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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,175 ratings  ·  361 reviews
Neal Barton just wants to read in peace. Unluckily for him, some local Christian activists are trying to 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 ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published August 30th 2011 by First Second
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,175 ratings  ·  361 reviews

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I thought this book was good. It was also heavy handed on the issue of censorship. Instead of taking an issue and letting the reader decide what they think by showing all sides, the perspective is from that of the author and the author gives us what to think.

I am against censorship and I am for free speech. There was no nuance about this issue. I know there are people out there like this, but only showing them in their small minded selves doesn't really help. I like that the book is a fantasy
May 01, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Dec 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
First Second Books
Jul 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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?
Jan 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-books
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 ...more
Stefanie Kellum
Oct 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
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 ...more
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
"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
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
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Maarit by: Matti Karjalainen
Excellent story, which just takes a hold of you and will not let go until the very last page. The life of a fourteen year old isn't an easy thing, especially when you need to stand up and support the thing you like most, in this case a book series, reading and libraries. Maybe the religious people were a bit overly lunaticly portrayed, but still the situation they caused rang very true (unfortunately), though those kinds of things don't happen in here at that level, fortunately. Anyway, one of ...more
Wow! This graphic novel managed to be anxiety, anger and hope inducing, sad and cozy all in the same book. The sadest thing is that I can't quite shelve this here as 'dystopia'. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves reading in general..and especially if you love reading about reading and books! :)

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 ...more
Skye Kilaen
Neal Barton has two problems. One, he's a fantasy-loving smart liberal kid trapped in a scary little Christian conservative town. Two, he he has a super-negative attitude towards life. The attitude may well be an effect of the town, but as various people around him gently point out, it's keeping him from enjoying the good things there are in his life.

In fairly quick succession, three things happen to change Neal's life. His gay best friend is sent to military school by his conservative parents.
Emilia P
Apr 09, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comic-books
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
Jan 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2015
I liked this. It was cute, and really funny at times. I thought it was endearing seeing our main character grow up, and defend his beloved book. I also thought his friendship with the librarian was really cute, also with his mom. I feel like this graphic novel just was really heart-warming for me, especially at the end when everyone was talking about why books are important to them. Before the end I probably would have given it a 2, because I wasn't necessarily interested during the whole thing, ...more
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Admittedly, I read this a while ago. I don't even recall when, but I saw this getting poor reviews, and I just wanted to say that when I read this book, I loved it. It was first available online, but I ended up buying the print edition, because I enjoyed it so much. Unfortunately, so did my daughter, who took it off to college with her.

The story is of a boy who is reading a novel (as sort of series like Harry Potter, but with women who are powerful) that the local town parents think is too
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 8th-grade
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 ...more
Edward Sullivan
A mostly unsuccessful attempt to poke fun at book banning. Too heavy-handed to be effective.
John of Canada
Aug 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Yay for the librarian.Boo for everything/body else in this timewaster.
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh I loved it. This is exactly why I want to be a librarian. ...more
Americus is one of the best graphic novels I have read in recent years. I have been meaning to read it for nearly five years, so I am glad I finally managed to catch up with it today. Set in the ficticious town of Americus, the plot centres around a young guy, Neil, who has just started high school in the US (Year 9) and his life. Neil and his best friend, Danny, are ardent fans of a book series called The Adventures of Apathea Ravenchilde (a thinly veiled Harry Potter lookalike). Danny's mum ...more
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
Jan 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 07, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
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.
Stewart Tame
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is perhaps a bit light, but it's intelligently written, and it deals with censorship, which is one of those topics I'm often interested in reading about. This is one of those coming of age stories. Neil Barton is graduating from middle school in a small Oklahoma town. He and his best friend are the class nerds, reading the latest fantasy novels and generally getting picked on. And then his friend gets sent away for the summer and then off to military school after being caught reading the ...more
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Sep 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-books
First a qualifier - I think graphic novels are just not my genre. I try reading them because my kids love them so much, but I think I still don't "get" them. The only ones I have really liked are the historical ones, like Maus and Persepolis.

This book was about a couple of teen boys and their love of a fantasy book series. This series ends up causing a lot of controversy in his small Oklahoma town of Americus. One boy gets sent away to boarding school to get him away from "corrupting
With a complimentary cover, Americus is a town in middle America that is dealing with a book challenge. Christian families are up-in-arms about a young adult book series with un-Christian themes and they want it banned. But a public library, their librarian, and a boy are willing to stand up for their fREADom to read.

I enjoyed the political sides of the struggle, the conundrum of a Board in making a decision while hearing both sides, and all those willing to stand up for their beliefs (on both
May 12, 2012 rated it liked it
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 ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #90: Americus by M.K. Reed 1 2 Sep 26, 2013 11:07PM  

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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

She also is a contributor to The Beat and Publisher’s Weekly.
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