Challenged, but retained on the Chesterfield County (VA) Public Schools' (CCPS) summer reading lists for middle and high school students. Parents called the book "pornographic" and filled with "vile, vile, nasty language." The novel is a love story between two misfit teenagers in Nebraska. In response to the controversy, state senator Amanda Chase said the books on the original lists were "pornographic" and "trash." She said that librarians who continued to recommend books that were inconsistent with CCPS' "core values" should be "dismissed" after a warning and that the offending books should be removed from school libraries. In the spring of 2016, a bill (HB 516) passed by the Virginia General Assembly, and vetoed by the governor, would have required parental notification of any work deemed "sexually explicit." The same matter was reviewed by the Virginia Board of Education, which overwhelmingly voted to deny similar regulations, citing the lack of definition of the term "sexually explicit." The board stated that this was a matter for local policy, not a state board. A similar bill (HB 2191) has been introduced in 2017.
Retained, despite a challange by the chairman of the Anoka-Hennepin (MN) School Board because parents of a student objected to the book's contents, citing its use of profanity and its treatment of sexuality. The Anoka County Library had scheduled a visit by the author, but the event was cancelled due to the controversy. Set in a poor Omaha neighborhood, the story concerns two outsider teens in the 1980s who find a common bond in music amidst poverty, bullying, abuse, racism, and budding sexuality.
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