Read with the Banned

Here is an assortment of teen books that have been banned or challenged in cities or schools around the United States. Often, the books are reinstated or a challenge does not win and the book remains available for the public.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Reasons: offensive language; racism, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

High school junior Kristina battles an addiction to drugs in this powerful novel in verse. Reasons: drugs, offensive language and sexually explicit

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Feeling like she does not fit in with the other members of her family, who are all thin, brilliant, and good-looking, fifteen-year-old Virginia tries to deal with her self-image, her first physical relationship, and her disillusionment with some of the people closest to her. Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group.

Geography Club by Brent Harbinger

Gay and lesbian teenagers find mutual support when they form the "Geography Club" at their high school. Banned or challenged in various schools, including one in Wisconsin.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

A contemporary teen novel about love and loss at a boarding school, it won the 2006 Printz award for excellence in young adult literature. In 2012, it was banned from the Sumner County, Tennessee schools required reading list for "inappropriate language."

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Three brothers struggle to stay together after their parents' death, as they search for an identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society in which they find themselves "outsiders." Challenged in schools multiple times because “drug and alcohol abuse was common” in the novel and “virtually all the characters were from broken homes.”

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Most people think 15-year-old Charlie is a freak. Seniors Patrick and his beautiful stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wings and introduce him to heir eclectic, open-minded, hard-partying friends. It is from these older kids that Charlie learns to live and love, until a repressed secret from his past threatens to destroy his newfound happiness. Reasons: Drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide and unsuited to age group.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school. Often censored or challenged because it tells of a rape of the protagonist, Melinda Sordino, and the author mentions self-harm.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

When seventeen-year-old Bella leaves Phoenix to live with her father in Forks, Washington, she meets an exquisitely handsome boy at school for whom she feels an overwhelming attraction and who she comes to realize is not wholly human. Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence.

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher

Intellectually and athletically gifted, TJ, a multiracial, adopted teenager, shuns organized sports and the gung-ho athletes at his high school until he agrees to form a swimming team and recruits some of the school's less popular students. Reasons: Racism and offensive language.

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

Sophie describes her relationships with a series of boys as she searches for Mr. Right. Reasons: Sexual content and being unsuited to age group.

When It Happens by Susan Colasanti

A contemporary love story, told in alternating p.o.v.'s of the main characters, about first love, a first real relationship and the first time. Challenged in 2013 for "explicit content."