forcing them to confront said fears. I mean, just scrolling through the list of the most challenged books, it's easy to see why they people think they should be banned (it's mostly because sex is icky and authority figures should be blindly listened too). But the books that are challenged are also the most tho Thank you Edelweiss for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest reviewBanned books have a rich and lustrous history of pinpointing things people are afraid of and then forcing them to confront said fears. I mean, just scrolling through the list of the most challenged books, it's easy to see why they people think they should be banned (it's mostly because sex is icky and authority figures should be blindly listened too). But the books that are challenged are also the most thought provoking and challenging. They make you confront issues head on and that's a good thing because it makes you think.Suggested Reading made me think too. Just in different intervals.Here's the thing about this book, it's very front loaded with a lot of set up followed by a twist that comes into play 60% way through the story. I guessed what that was, what it would do, and the ending. And, okay it's predictable sometimes that happens, but it affected my reading of the story so I've put my thoughts about it in the spoiler section, read at your own risk.Anyways, this book follows Clara Evans, who lives for books. She just loves them to the point where she's done some really cool extracurricular stuff involving libraries that get her on the shortlist for a really prestigious scholarship. But on the first day of her senior year she discovers that the school board has covertly banned over fifty books and will no longer be available in the school library. To combat this, Clara starts her own underground library giving out banned books on the down low. In short, it's a well written often powerful narrative about how books can shape, influence, and inspire us and how banning access to them can limit necessary stories that can give someone hope.(view spoiler)[So this guy Jack is one of the star-stars, rich kids who got into Clara's fancy private school with what probably amounts to pocket change to their parents. And Clara assumes he's a jerk like all rich kids at the school, but surprise-surprise she learns he has hidden depths in the fact that he's gay. Now, I don't know about you but when I read a book about a gay side character with unsupportive family in a narrative surrounding banned books with suggestive themes (two of which are Perks of Being A Wallflower and Cather in the Rye) my mind goes to suicide or suicide attempt. And it does. Jack tries to kill himself after scrawling a message relating to Catcher in the Rye. The act is a catalyst for Clara to reexamine her own privilege and question on if banning the books was the right thing to do or not.So, let me be honest for a second. I suspect that that might turn a lot of people off. Like gay character trying to commit suicide...ehhhhhhh. That's dangerous waters there and then it goes another step with Clara, in a sense, taking credit for it is also.....ehhhhhh. It's obvious that she's not the reason for it; the book may have been a spark, but it was his parents and environment that made sure he'd explode. But the narrative really doesn't address this fact and which Jack gets a relatively happy ending at the end, the book leaves the theme sort of dangling. I still don't know how the book feels about this issue it presents and it kind of annoys me, but the way the book deals with Jack I deal with but I'm sure a lot of people can't. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Candyce Kirk
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsFull review to follow soon!
  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    Connis expertly crafts a wonderful story about the cost of banning books and the risks worth taking.
  • Dylan
    January 1, 1970
    i need this...now???
  • FloeticFlo
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book in a day, while waiting for No Show Hurricane Dorian. (Side note: I am still so sad about the Bahamas! Sending out prayers and well wishes to them for what they endured.) Anyway, even though I joked to my husband that I was able to read this in a day because the words were big, it was really because of the short chapters and the writing style. Connis has a simple, direct writing style. It's just so easy. I found myself flipping page after page and hardly realizing how many had g I read this book in a day, while waiting for No Show Hurricane Dorian. (Side note: I am still so sad about the Bahamas! Sending out prayers and well wishes to them for what they endured.) Anyway, even though I joked to my husband that I was able to read this in a day because the words were big, it was really because of the short chapters and the writing style. Connis has a simple, direct writing style. It's just so easy. I found myself flipping page after page and hardly realizing how many had gone by. There were so many cool things about this story. Each chapter started with a quote from a banned book. The author created the protagonist's favorite book and a few of the quotes were from that. I thought that was a really good way to ensure that he had a story that fit with Clara's story. This book was full of such insight and heart. I loved so much about it. I loved that Clara really questioned her underground library. She didn't just accept that she was doing it as a reflex response to what the school was doing. She really asked herself why. I loved that she had one opinion of Ashton and Jack (what did she call them? The super-supers or something?), but then she had the opportunity to really see them -- and, importantly, she took the opportunity. This changed her view of them. This allowed her to make friends she never thought she would have. I love that her view of books was challenged and how she was able to expand her view of the effects of books on herself and others. I loved that from the beginning she had teachers and school staff members who were allies and, importantly, weren't afraid to share with her and the other students what they thought and why. I loved the queso book club. (Because, really, who doesn't love queso?!) The quote lover and collector in me loved how patrons of the Unlib shared quotes about the books on their white covers when they returned them. I loved the moment in the book that was a reference to the movie Spartacus. I loved Clara's non understanding of football! Read the full review on Book Nerds Across America: http://www.booknerdsacrossamerica.com....
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  • Jenny Ashby
    January 1, 1970
    The review promised that this book is a librarian's dream and the premise of a student standing up to book banning certainly sounded great. I liked that idea in Alan Gratz's Ban This Book so why not in this one as well? By the end I was reasonably satisfied with the execution and lessons learned, but we got off to a bumpy start for two reasons:1. In talking to her librarian about her reasons for establishing Little Free Libraries (except they're called something else in the book), Clara asks t The review promised that this book is a librarian's dream and the premise of a student standing up to book banning certainly sounded great. I liked that idea in Alan Gratz's Ban This Book so why not in this one as well? By the end I was reasonably satisfied with the execution and lessons learned, but we got off to a bumpy start for two reasons:1. In talking to her librarian about her reasons for establishing Little Free Libraries (except they're called something else in the book), Clara asks the librarian what he used to do in the summer. His response is "Smoked weed." And then he mentions smoking weed a few more times. I'm pretty uptight about drug use in general but even if I wasn't, I can't imagine a world where it would be okay for a teacher to say that to a student.2. Clara's English teacher wants the class to read Their Eyes Were Watching God as their first book. At the end of class on the day she assigns this she gives them handouts and says "Here are the first two chapters of Their Eyes." Not cool English teacher NOR author. So with those two incidents early on in the book, I was turned off. Also, the writing was choppy, almost stream of consciousness, which made it difficult for me to figure out who was speaking and what the flow of conversation way. But as I worked my way through the book I settled in and started to get over my snit about those first two incidents. I didn't end up as moved by the bravery and free circulation of books as I wanted to be, but there were a few passages that did make me think a bit and that's always good.
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  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    As a librarian, I don’t need to be told about the benefits of reading - I see them every day. Suggested Reading is an ode to everything librarians stand up for. The right to read for pleasure, the right to choose your reading material, the right to free and unchallenged access to reading material that stretches and challenges the reader. I highly enjoying this book, as will all lovers of books, libraries and reading. When Clara, a regular library volunteer, starter of a tiny library community sc As a librarian, I don’t need to be told about the benefits of reading - I see them every day. Suggested Reading is an ode to everything librarians stand up for. The right to read for pleasure, the right to choose your reading material, the right to free and unchallenged access to reading material that stretches and challenges the reader. I highly enjoying this book, as will all lovers of books, libraries and reading. When Clara, a regular library volunteer, starter of a tiny library community scheme and avid reader, discovers that her school has banned 50 books and plans to remove them from the school library’s shelves, she unwittingly starts a rebellion when she creates a library in her school locker. What starts as a mini rebellion soon has far reaching consequences and Clara must decide if her stance against the banned books policy is worth the cost.Suggested Reading is sure to inspire the secret rebel in us all. It asserts the importance of books, but it doesn’t do so blindly. Clara pauses to reflect on her position on literature and banned books many times through the book. She is challenged, as are her thoughts and everything she thought she believed in. By doing so, Suggested Reading allows Clara and the reader to experience both sides of the argument for and against banned books. And while the story picks a clear winning side, it does so without preaching. There are many quotes, references to books (both real and those created for the purposes of this novel) and a sound love of literature within these pages. But this isn’t a book just about books. Like reading itself, Suggested Reading is also about empathy, learning not to judge people by first (or second or third) impressions, about growth, and challenging your thinking. Clara goes through fantastic character development. She realises her mistakes and where she has done the very things of which she is accusing others. She’s also really funny and not afraid to call herself out. Suggested a Reading is also about standing up for what you believe in - and explores how this can be done in many ways. Alongside the ‘bad guys’, school leaders and admin who are championing the banned books policy, are many positive education role models. I loved how Clara’s classmates rally around her Underground Library. She is surprised by her clients, and must learn another lesson in not judging people. And yes, reading is cool.The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library
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  • Aoife
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsClara believes passionately that books change lives. When her school quietly bans more than fifty novels, she decides she's not going to take it lying down and starts a secret library.As a bookseller, I loved the idea behind this novel, that stories can connect people. I also love the dominoes theory; that something one person does can cause so many other things to happen, usually without the first person even knowing.The characters were great in this 4.5 starsClara believes passionately that books change lives. When her school quietly bans more than fifty novels, she decides she's not going to take it lying down and starts a secret library.As a bookseller, I loved the idea behind this novel, that stories can connect people. I also love the dominoes theory; that something one person does can cause so many other things to happen, usually without the first person even knowing.The characters were great in this novels, too. I loved how supportive they were of Clara, including the teachers and even a few people I wasn't expecting. All around, a great novel and one I'll love to recommend. (And laugh when it inevitably gets banned...)The only slightly unbelievable thing was how much use her UnLib got, even with a few people talking her up. But then, maybe I'm just jaded by my own school library, which checked out five books in a busy week...
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  • Joshua Springs
    January 1, 1970
    First, my review is in no way shaped by my undying belief that Dave Connis is one of the greatest human beings ever.That being said, man can this dude write a book? Equal parts funny and heartbreaking and serious and light and swimming in meaning while sometimes not meaning that much but also everything. This book takes my favorite theme in Paper Towns and adds the external conflict of Fahrenheit 451, which is my favorite dystopian novel. Man, I love this book so much. I lack the pro First, my review is in no way shaped by my undying belief that Dave Connis is one of the greatest human beings ever.That being said, man can this dude write a book? Equal parts funny and heartbreaking and serious and light and swimming in meaning while sometimes not meaning that much but also everything. This book takes my favorite theme in Paper Towns and adds the external conflict of Fahrenheit 451, which is my favorite dystopian novel. Man, I love this book so much. I lack the proper words to fully explain my love for this book.I think this book most accurately sums up why I love reading books and what I want to get out of writing them. I also definitely have some theme quotes for my classroom this year.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    My full review can be found on the Epilie Aspie Chick blog! I consumed this book like it was made of white chocolate Reese's. I've never seen a book written about banned books and the way this story talks about the phenomena while also discussing so many other important subjects is nothing short of brilliant. From page one, this book hooks you with vibrant characters that feel real and a plot that eerily sounds like something that has occurred. 
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  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a bookworm's (excuse me, book warrior's) dream! I loved all the great references to books, and the power they held for different characters in the story -especially the unexpected ones! I liked the writing, it was funny and very realistic for teens! The inside jokes and abbreviations had me smiling and sometimes laughing out loud. I liked that it got pretty real at the end, and the MC really questioned her own beliefs. It was deeper than a lot of YA novels. It was a little short on This book is a bookworm's (excuse me, book warrior's) dream! I loved all the great references to books, and the power they held for different characters in the story -especially the unexpected ones! I liked the writing, it was funny and very realistic for teens! The inside jokes and abbreviations had me smiling and sometimes laughing out loud. I liked that it got pretty real at the end, and the MC really questioned her own beliefs. It was deeper than a lot of YA novels. It was a little short on description (like, I have no idea what any of the characters looked like), but I wonder if that was intentional, too...? This book will make you question books! :)
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  • Karrie
    January 1, 1970
    Living books, Clara rescues them when she learns they are going to be banned at her private school. I liked the way she started to question whether she was doing it for herself or for others - being right or sharing influential stories. The addition of more modern classics like Speak and Perks of Being a Wallflower alongside Catcher in the Rye was refreshing. I know this is meant for a teen audience but all the nicknames and abbreviations I found annoying. Sometimes it felt a little preachy rath Living books, Clara rescues them when she learns they are going to be banned at her private school. I liked the way she started to question whether she was doing it for herself or for others - being right or sharing influential stories. The addition of more modern classics like Speak and Perks of Being a Wallflower alongside Catcher in the Rye was refreshing. I know this is meant for a teen audience but all the nicknames and abbreviations I found annoying. Sometimes it felt a little preachy rather than expository. I also appreciated no romance for our heroine.
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  • Andria Sedig
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely adored this book! It wasn't on my radar but was included in Once Upon a Book Club and I am so glad that it did because it's quickly become one of my favorites this year. Essentially, this book follows Clara as she runs a banned book library out of her locker to protest the school's new banned book policy. I loved all of the conversation about books and the power of words throughout this story and also loved the character growth throughout. What a great, powerful read.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    I've said this a few times lately, most recently when I reviewed His Hideous Heart and maybe I shouldn't fight it so much, but I do. I don't like talking about books from an educational standpoint too much. It isn't why I started Novel Lives. In fact, it is the opposite reason.full review at Novellives.com
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    This book was absolutely incredible. I loved it so much, and it's such an important story and I think everyone should read it, Clara was an inspiring character and I loved how hard she fought for something she believed in despite the consequences and despite everything that was against her.
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  • Eliza Cross
    January 1, 1970
    To see my full review visit my blog at https://elizaandherbooks.wordpress.co...
  • Shawn
    January 1, 1970
    If I could give this book more than 5 stars I would! This book is definitely one of my new favorites!
  • Elizabeth
    January 1, 1970
    ...ahhhhh. It was written by a dude. That explains all.
  • Brianna Carrasco
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at around 25%
  • Kath
    January 1, 1970
    DNF'd it at pg 80 or soThe pacing was off to me and I could not get into it.
  • Matthew Hubbard
    January 1, 1970
    Connis expertly crafts a wonderful story about the cost of banning books and the risks worth taking.
  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    I have somewhat mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, a lot of the content was really good! On the other, some of the writing was... not-so-good.Suggested Reading is about a high school senior and self-declared bookworm, Clara, who is shocked to discover that the prestigious private academy she attends has a new list of fifty banned books. When her complaints to the administration go unheard, Clara starts her own underground library of banned materials from her very own school locker. As the "U/>Suggested I have somewhat mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, a lot of the content was really good! On the other, some of the writing was... not-so-good.Suggested Reading is about a high school senior and self-declared bookworm, Clara, who is shocked to discover that the prestigious private academy she attends has a new list of fifty banned books. When her complaints to the administration go unheard, Clara starts her own underground library of banned materials from her very own school locker. As the "Unlib" becomes more and more popular, Clara is forced to examine her true motivations for fighting the establishment, and consider the true power-- both good and bad-- that books possess.There's a lot of really thought-provoking material in Suggested Reading. Censorship and intellectual freedom are sticky topics, because we're all offended by something. Books can spread good, but they can also perpetuate harm-- they're like people that way. I appreciate that Dave Connis presented both sides of the discussion in this book, rather than making the conflict seem black-and-white. I really loved the scene where Clara realizes that she has certain privileges that make some books easier for herself to read than for others who are facing challenges that she can't relate to-- that was a really powerful scene. There were some little things that I really liked, like the fact that Clara broke down and cried a few times. I feel like YA characters don't cry enough, tbh. Being a teenager is hard! It's frustrating!However, some of the issues were handled... just strangely? I don't know, I feel like I might be complaining that the characters didn't react in the exact way I would in the situation (which feels unfair), but at the same time I feel like some basic logic was missing. Like, if the school is trying so hard to keep the list of banned materials a secret but you have access to the list... doesn't it make sense to make the list VERY public??? Get people angry about it! Get the press involved! Make the school have to face up about what its doing! This seems obvious to me?I also think it's pretty common these days for students to organize protest walk-outs. I was a little disappointed by how isolated Clara is throughout the book, when, in my experience, teenagers are pretty good at presenting a united front. (The only hint of this in the book was a super cheesy "I am Spartacus" scene.) Also, no character ever thinks to contact a higher power, like the ALA. There are added complications since it's a private school, but banned books in private schools isn't new-- get some outside advice from people with past experience on how to fight! It bugs me that the phrase "intellectual freedom" wasn't used ONCE in the whole book, nor were there any resources included in the back of the book for learning about and fighting censorship (though perhaps they just weren't included in the audio version).Also also-- the most recent banned books mentioned in Suggested Reading are all at least twenty years old, like Speak, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Captain Underpants (yes, those are all twenty years old). (Actually, I forgot-- The Hunger Games did get a couple shout outs.) But still, no mention of Harry Potter or Two Boys Kissing or The Hate U Give or Thirteen Reasons Why or The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, etc. (view spoiler)[When Jack has his breakdown in the processing room, I wanted to scream GIVE HIM SIMON VS. OR SOMETHING WITH HOPEFUL GAYS, NOT FUCKING CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS, OMG CLARA. (hide spoiler)]Aside from all that, the writing didn't really click with me. There was a bunch of made-up slang that felt corny, and so much awkward dialogue that I think was meant to be funny. Also, again, just some random weirdness-- like when there's an unfamiliar teacher in Clara's English class, her first reaction is "Am I in the wrong classroom?" rather than "Oh, a substitute teacher. This is a perfectly normal and common experience." While Clara got a decent amount of character development herself, the other characters were pretty flat. Jack in particular had the potential to be a really powerful character, but he was off-page for most of the book. (view spoiler)[And I'm quite upset that his suicide attempt and recovery was so glossed over, other than Clara's egocentric guilt trip. (hide spoiler)]So while I think Suggested Reading could definitely have been better, overall it was pretty good, and I did enjoy listening to it (though the audiobook was over-acted-- I'd suggest the physical version). It poses some pretty deep questions about an issue that is still incredibly relevant for everyone, especially teenagers.TW: homophobia, depression, self-destructive behavior, suicide attempt--A perfect read for Banned Books Week!
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