SLJ's Reviews of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2022

ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) puts out an annual list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books for the year. Here are SLJ 's reviews of titles on the 2022 list.  

covers from the listing in this article

The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) puts out an annual list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books for the year. Here are SLJ 's reviews of titles on the 2022 list. Also, see Library Journal for a sampling of reviews for banned book titles in their archive.

 

1. Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe. illus. by Maia Kobabe & Phoebe Kobabe. Lion Forge. ISBN 9781549304002.
Gr 9 Up–A book to be savored rather than devoured, this memoir will resonate with teens, especially fans of Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and Mason Deaver’s I Wish You All the Best. It’s also a great resource for those who identify as nonbinary or asexual as well as for those who know someone who identifies that way and wish to better understand.

2. All Boys Aren’t Blue: A Memoir-Manifesto by George M. Johnson. Farrar. ISBN 9780374312718.
Gr 9 Up–This young adult memoir is a contemporary hallmark of the blossoming genre. Johnson anchors the text with encouragement and realistic guidance for queer Black youth. Recommended for YA nonfiction collections where autobiographical and social justice titles are popular.

3. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. ISBN 9780375411557.
SLJ offers 8 supplementary resources to enrich readers’ experience with this novel.

4. Flamer by Mike Curato. illus. by author. Holt. ISBN 9781627796415.
Gr 8 Up–Curato has created a beautiful story of a teen who must decide if he will force himself into the mold of what he thinks a “normal” boy is, or if he can allow himself to live life on his own terms. An essential book that shows readers that they are never alone in their struggles.

5. (tie) Looking for Alaska by John Green. Dutton. ISBN 9780525475064.
SLJ talks with John Green about winning the Printz Award for his deubt novel.

5. (tie) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Pocket Bks. ISBN 9780671027346.

[Read: ‘Gender Queer’ Tops List of 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022]

7. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. Algonquin. ISBN 9781616202620.
Eminently readable and deeply thought-provoking, Evison's deceptively simple novel takes on tough issues such as race, sexual identity, and the crushing weight of American capitalism. Give this flawed but exciting coming-of-age story to teens eager to engage with heavy and timely political issues.

8. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. illus. by Ellen Forney. Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316013680. 
Gr 7-10–Arnold Spirit, aka Junior, a Spokane Indian, is a bright, geeky teen who transfers from the reservation school to a rich, white high school. With honesty, humor, and unfailing optimism, he comes to terms with tragic realities and family frailties, and learns who he really is. 

9. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez. Carolrhoda. ISBN 9781467742023.
RedReviewStarGr 9 Up–Set against the backdrop of an actual historical event, Pérez's young adult novel gives voice to many long-omitted facets of U.S. history. This recipient of a 2016 Printz Honor is wide-eyed testimony to the undeniable best and unrelenting worst of humanity; turning away is never an option. 

10. (tie) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781619634466.
Gr 10 Up–Picking up where A Court of Thorns and Roses left off, Feyre has become immortal, but her heart remains human. After fleeing Tamlin's oppressive Spring Court for Rhysand's Night Court, she heals, hones her Fae powers, and prepares for war. Maas includes plenty of sass, sexual tension, and female empowerment in this high fantasy's massive second volume.

10. (tie) Crank by Ellen Hopkins. S. & S. ISBN 9780689865190. 

10. (tie) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. Abrams/Amulet. ISBN 9781419701764.
Gr 9 Up–When Greg's mother learns that Rachel, one of his classmates, has been diagnosed with leukemia, she encourages him to rekindle the friendship that started and ended in Hebrew school. Swept up in making a movie about Rachel’s life, Greg panics at his inability to fully empathize or produce something worthy of her and the ordeal she is facing. The outcome is a captivating disaster that is both funny and gut wrenching.

10. (tie) This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson. illus. by Spike Gerrell. Sourcebooks Fire. ISBN 9781492617822.
Gr 10 Up–This witty, no-holds-barred look at the LGBTQIA+ experience provides information that parents or school friends often can't or won't give. The book covers dating, religious perceptions of LGBTQIA+ people, bullying, coming out, and more. An insightful option for those with questions about what it's like to be LGBTQIA+.

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