A bold, timely novel about speaking up and coming out as parents lobby to ban a beloved book from the school curriculum by New York Times-bestselling author David Levithan.
When Donovan left his copy of The Adventurers on the kitchen counter, he didn't think his mom would read it—much less have a problem with it. It's just an adventure novel about two characters trying to stop an evil genius...right?
But soon the entire town is freaking out about whether the book's main characters are gay, Donovan's mom is trying to get the book removed from the school curriculum, and Donovan is caught in the middle.
Donovan doesn't really know if the two boys fall in love at the end or not—but he does know this: even if they do, it shouldn't matter. The book should not be banned from school.
Interweaving three connected storylines, David Levithan delivers a bold, fun, and timely story about taking action (whether it's against book censors or deadly alligators...), being brave, and standing up for what's right.
Set in a Virginia township, Levithan's timely novel spotlights book banning through the perspectives of two fifth graders, which alternate with excerpts from a fictional novel. When his class's teacher assigns The Adventurers—a book that ends with a vague acknowledgment of love between its male protagonists—Donovan Johnson inadvertently leaves it out on the kitchen counter. His mother picks it up, and soon complains to the principal about its "inappropriate content," an event that not only upends Donovan's life but also sets off a public book challenge that engages community members and other parents. In another classroom, Gideon White, who loves wordplay and turtles, notices his growing attraction to new student Roberto Garcio, with whom he's paired for a unit on Harriet the Spy. And in rapidly paced fragments of The Adventurers, three kids develop close bonds while working to save the world from evil. Levithan smartly employs public and private discourse in a message-forward, interpersonally nuanced novel that centers moments of self-discovery, working themes of acceptance, bravery, friendship, and love into each of the three threads. Most characters read as white; Roberto cues as Latinx; a character in The Adventurers is portrayed as having dark skin. Ages 8–12.