Every year, the American Library Association publishes a list of banned and challenged books. Banned books are books that have been removed from library shelves because they are deemed unreadable for particular audiences. This is most common in public school libraries, where parents will challenge books that have various content they do not approve of. The book is then reviewed by a board and they decide whether or not to leave it on the shelves. YA dystopian novels are commonly featured on the banned books list. Titles such as Brave New World, The Hunger Games, The Giver and Fahrenheit 451 have all been on the list a number of times.
My independent reading novel, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, was not on the ALA banned book list, although there have been some sources claiming that the book has been on a ‘commonly challenged list’. Within the story itself, however, books and poems that promote the idea of love are banned from society. The government in the fictional society also censors the media and songs to ensure that the idea of love is not promoted in their society. In addition, Oliver participated in a YouTube live video a couple of years ago in which she discusses banned books and censorship. I am interested to learn more about Oliver’s motives for such active warning against censorship. Is it to promote sales for her books by making teens think they are being rebellious by reading explicit content, or is Oliver worried about our current society?
The idea for my research paper is to understand why censorship still plays a role in society when so many authors, such as Lauren Oliver and Ray Bradbury, have warned us from extensive censorship. Additionally, I want to understand what makes YA dystopian novels so dangerous in particular. Is it the idea of rebellion, profanity, the sexual content, or a combination of each of these elements?
Peters, Patricia. “Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books.” American Library Association, August