When high school senior Clara, who is a longtime volunteer in her private school’s library and the creator of miniature lending libraries all around her Tennessee town, accidentally stumbles onto a memo about a list of newly “prohibited media” at her school, she knows exactly what to do. She pulls all the books listed in the memo off the library’s shelves, wraps them in white construction paper covers, downloads a personal library management app to her phone and starts running an underground lending library out of her locker.
Students who borrow Clara’s books are invited to spread the word and encouraged to fill up their books’ blank covers with their reactions. They’re also asked to leave the administration in the dark. Before long, Clara’s secret library begins attracting unexpected patrons. Who knew that the star of the football team had a soft side, or that the popular rich kids had problems of their own?
As word about Clara’s locker library travels rapidly through the hallways, the effects of the ban begin to spread. What will become of her English teacher’s plan to include some of the now-banned books in her syllabus? Will Clara’s undercover activism support or hinder her chances of winning the coveted Founders Scholarship and a full ride to college? What significance will the comments left on the illicit books’ covers turn out to have? And what role do books have in supporting readers when times are tough?
Teen activists and literature lovers alike will cheer for Clara and her friends and classmates as they advocate on behalf of their favorite books. Best of all, Suggested Reading will surely inspire teens to pick up commonly challenged young adult classics, such as Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War.