Banned Book Club

Kim Hyun Sook, Ryan Estrada with Hyung-Ju Ko (Illustrator)

nonfiction biography comics graphic novel history young adult
challenging emotional reflective fast-paced

192 pages

A Junior Library Guild Selection

"Highly recommended for readers passionate about activism." -- SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, Starred Review

"Sure to inspire today's youthful generation of tenacious changemakers." -- BOOKLIST, Starred Review

"The messages of hope are universal." -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, Starred Review

"It's hard to imagine a world where Banned Book Club could be more relevant than it is right now." -- A.V. CLUB

When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983 she was ready for her world to open up. After acing her exams and sort-of convincing her traditional mother that it was a good idea for a woman to go to college, she looked forward to soaking up the ideas of Western Literature far from the drudgery she was promised at her family's restaurant. But literature class would prove to be just the start of a massive turning point, still focused on reading but with life-or-death stakes she never could have imagined.

This was during South Korea's Fifth Republic, a military regime that entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and the murder of protestors. In this charged political climate, with Molotov cocktails flying and fellow students disappearing for hours and returning with bruises, Hyun Sook sought refuge in the comfort of books. When the handsome young editor of the school newspaper invited her to his reading group, she expected to pop into the cafeteria to talk about Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Scarlet Letter. Instead she found herself hiding in a basement as the youngest member of an underground banned book club. And as Hyun Sook soon discovered, in a totalitarian regime, the delights of discovering great works of illicit literature are quickly overshadowed by fear and violence as the walls close in.

In BANNED BOOK CLUB, Hyun Sook shares a dramatic true story of political division, fear-mongering, anti-intellectualism, the death of democratic institutions, and the relentless rebellion of reading.

What the community thinks

summary of 163 ratings (see reviews)

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Moods

informative 78%
inspiring 53%
challenging 51%
tense 41%
emotional 36%
reflective 36%
hopeful 29%
dark 26%
adventurous 17%
funny 7%
sad 7%

Pace

fast 69%
medium 28%
slow 2%

Average rating

4.22