{kindle} Property of the Rebel Librarian Author Allison Varnes – Papercuts.co

June Harper loves reading, and she s constantly grabbing book recommendations from her school librarian, Ms Bradshaw However, when her overprotective parents find a book they claim contains inappropriate content, they take drastic steps to curtain her reading Not only is her personal collection confiscated, but Ms Bradshaw is suspended, the school library is weeded for content, and students can only read pre approved materials.For June, the restrictions are impossible But after spotting a Little Free Library on her way to school, she hatches a plan to create her own library and soon realizes she s not the only one who covets the freedom to read.Author Allison Varnes deserves all the praise she can get for delivering such a solid piece of fiction that examines intellectual freedom and activism Central to this success is the character of June Harper, who Varnes paints as such a wonderfully likable character At first, she s a kid who doesn t want to cause disruptions, though she grows into leading a movement She s smart, funny, incredibly charming, and, I believe, highly relatable Relatability is important because June really grounds the story The sections dealing with the school administration and parents might sound melodramatic if June wasn t leading the action That s not to suggest the other characters aren t believable They are I can completely picture overprotective parents editing texts for their children and ousting librarians who don t conform to their agendas As extreme people, in turn, they feel like extreme characters But June pulls all the focus as she maneuvers all the issues of middle school, including relationships, while also tackling censorship.The story itself could easily fall into preachy territory in lesser hands, but here it feels like a full story mixed with a celebration of books June s actions are complicated and there s obvious inner turmoil She struggles with disobeying her parents while relishing in her role as the rebel librarian It s compelling For the best example of how gifted Varnes is as a storyteller, focus on the ending Without going into spoiler territory, it is a beautiful blend of catharsis capped with the realism of activism.Note I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.Review also posted at When in doubt, go to the library And if you don t have access to a rich and exciting library collection, do what June Harper does build your own June has always loved books, but when the adults in her life try to restrict her access to them, they become even precious and powerful Packed with kid power and super fun references to books middle grade readers know and love or will want to get to know parts of this story actually had me cheering out loud Fast paced, full of twists, lots of opportunity for discussion I predict this book will be topping a lot of library piles I had high hopes for this one Sadly, I was rather disappointed The premise was promising June, a seventh grade girl rebels when her both parents and the school she attends embark on a book censorship program However, the degree of their censorship was so extreme as to not be believable While I do realize that was, perhaps, the point a little junior Fahrenheit 451 I personally need a book to be believable in order for me to buy into the story It is difficult to imagine a librarian being laid off for providing students with books you are sure to find in most any public school library in America Neither could I buy her parents taking away every single book she owned and insisting on reading them before returning them to her bookshelves Had they not read any of them before Really Not a single one When the books are returned they have been edited entire pages ripped out and endings rewritten Anne Shirley serves bosom buddy Diana grape juice instead of raspberry cordial Old Yeller lives happily ever after, he is not shot when he becomes rabid This one I could see the left doing because of the mention of a shotgun Further, the dialogue between young June and her love interest are too good No one is that clever of a flirt, certainly not a pubescent girl with no previous dating experience It must be nice to have someone tell you what to say to the boy you pine after Cyrano de Bergerac On the positive side, this does serve as a testament to the power of literature Unfortunately, it is poorly executed due to its lack of believability I wish teenagers would go to such lengths in order to read but most are too busy with their electronic devices. If you are a book lover you have to read this book Interest Level 3 6What if someone told you what you could and couldn t read Would that be fair What if you got in major trouble for even having a book that was not endorsed by the school Would that be fair either The answer to both of those questions is NO Well, this is exactly what is happening to June Harper When she checks out a book from her school library that her parents deem inappropriate, it starts a snowball effect of bad things First, an amazing librarian is put on administrative leave second, a majority of library books were hauled out of the school library and third, kids are getting suspended for even having an unapproved book in their possession When June s parents take away ALL of her person books, she is left with only one book that she is forced to hide Then June comes across a a small house on top of a wooden post that says it is a Little Free Library June is ecstatic when she finds a book in there Little does she know that when she takes that book and many that she will break all the rules to defend the rite to read Not only is she dealing with all of this, she is also dealing with middle school problems like best friends and boys Will Ms Bradshaw, the school librarian, get her job back Will June get her first boyfriend, even at the expense of her best friend Most importantly, will June be able to make a difference with her parents, the school system, and the PTSA Will books still be banned or will June and all of the other students be able to read what they want This is a must read I have mentioned several times in my blogs that I am a fairly slow reader Normally it would take me several days to read a 275 page book Not this book I read this book in just a few hours Once I started I could not put it down I don t know if it s because it s such a fantastic book or if it s because this subject is a subject that I am passionate about Kids should have the right to read what they want and just because you and I may not like a book does not give us the right to judge it I was so proud of June and how she took a stand for the right to read even when it went against her good girl persona If you are a book lover this book is a must read Follow me Blog Blazer Tales Laurie s Library Place laurieslibrary Laurie Purser I finished this book in one sitting, staying up until one in the morning to do so It s a book about books And banned ones I was hooked I love the way Varnes did such a great job capturing the point of view of a middle school girl, especially one with such controlling parents She is frustrated, seeks their approval, is embarrassed by their actions, but loves them too They make a lot of parenting mistakes, but Varnes is careful to paint them carefully, taking care not to villainize them This book made me remember what it feels like to be twelve June captured my heart. When June s parents find her reading a book about witches, they suddenly go to extremes to control her reading choices Her dad is on the PTA, and he leads the charge to suspend the school librarian and clean the school library of any book that could be harmful to a child or cause them to actually THINK Even the books in June s own bookcase get a parental make over Pages are ripped out and notecards replace endings Old Yeller lives happily ever after Middle grade readers will connect with June s voice She s smart and funny the well behaved child who never causes trouble who suddenly finds herself running an illicit library out of an empty locker and supplying banned books to her middle school classmates In the back of the book is a list of books that have been banned or challenged Students will enjoy looking it over to see what they ve read PROPERTY OF THE REBEL LIBRARIAN is a must read for Banned Books Week and will make a great centerpiece for a school library display. First sentence You re going to read a lot about me and the things I ve done Most of it s true I can t help that, not that I d want to I would do the exact same thing all over again if I had the chance.Premise plot June Harper loves, loves, loves to read, but when her parents catch her reading her latest check out from the school library, The Makings of a Witch, her worst nightmare begins What is her worst nightmare It s not that she s grounded, though that does happen a lot in this one No, it s the fact that her parents strip her room of every single book, and not satisfied with that proceed to strip the school library of every single book as well.June Harper a book glutton finds herself cut off from every source But that won t stay the case She discovers a free little library on her walk to school She takes booksand shares them with other students Thus becoming the REBEL LIBRARIAN.My thoughts I think a perfect ending for Property of the Rebel Librarian would have been her sitting with her parents at breakfast and saying I HAD THE CRAZIEST DREAM LAST NIGHT AND YOU BOTH WERE IN IT IT WAS THE WEIRDEST THING ALL BOOKS BECAME BANNED OVERNIGHT AND READING BECAME A CRIMINAL OFFENSE IT WAS SO SCARY AND I COULDN T FORCE MYSELF TO WAKE UP THE WORST PART OF THE DREAM IS WHEN YOU RIPPED OUT PAGES FROM MY BOOKS.It had all the makings of a great TWILIGHT ZONE episode It was an eery alternate reality.Unfortunately, that s not the ending June Harper s reality is supposed to be believable to readers It wasn t Not even slightly Her parents weren t just following their own convictions and practicing their parental rights They were EVIL And they were good at it surprisingly good at it Somehow convincing the principal, the school board, the PTA, the rest of the staff, and a good percentage of the student body that BOOKS WERE BAD and that the LIBRARY needed to be closed indefinitely because it was SUPER DANGEROUS No one apparently argued against June s parents They were powerfully persuasive it seems The whole community was united in a goal to make sure that their kids never opened a book unless it was a textbook.A thoughtful, complex approach to the topic would have been a welcome read Do people find books offensive at times Yes From all walks of life Liberals Conservatives Atheists Christians Every shade of person in between Though it may be tempting to paint one stereotype of a book banner lunatic, it wouldn t be fair or realistic There is also a HUGE difference in my opinion between a book being assigned reading within a classroom AND a book being available on the shelf in the school library On the one hand, every student would have to read a book, and on the other hand any book read would be completely voluntary Some books circulate a lot Some books not at all.June s parents are generically opposed to books if there s an inner motivation behind their objection readers remain clueless They seek the removal of EVERY SINGLE BOOK in the school library so that the books can be evaluated for content No profanity, no drugs, no violence, no rock rap music, no witchcraft, no drinking, no smoking, no rebellion of any kind The list is generic but incomplete Did you notice what isn t included Sex or sexuality It seems odd that these two would have a vendetta against rock or rap music but be okay with the other And they re not consistently strict They care what June READS but not what she watches on TV.The book also fails to be believable in another way There seems to be no standards, guidelines, rules and procedures in place to deal with conflict and challenges I d be surprised at a library not having a collection development policy And the school and school board should have clear, written down procedures in place for what happens when a parent or concerned citizen objects to a book either a in the school library in general b in the classroom as an assigned reading It is plausible that a parent could object to ONE book being in the library collection and have it successfully removed At least temporarily removed until the conflict can be resolved and the book reevaluated But the idea that a parent could have every single library book removed from the library altogether and have the books boxed up and shipped out is beyond ridiculous.A book written that thoughtfully reflects a child s struggle in a difficult position would have been a great addition A child who loves, loves, loves to read and welcomes words like she does oxygen A child who loves her parents BUT doesn t understand their rules There is no genuine struggle for June Her parents are presented as that extremely evil You might as well hang a sign over their front door saying ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE. When seventh grader June Harper s parents decide her latest reading material is too inappropriate for her, they cause a chain reaction of events, from the firing of June s beloved librarian to the removal of almost all the books in the Dogwood Middle s library, to the new strict rules regarding what students can and cannot read Devastated by and fed up with the new rules, June soon starts an underground library at her school, using an empty locker to trade the bookish goods If discovered, June could lose everything and she must decide if the movement she s begun is worth the consequences Oh y all, I m so conflicted when it comes to Allison Varnes middle grade, Property of the Rebel Librarian With a premise with so much potential and power I wanted to love this book, but unfortunately, I found it disappointing I always like to start with the positives and Property of the Rebel Librarian certainly has those The premise and message about censorship, the power and importance of books, and staying true to one s self, are awesome, timely, relevant, and important and I applaud the author for tackling them The heroine, June Harper, is, for the most part, an admirable, relatable, and likable main character who has some real character development and growth My main issue with Property of the Rebel Librarian is how unbelievable the whole thing feels June s whole world feels so contrived and paper thin First, the characters, which are lacking when it comes to diversity, feel like they were all written to fit come cliched stereotypical boxes mean girl Check ultra hip girl in nineties band t shirts Check swoon worthy, dreamy, effortlessly cool boy who always knows what to say Check average, girl next door girl who has multiple boys fawning over her Check Young readers are going to see right through these characters and think middle schoolers don t sound, act, or think like this If this were set in some kind of Stepford Wives Fahrenheit 451 dystopian then the extremes it goes to when it comes to the censorship, book banning, and jumping on the bandwagon would make sense, but it s not and it doesn t The extremes that June s parents, the principle, the PTSA, and school go to and the extreme lack of questioning by anyone are so extreme it s actually ridiculous And again, young readers, who are so smart, are going to realize this And then there s June s parents and oh boy are they awful Like, they come across as truly awful, lacking in any sense kind of peopleand they are NOT supposed to be seen that way I truly believe they re meant to come across as loving parents who are trying to do what s best for their daughter, but just make some mistakes But y all, they take June s books and edit out any of the deemed inappropriate stuff they rewrote the ending of Old Yeller and edit Anne of Green Gables Anne of freaking Green Gables They are so controlling of June and her older sister who is in college that they feel like they can tell their girls what they can and can t study or major in And June can t read Harry Potter or watch the movies, but she can read The Crucible and watch Jaws How does that make any sense June and her sister are absolutely terrified of making mistakes and disappointing their parents This is NOT a healthy parent child relationship, but it s treated as if it is Again, this premise and the book s message or so great, but the execution and delivery are severely lacking I don t ever want to discourage a kid from reading a book and I think there are younger readers who will like Property of the Rebel Librarian, but overall, there are SO many other wonderful middle grade books out there that I would put in their hands first. When Twelve Year Old June Harper S Parents Discover What They Deem An Inappropriate Library Book, They Take Strict Parenting To A Whole New Level And Everything June Loves About Dogwood Middle School Unravels Librarian Ms Bradshaw Is Suspended, An Author Appearance Is Canceled, The Library Is Gutted, And All Books On The Premises Must Have Administrative Approval But June Can T Give Up Books And She Realizes She Doesn T Have To When She Spies A Little Free Library On Her Walk To School As The Rules Become Stricter At School And At Home, June Keeps Turning The Pages Of The Banned Books That Continue To Appear In The Little Library It S A Delicious Secret And One She Can T Keep To Herself June Starts A Banned Book Library Of Her Own In An Abandoned Locker At School The Risks Grow Alongside Her Library S Popularity, And A Movement Begins At Dogwood Middle A Movement That, If Exposed, Could Destroy Her But If It S Powerful Enough, Maybe It Can Save Ms Bradshaw And All That She Represents The Freedom To ReadEqual Parts Fun And Empowering, This Novel Explores Censorship, Freedom Of Speech, And Activism For Any Kid Who Doesn T Believe One Person Can Effect Change And For All The Kids Who Already Know They Can I am so grateful that I got to read an ARC of this book I absolutely loved everything about Rebel Librarian This was an easy read and I was hooked from the beginning I can t wait to get copies for my library and share this with students.Awesome job, Allison Varnes