The Year They Burned the Books: A Review

The Year They Burned the Booksby Nancy Garden

My Rating: 4 Stars!

Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media

Publish Date: September 5th, 2017

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon


From the author of Annie on My Mind comes an unflinching novel about prejudice, censorship, and homophobia in a New England town.

As the editor in chief of the Wilson High Telegraph, senior Jamie Crawford is supposed to weigh in on the cutting-edge issues that will interest students in her school. But when she writes an opinion piece in support of the new health curriculum—which includes safe-sex education and making condoms available to students—she has no idea how much of a controversy she’s stepped into.

A conservative school board member has started a war against the new curriculum, and now—thanks to Jamie’s editorial—against the newspaper as well. As Jamie deals with the fallout and comes to terms with her own sexuality, the school and town become a battleground for clashing opinions. Now, Jamie and the students at Wilson need to find another way to express their beliefs before prejudice, homophobia, and violence define their small town.

Opening Sentence: “Despite a foggy beginning, it had become too nice a day—a soft September afternoon—to be cooped up arguing in the Wilson High Telegraph’s tiny office.”


We need to see more books like this on our shelves. Books that talk about a group of people standing up for their beliefs despite a heavy opposition where even those people that you are supposed to respect oppose you on a fundamental level. This book covers censorship and the value of opposing opinions and how someone who holds power can often cause a lot of harm disguised by supposed good intentions.

I really enjoyed having this story be about high school students hosting a newspaper and deciding to talk about an issue that starts a controversy that goes deeper then they could have thought. It is a novel for the modern generation, a generation that struggles to find the lines between new and old belief and where the lines should be crossed.

The Year They Burned the Books is a novel that will inspire your rebel side and give yourself something beautiful to believe in. We can be a change for our communities. You don’t ever have to give up in the face of opposition.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below. What is something you believe in?

-Till next time!