We bring to light two books that give us a male perspective in a story that deals with realistic situations, including suicide and sexuality.
It’s Banned Books Week, which is an event that brings awareness of the freedom to read. Most bans were because of complaints or outcries from parents and/or some educators, feeling that some of the books were unsuitable for teens or pre-teens.
For each day of Banned Books Week, we’ll be presenting two young adult books that are/have been banned from schools or communities due to its contents – or at the very least, challenged. Thursday’s books come from the perspective of the male teen and the challenges they have to go through growing up and finding themselves.
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Why it was banned/challenged: Strong language, sexuality, child abuse, suicide, drugs
Why it should be read: This book navigates a young man in his senior year of high school as he tries to figure out what it means to be a man. This is something that many young men have to deal as the transition from high school to college, or adulthood, becomes ever more present.
Laurie Halse Anderson does a fine job of carefully crafting her words into a meaningful and all too realistic story. This one in particular hits hard as we see our flawed protagonist show off (involuntarily) his new physique while having to deal with a school bully, and a jerk of a father. He makes bad decisions, too. And he thinks awful things. But he’s like many young men out there, trying to find themselves without self-imploding. It’s understandable why parents would want to be careful about having their children read a book like this, however, parents would probably be shocked with how much their children really have to deal with in high school.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Why it was banned/challenged: Strong language, sexually explicit
Why it should be read: It’s an amazing novel about self-discovery, friendship, and the way we perceive others.
Clearly, adults are uncomfortable with books in which teens drink and swear and have sex. Not all teens do these things, but some do, and it’s important to see that side of the story too. Miles aka Pudge’s journey isn’t defined by the oh-so-challenged oral sex scene– which is mostly about how awkward and not great sexual situations are for teenagers at first, thank you very much– and the book has so many important things to say about idolization, creating bonds, and dealing with loss.
Order Looking for Alaska.