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Americus

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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,014 ratings  ·  207 reviews
Neal Barton just wants to read in peace. Unluckily for him, some local Christian activists are tryingto get his favorite fantasy series banned from the Americus public library on grounds of immoral content and heresy. Something has to be done, and it looks like quiet, shy Neal is going to have to do it. With youth services librarian Charlotte Murphy at his back, Neal finds ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by First Second
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(showing 1-30 of 2,195)
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Sesana
Neil Barton hates his small town, Americus. He uses his love of books as a shield to keep the rest of the world at bay. And then his best friend's mother starts a campaign to get the Apathea Ravenchilde books, Neil's favorite series, pulled from the local library.

I'm of two minds about this book. On one hand, Reed went for the most over-the-top possible book banning scenario. And yet, that doesn't make it any less realistic of a scenario. Sure, most censorship attempts are far calmer, but if yo
...more
Caris
First Second Books is, by far, my favorite graphic novel publisher. They put out highly-accessible literary fiction. I appreciate that, as I’m not really into superheroes or ninjas or whatever. There have been a couple of their books (such as this one and the superb Feynman) that make me wonder why they were rendered in a graphic format at all. But that’s only as I’m reading them. My brain, foolishly, associates the artwork with action, and there’s very little action in these titles. By the end, ...more
Sharon
Not that I'm biased or anything, but books with cool librarians who try to fend off overly-religious book challenges have a special place in my affections. The bible-thumper half of town gets up in arms about a fantasy book series, and their book-banning is the frame for a young man's journey through freshman year. Homophobia, rural drug use and single mom anxiety all make an appearance. Keep your eye on secondary characters; they seem to pop back up later.

The characters here are mostly one dim
...more
First Second Books
We're so excited to be publishing this book for banned book day. It's got small towns and censorship and kids working in the library and helping their community! Oh, and girls in shop class.

What more could you ask for?
Raina
Really enjoyed the art and writing. Would have liked to see the right-leaning characters in the book depicted with a few shades of gray, but still found a lot to enjoy in seeing the day-to-day life of the protagonist.
Stephen
Trust me, just skip it. You know how you occassionally take a chance on a book that has a bouncy description in your monthly Previews comic book shop order without any knowledge of the artist or the writer? Well, I took a chance on this one and I regret it.

Artwise, everything is serviceable. Storywise, this thing blows.

The protagonist has nothing to do in his small town except read a female-centric fantasy series. I look at this character and wonder if it is the town that is boring and lifel
...more
Jim
While primarily about censorship, this graphic novel touches on other important issues, too - like what many LGBT young people face with their families. It was an interesting story, and I really enjoyed the fantasy novel interspersed with the other narrative.

I think the primary villain was a bit one-dimensional, though. I realize this is a comic book, but it seems like even in the confines of a graphic novel, we can make the villain more complex. True, these types of people do tend to be shallo
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Anne
I really enjoyed this. Yes, it's a drastically oversimplified version of the library reconsideration of materials process, and yes, the angry religious parents trying to ban a fantasy series from the town library are entirely one-dimensional. I also take issue with the librarian who claims to have personally read every book in her library (I am a librarian, and I doubt I'm in a double-digits percent on that one). However, I do not take issue with how awesome the librarian character is, or the ge ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This has to be one of the best graphic novels I've read yet. The story is told from the point of view of Neil, a teen who's on the verge of entering high school, who is shorter than most of the boys his age, and the frequent victim of bullies. The two things that save him are his friend Danny and books, especially a series of fantasy novels about a character named Apathea Ravenchilde. Unfortunately, Danny's mother discovers him reading the book and launches an intense and fanatical Christian cam ...more
Moe
I think that this book portrayed a modernized view of what has been happening since the start of time. People have been trying to convert people to their religion. I sometimes ponder whether radical Christians really follow the bible themselves. They go through lengthy protests of shouting and bickering, but do they really ultimately follow Jesus themselves? I think that we, humans, are always unknowingly trying to cling to something like Jesus to feel that we are not going to wither away, not g ...more
Traci Haley
I REALLY liked this book. I could relate to the story quite well, since I live in a small time and, during my time of working at the local library, dealt with a lot of people who felt like Harry Potter was evil. This story is like a love letter to us "weirdos" with good imaginations and the librarians who inspire and understand us. Bravo!
Edward Sullivan
A mostly unsuccessful attempt to poke fun at book banning. Too heavy-handed to be effective.
Jean-christophe Boudreau
Americus is certainly a graphic novel that will make you feel various emotions as you read through it. The story basically has the do with the main character as he starts to find his voice and define who he is. Americus covers a lot of topic such as religion and sexuality as well what the affects of those things on personal relations and what their views or thoughts on those topics are. This was a joy to read and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a graphic novel they can relate in terms o ...more
Minli
Neal is your typical fourteen-year-old fantasy-reader in rural Oklahoma--quiet, self-effaced, nose always in a book. He reads fantasy because it allows him to experience justice in ways real life doesn't, especially as his best friend Danny is being shipped off to military school just before the start of ninth grade.

Danny's extremely vocal and conservative mother leads a contingent to ban the most popular fantasy series at the library on the grounds that it has corrupted her son. Pertinent to cu
...more
Jason
This is, without exaggeration, high among the best graphic novels I’ve ever read, and I’ve been reading them for decades.

For starters, Hill’s art is remarkably expressive and evocative, with loads of telling detail packed into each panel. He uses a crisp, clear style that keeps our eyes on the page and ensures that the story moves at an appropriately swift clip.

And what a brilliant, openhearted, beautiful story Reed tells us. It ostensibly details the battle that ensues in a small, largely con
...more
Mark
"It breaks my heart that this is happening in another town. The Ravenchilde books are the best thing to happen to literacy practically since the alphabet was invented. I've seen kids completely transformed once they start reading Apathea. Overnight, they're avid readers. They dramatically improve in school, and become more intellectually curious. These books keep their imaginations alive. That's priceless."

Neil Barton feels like an outcast in his small town of Americus, Oklahoma. His best friend
...more
Wandering Librarians
Neil and Danny are growing up in a small American town. Their favorite books are a fantasy series called The Adventures of Apathea Ravenchilde. Unfortunately, Danny's mother hates the series, and forbids Danny to read it, saying that reading about witches is blasphemous. When he's caught reading the newest book, Danny gets set off to military school, and now Danny's mother is trying to get the town library to ban the whole series.

When I first heard about this book, I was intrigued but cautious.
...more
Emilia P
This book, clearly, had a checklist of things going for it. It was about libraries! It was about teens! It was decently drawn! (Ok just decently. I thought it was pretty derivative of Scott Pilgrim-type but slightly less manga-infused stuff. Kinda sharp and pointy but repetitive/not-challenging).

BUT GOOD LORD. When the closest thing you do to character development is make all the blonde fat people bad (and also Christian *boo hiss* .. and oh wait also homophobic!) and all the skinny black haired
...more
Karin
When Neal’s best friend, Danny, is caught reading the latest release in The Adventures of Apathea Ravenchilde series he is sent to military school (the announcement at dinner that he is gay probably adds to that decision, too). His mother doesn’t think that is enough though and decides to try and save all the people in Americus, Oklahoma from the “smut” being housed in the public library.

Neal gets a good look at both sides of the censorship issue when he becomes a page at the local library. Ther
...more
Andy Shuping
Neil Barton is your typical average teenager about to start high school...in other words he's a bit awkward, not really sure how to interact with girls, and still trying to find out who he is. But he is sure of one thing, "The Chronicles of Apathea Ravenchilde," is his favorite book series and he can't wait to read the latest volume. There's just one problem...his best friend's mom thinks that it's promoting witchcraft and wants it banned from the library! So in addition to trying to make new fr ...more
Holly
Americus is graphic novel about a teenager making his way through a world of competing moralities, but without much ambiguity about which side might be right. The way the characters are drawn tells half the story and either (1) reveals the authors/artists' own prejudices or (2) tells you how our hero is experiencing them. I prefer to think of it as the latter, because the former just makes me feel too manipulated, like the pro-Christian comics I used to read as a kid, except with an opposite bia ...more
Stefanie
This one's a tough one to review. While I loved the victorious tale of a fight against book-banning, I almost felt offended at times at some of the jokes made at Christians' expense that really did nothing to further the story but rather just made all Christians look like angry raving lunatics with no regard for literature at all. I love the main character, and I love the librarian, but all the Christians in this book are horrible people, and that's not realistic at all. There are many Christian ...more
Ricki
In the small town of Americus, Oklahoma, two families are divided regarding a fantasy series in the library. Some of the more conservative parents work to ban the book, while the librarian and a shy boy, Neal, work to keep it from being censored.

I enjoyed reading this graphic novel, but it didn't have much depth for me. I thought the topic was important and relevant, but I felt as if it was written for adults, rather than young adults. Much of the story focused on the parents instead of the tee
...more
Rosa
Neal's best friend gets sent away to camp followed by military school right after the boys graduate middle school due to Steve's ultra conservative parents. Steve's mother then begins a vendetta against Charlotte the local librarian and the boys favorite books, fantasy series that involves witch craft and dragons.
We follow Neal as he gets the hang of becoming himself and being in high school. We also see how different characters react to the books.

It's a great book and I loved it. The artwork c
...more
Sarah
A sweet and thoughtful graphic novel about book banning, perfect for teens, that suffers from TERRIBLE cover art and a confusing title.

Seriously. The cover makes it seem like it will be a serious adult graphic novel, then what's inside is a realistic YA story about crazy religious nutbags trying to ban a Harry Potter-esque book from the local library while a loner teen tries to figure himself out amidst the chaos. I loved the story. But I still don't know why it is called Americus. No clue.

I w
...more
Adriana
4.5/5 Stars

I happened to read this book during Banned Books Week. Coincidence? Maybe. Effective? Definitely.

This is a fantastic story of a young boy, Neil, who has to stand up for the only thing he's ever believed in: books. Not only do we get to see the arguments of Christian extremists as they try to ban an epic saga of YA fantasy novels, but we get to see how one story has the power to connect people of all ages for a wide variety of reasons. Interspersed between all of this, Neil is struggli
...more
Spencer
This was so heavy handed i wanted to puke. is there a YA book that includes both heroic and sinister gays? That includes both heroic and sinister Christians? Where 90% of small town people arent mostly idiots? Where the librarian is a jerk? That contains a storyline about a book that should legitimately be banned? Is there a book that dares to mess with these sacred cows? A YA book that is intended to challenge ones thinking instead of patting the reader on the back?
Robin Conley
I really enjoyed this graphic novel. I honestly had no idea what it was about when I grabbed it, it just looked good, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's a graphic novel about censorship, among other things, and I think it handles the topic well.

The really neat thing about this story is that it has so many plot elements going on. Most graphic novels do have at least a subplot or two, but this story had enough it really made me notice, and they all flowed together really well. I also enjoyed the
...more
Nick
This is an outstanding graphic novel on a lot of issues, ranging from family life to censorship. Where it really hits its stride is in its discussion of where beliefs and and censorship begins.
In a small town, two somewhat nerdy teens are graduating middle school and spending their spare time reading. Over the course of the next few months their families, the town librarian and several others get caught up in a kerfuffle about their favorite books.
I think I might have given the book a fifth sta
...more
Mary
I liked this graphic novel about a community book challenge told mostly from the point of view of a high school freshmen who loves the series being challenged. The book challengers were portrayed without complexity and I think that makes the situation appear more simplistic than actual book challenges can be in a community. The drawings and dialogue work well together to tell the story.
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MK Reed is a cartoonist currently living in Brooklyn, NY. Her book “Americus,” drawn by Jonathan Hill, is currently being serialized at SaveApathea.com.

She also is a contributor to The Beat and Publisher’s Weekly.
More about M.K. Reed...
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