Review: The Year They Burned the Books


Title: The Year They Burned the Books
Author: Nancy Garden
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of Annie on My Mind comes an unflinching novel about prejudice, censorship, and homophobia in a New England town.

As the editor in chief of the Wilson High Telegraph, senior Jamie Crawford is supposed to weigh in on the cutting-edge issues that will interest students in her school. But when she writes an opinion piece in support of the new health curriculum—which includes safe-sex education and making condoms available to students—she has no idea how much of a controversy she’s stepped into.

A conservative school board member has started a war against the new curriculum, and now—thanks to Jamie’s editorial—against the newspaper as well. As Jamie deals with the fallout and comes to terms with her own sexuality, the school and town become a battleground for clashing opinions. Now, Jamie and the students at Wilson need to find another way to express their beliefs before prejudice, homophobia, and violence define their small town.


After receiving this book on NetGalley, I was surprised to see that it was originally published in 1999. The story is still relevant today, so I can see why it was rereleased.

I loved the story. Even though it takes place in the 90s, it seems very contemporary. The only difference is they use typewriters to write their school articles and comment that certain people have a printer and computer at home.

Jamie was a great character. Jamie and her best friend Terry call themselves “Maybes” because they think they might be gay but they aren’t sure. Both of them have to come to terms with their sexuality, and have to become confident enough to share their true selves.

Though Jamie and Terry are learning how to express themselves, other characters, such as Ernie, hide behind what they think others want them to be like, instead of being themselves. This was sad but it’s something that still happens today.

The school newspaper was a great way for the characters to express their feelings. There was a lot of drama in the newspaper team that kept the story exciting.

I really enjoyed this story. Though it is almost 20 years old, it is still so relevant today!

2 thoughts on “Review: The Year They Burned the Books”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.