Release Date: 17th September 2019
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Add it: Goodreads
Clara Evans is horrified when she discovers her principal’s “prohibited media” hit list. The iconic books on the list have been pulled from the library and aren’t allowed anywhere on the school’s premises. Students caught with the contraband will be sternly punished.
Many of these stories have changed Clara’s life, so she’s not going to sit back and watch while her draconian principal abuses his power. She’s going to strike back.
So Clara starts an underground library in her locker, doing a shady trade in titles like Speak and The Chocolate War. But when one of the books she loves most is connected to a tragedy she never saw coming, Clara’s forced to face her role in it.
Will she be able to make peace with her conflicting feelings, or is fighting for this noble cause too tough for her to bear?
I picked up Suggested Reading because it said it was perfect for fans of Moxie (which I haven’t read yet but I feel like it’s one of those books that I should connect with, ya know?) and I was like “YES! A bookworm fights the system!” So I was super hyped. Unfortunately I was disappointed.
I had multiple issues with Suggested Reading, and they all began because I just could not connect with the writing style. First of all, it was all over the place. You know that writing style that feels really bitty and disconnected and unedited? That’s what this was. I struggled to follow the plot because the writing style just didn’t flow.
Secondly, there was Clara, the main character. I realise that she’s an avid reader, but her thought process was also really hard to follow, because she kept going on about this fictional book (Don’t Tread on Me) and referencing it. But, you know, it’s fictional, so I had no idea what the heck she was talking about. She also didn’t seem that enthusiastic about her own underground library, and instead spent a lot of time judging her friends for their (lack of) reading choices.
Thirdly, all the characters in this book loved The Catcher in the Rye. I absolutely despise that book, and I really wish authors would stop going on about it as a classic that changes peoples lives, because it doesn’t. Most of the people I know hate it.
I really feel like this book was disconnected from the teen experience. I don’t think anyone would be sneaking around to read Catcher, but instead a teenager is more likely to want to get stuck into The Hunger Games, or something a bit more modern. Apparently Sarah J. Maas’ books are flying off the shelves. Who knew? (We did.)
I guess I’m here for the general premise (FIGHT THE SYSTEM), but the execution overall was poor.