The Year They Burned the Books
By Nancy Garden
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374386672, 256pp.)
Publication Date: September 1, 1999
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By the author of Annie on My Mind
When Wilson High Telegraph editor Jamie Crawford writes an opinion piece in support of the new sex-ed curriculum, which includes making condoms available to high school students, she has no idea that a huge controversy is brewing. Lisa Buel, a school board member, is trying to get rid of the health program, which she considers morally flawed, from its textbooks to its recommendations for outside reading. The newspaper staff find themselves in the center of the storm, and things are complicated by the fact that Jamie is in the process of coming to terms with being gay, and her best friend, Terry, also gay, has fallen in love with a boy whose parents are anti-homosexual. As Jamie's and Terry's sexual orientation becomes more obvious to other studetns, it looks as if the paper they're fighting to keep alive and honest is going to be taken away from them. Nancy Garden has depicted a contemporary battleground in a novel that probes deep into issues of censorship, prejudice, and ethics.
Nancy Garden is the author of young adult novels including Annie on My Mind and Endgame. She is also the author of the YA nonfiction book Hear Us Out!, as well as novels for children and the picture book Molly's Family. Garden was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and has lived most of her life in New England and New York. She spent her early adult years working in theater, doing office work, teaching, and editing. During that time, she wrote in the evenings, on weekends, and on vacations, as well as at odd moments while working. Now she writes as close to full-time as possible. When she isn't writing, visiting schools, or making speeches, she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, the outdoors, and anything to do with dogs. She has received the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Lambda Book Award and the Robert Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. She and her partner of over twenty years divide their time between small towns in Massachusetts and Maine.