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Spotlight Books: September: Banned Books Week

A place to spotlight relevant books

Celebrate Banned Books

Top Banned Books of 2021 Available at NICC

Lawn Boy

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. Evison takes the reader into the heart and mind of a young man on a journey to discover himself, a search to find the secret to achieving the American dream of happiness and prosperity. That’s the birthright for all Americans, isn’t it? If so, then what is Mike Muñoz’s problem? Though he tries time and again to get his foot on the first rung of that ladder to success, he can’t seem to get a break. But then things start to change for Mike, and after a raucous, jarring, and challenging trip, he finds he can finally see the future and his place in it. And it’s looking really good. Lawn Boy is an important, entertaining, and completely winning novel about social class distinctions, about overcoming cultural discrimination, and about standing up for oneself.

Out of Darkness

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez. 

Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. They know the people who enforce them. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive. Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion—the worst school disaster in American history—as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, this book, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Pecola Breedlove longs for blond hair and blue eyes, so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the marigolds in her garden will not bloom, and her wish will not come true. Pecola's life is about to change in other painful and devastating ways. A powerful interrogation of what it means to conform to an idea of beauty, The Bluest Eye asks vital questions about race, class and gender and remains one of Toni Morrison’s most unforgettable works.

Beyond Magenta

Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin. Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference.

Censorship by the Numbers

Support Banned Authors

Dear Banned Author

Speaking out for banned and challenged books is vital in the fight against censorship. Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign that encourages readers to write, tweet, or email banned or challenged authors during Banned Books Week (September 26 - October 2, 2021), sharing what their stories mean to them. 

Hosted by the American Library Association, Dear Banned Author raises awareness of censorship while supporting the power of words and those who write them. Authors have also shared fan letters as support when there's a public challenge to their books. Click the image for more information on how to support banned authors!

Top Banned Books of 2020 Available at NICC

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, this book, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

George

George by Alex Gino. When people look at Melissa, they think they see a boy named George. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. Melissa thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. Melissa really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part... because she's a boy. With the help of her best friend Melissa comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Stamped from the Beginning

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi. Americans like to insist that we are living in a postracial, color-blind society. In fact, racist thought is alive and well; it has simply become more sophisticated and more insidious. And as historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, racist ideas in this country have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history.

All American Boys

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. When sixteen-year-old Rashad is mistakenly accused of stealing, classmate Quinn witnesses his brutal beating at the hands of a police officer who happens to be the older brother of his best friend. Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Pecola Breedlove longs for blond hair and blue eyes, so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the marigolds in her garden will not bloom, and her wish will not come true. Pecola's life is about to change in other painful and devastating ways. A powerful interrogation of what it means to conform to an idea of beauty, The Bluest Eye asks vital questions about race, class and gender and remains one of Toni Morrison’s most unforgettable works.

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The explosion of racial hate in an Alabama town is viewed by a little girl whose father defends a black man accused of rape. When a Southern white woman accuses a black man of rape, the outcome of the trial is a foregone conclusion and no lawyer except Atticus Finch will defend the accused.

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. They are an unlikely pair: George is "small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation. As laborers in California, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. For George and Lennie have a plan: to own an acre of land and a shack they can call their own. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

Top Banned Classics

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The explosion of racial hate in an Alabama town is viewed by a little girl whose father defends a black man accused of rape. When a Southern white woman accuses a black man of rape, the outcome of the trial is a foregone conclusion and no lawyer except Atticus Finch will defend the accused.

Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Brave New World is a searching vision of an unequal, technologically-advanced future where humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order--all at the cost of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps also our souls.

The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, where women may not read, obedience is demanded, and value is derived from a woman's ability to produce children. Offred can remember the days before, when she lived with her husband and daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.... Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. They are an unlikely pair: George is "small and quick and dark of face"; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a "family," clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation. As laborers in California, they hustle work when they can, living a hand-to-mouth existence. When they land jobs on a ranch in the Salinas Valley, the fulfillment of their dream of having their own land seems to be within their grasp. But even George cannot guard Lennie from the provocations of a flirtatious woman, nor predict the consequences of Lennie's unswerving obedience to the things George taught him.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. The novel's preeminence derives from its wonderfully imaginative re-creation of boyhood adventures along the Mississippi River, its inspired characterization, the author's remarkable ear for dialogue, and the book's understated development of serious underlying themes: "natural" man versus "civilized" society, the evils of slavery, the innate value and dignity of human beings, and other topics. Most of all, Huckleberry Finn is a wonderful story, filled with high adventure and unforgettable characters.

Beloved

Beloved by Toni Morrison. Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

The Color Purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This book depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey toward redemption and love.

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caufield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

The Diary of a Young Girl

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. In 1942, with the Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family went into hiding. For the next two years, the Franks lived cloistered in the “Secret Annexe” of an old office building. Cut off from the outside world, they faced hunger, boredom, the constant cruelties of living in confined quarters, and the ever-present threat of discovery and death. In her diary Anne Frank recorded vivid impressions of her experiences during this period. By turns thoughtful, moving, and surprisingly humorous, her account offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a compelling self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman whose promise was tragically cut short.

Bless Me, Ultima

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya. Ultima, a curandera, one who cures with herbs and magic, comes to Antonio Marez's New Mexico family when he is six years old, and she helps him discover himself in the magical secrets of the pagan past.

Lolita

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Humbert Humbert - scholar, aesthete and romantic - has fallen completely and utterly in love with Dolores Haze, his landlady's gum-snapping, silky skinned twelve-year-old daughter. Reluctantly agreeing to marry Mrs. Haze just to be close to Lolita, Humbert suffers greatly in the pursuit of romance; but when Lo herself starts looking for attention elsewhere, he will carry her off on a desperate cross-country misadventure, all in the name of Love. Hilarious, flamboyant, heart-breaking and full of ingenious word play, Lolita is an immaculate, unforgettable masterpiece of obsession, delusion and lust. 

1984

1984 by George Orwell. Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching... A startling and haunting novel, 1984 creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions—a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Told through a central character, Alex, the disturbing novel creates an alarming futuristic vision of violence, high technology, and authoritarianism. A modern classic of youthful violence and social redemption set in a dismal dystopia whereby a juvenile delinquent undergoes state-sponsored psychological rehabilitation for his aberrant behavior.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

The Awakening

The Awakening by Kate Chopin. When first published in 1899, The Awakening shocked readers with its honest treatment of female marital infidelity. Audiences accustomed to the pieties of late Victorian romantic fiction were taken aback by Chopin's daring portrayal of a woman trapped in a stifling marriage, who seeks and finds passionate physical love outside the confines of her domestic situation.

Top 10 Banned Books of 2021

Top Banned/Challenged Books of the Last Decade

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction. A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. This is a collection of linked short stories about a platoon of American soldiers fighting on the ground in the Vietnam War. O'Brien's third book about the war, it is based upon his experiences as a soldier in the 23rd Infantry Division

A Child Called "It"

A Child Called "It" by Dave Pelzer. This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it."

Nickel and Dimed

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever jobs she was offered. Moving across the country, she worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing-home aide, and a Wal-Mart sales clerk. She lived in trailer parks and crumbling motels. She discovered that no job is truly "unskilled," that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort, and that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you want to live indoors. She reveals low-rent America in all its tenacity, anxiety, and surprising generosity―a land of Big Boxes, fast food, and a thousand desperate stratagems for survival.

Persepolis

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. A wise, funny, and heartbreaking memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran's last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow. This improbable story of Christopher's quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. Nine-year-old Oskar Schell embarks on an urgent, secret mission that will take him through the five boroughs of New York. His goal is to find the lock that matches a mysterious key that belonged to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11. This seemingly impossible task will bring Oskar into contact with survivors of all sorts of an exhilarating, affecting, often hilarious, and ultimately healing journey. With humor, tenderness, and awe, Jonathan Safran Foer confronts the traumas of our country's difficult history.

The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Pecola Breedlove longs for blond hair and blue eyes, so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the marigolds in her garden will not bloom, and her wish will not come true. Pecola's life is about to change in other painful and devastating ways. A powerful interrogation of what it means to conform to an idea of beauty, The Bluest Eye asks vital questions about race, class and gender and remains one of Toni Morrison’s most unforgettable works.

The House of Spirits

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende. This book brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife, Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter, Blanca, embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter, Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future.

Top Banned Children's/Middle School Books of the Last Decade

Prince & Knight

Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis. A prince and a knight in shining armor find true love in each other's embrace after fighting a dragon together.

Sex is a Funny Word

Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smith. A comic book for kids that includes children and families of all makeups, orientations, and gender identies, Sex Is a Funny Word is an essential resource about bodies, gender, and sexuality for children ages 8 to 10 as well as their parents and caregivers.

And Tango Makes Three

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. At New York City's Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches. In the zoo there are all kinds of animal families. But Tango's family is not like any of the others.

Drama

Drama by Raina Telgemeier. Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school's production, she's a terrible singer. Instead she's the set designer for the stage crew, and she's determined to create a set worthy of Broadway. But how can she, when she doesn't know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

George

George by Alex Gino. When people look at Melissa, they think they see a boy named George. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. Melissa thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. Melissa really wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part... because she's a boy. Melissa comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

The Giver

The Giver by Lois Lowry. The society has taken away pain and strife by converting to "Sameness", which eradicated emotional depth from their lives. Jonas is selected to be the Receiver of Memory, the person who stores all the past memories of the time before Sameness. Jonas struggles with the new emotions and ideas introduced to him: whether they are inherently good, evil, or in between, and whether it is even possible to have one without the other.

Draw Me a Star

Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle. An artist's drawing of a star begins the creation of an entire universe around him as each successive pictured object requests that he draw more.

Heather Has Two Mommies

Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman. When Heather goes to playgroup, she feels bad because she has two mothers and no father, but she then learns that there are lots of different kinds of families and the most important thing is that all the people love each other.

This Day in June

This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten. In a fun, validating, and joyous reflection of the LGBT community, experience a pride celebration and share in a day when we are all united.

Skippyjon Jones

Skippyjon Jones by Judith Byron Schachner. Skippyjon Jones is a Siamese cat with an overactive imagination who would rather be El Skippito, his Zorro-like alter ego.

Top Banned Young Adult Books

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.

Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska by John Green. Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, this book, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This book follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr. But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Crank

Crank by Ellen Hopkins. This is a story about a monster. Not a dragon or a mythological beast, but a very real, very destructive monster -- crystal meth -- that takes hold of seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow and transforms her into her reckless alter-ego Bree. Based on her own daughter's addiction to crystal meth, Ellen Hopkins' novel-in-verse is a vivid, transfixing look into teenage drug use. Told in Kristina's voice, it provides a realistic portrayal of the tortured logic of an addict.

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits-smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you'll remember your own first love-and just how hard it pulled you under.

This One Summer

This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki. Rose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It's her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family. But this summer is different. Rose's mom and dad won't stop fighting, and Rose and Windy have gotten tangled up in a tragedy-in-the-making in the small town of Awago Beach. It's a summer of secrets and heartache, and it's a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

Beyond Magenta

Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin. Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference.

Feed

Feed by M.T. Anderson. For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon — a chance to party during spring break. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its ever-present ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. M. T. Anderson’s not-so-brave new world is a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now.

Fallen Angels

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. A coming-of-age tale for young adults set in the trenches of the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, this is the story of Perry, a Harlem teenager who volunteers for the service when his dream of attending college falls through. Sent to the front lines, Perry and his platoon come face-to-face with the Vietcong and the real horror of warfare. But violence and death aren't the only hardships. As Perry struggles to find virtue in himself and his comrades, he questions why black troops are given the most dangerous assignments, and why the U.S. is even there at all.