We like to think we're living in a pretty free, fairly open-minded world, but according to the American Library Association, more YA books than ever are being challenged by censors. Whether it's drug use or sex or questioning identity or religion or social norms that these objectors dislike--all things that real teens deal with in everyday life--the list of banned books grows ever longer. In honor of Banned Books Week, here are 10 censored books to add to your must-read list right now.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
A 14-year-old boy leaves his school on a reservation to attend one in a nearby, mostly white town. The semi-autobiographical novel discusses the universal awkwardness of adolescence as it exposes the devastation wreaked on Native American communities.
Taken off a summer reading list for alcohol, poverty, bullying and sexual references by a New York City school
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
When Clay receives a box of 13 tapes from a classmate who committed suicide, he is befuddled. Why him? The novel follows his heartbreaking night spent listening to the deceased Hannah tell the events that led up to her death.
Banned for subject matter
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky
Shy and unpopular Charlie finds himself adopted by a free-spirited stepbrother-sister duo, Patrick and Sam. As he gains confidence and friends, he is haunted by a disturbing event in his childhood.
Banned for language and subject matter
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
An autistic boy with a unique proclivity for mathematics is terrified of interacting with just about anyone. Yet he decides to open an investigation...into the death of a neighbor's dog. As he digs deepers, he uncovers many a secret, and they're not just canine in nature.
Banned for foul language
Ttyl by Lauren Myracle
The first book in the Internet Girls series, this novel is also the first to be written entirely in the style of instant messages. It follows the lives of three tenth grade girls in real time as they go through the ups and downs of high school.
Condemned for explicit language, sexual references and religious viewpoint
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
This autobiographical graphic novel tells of a teen girl's experience growing up in Iran during the revolution. It is the first in a series, and is particularly timely, given its explanation of events that are often glossed over in American schools' history classes.
Challenged because of graphic language and images
The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
Nina, Avery and Mel have been best friends since the beginning of time, practically, but that all changes when Nina goes away for the summer...and returns to find her besties' relationships changed forever. How will the trio handle becoming a duo plus one...and will coming out of the closet destroy them?
Banned for sexual innuendo, drug references, adult topics
Blubber by Judy Blume
After giving a class presentation on whales, an overweight girl is nicknamed "Blubber" by her vicious classmates. No matter what she does, their taunting persists in this real-life examination of teen bullying.
Censored because of offensive language, bullying and a bully who is not punishd
Life Is Funny by E.R. Frank
This critically acclaimed novel follows a group of diverse teenagers as they struggle through high school. It's a gritty look at what growing up in an urban is like.
Challenged for subject matter (domestic violence, drug use, teen pregnancy, cutting, poverty) and language
Anastasia Krupnick series by Lois Lowry
If you like the Beverly Cleary's Ramona series or Junie B. Jones, you'll enjoy Anastasia, who first made her debut on shelves in 1979. She's a spunky 10-year-old who tells it like it is, complete with misadventures and her official list of things she hates.
Challenged for language and age group suitability
Which banned book is your personal favorite, babes? Share 'em in the comments!