The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold--challenged dates, most to least recent:
Moved to the faculty section of the John W. McDevitt Middle School library in Waltham, Mass. (2008) because its content was too frightening for middle school students. Source: May 2008, p.
97. (from ALA)
Moved to the faculty section of the John W. McDevitt Middle School library in Waltham, Mass. (2008) because its content was too frightening for middle school students. Source: May 2008, p. 97. (from ALA)
Challenged at the Coleytown Middle School Library in Westport, Conn. (2007). The school superintendent acknowledged that the book is "for mature readers" and also acknowledged that "the book is appropriate to be part of a middle school library collection serving students from ages 11-14, many of whom possess the maturity level to read this book." Source: Mar. 2007, p. 71. (from ALA)
I think that this book is important for kids of middle school and high school age to read because (as I stated in my review) they need to be aware of what can happen and to take caution. Predators like the villain in The Lovely Bones are out in the world and, as I've stated before, we can't shield our kids from the truths of our world. They will find out for themselves soon enough and being informed is the best preparation. (You can read my review of The Lovely Bones HERE)
About the book (from Library Thing):
My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer. This is Susie Salmon. Watching from heaven, Susie sees her happy suburban family devastated by her death, isolated even from one another as they each try to cope with their terrible loss alone. Over the years, her friends and siblings grow up, fall in love, do all the things she never had the chance to do herself. But life is not quite finished with Susie yet ..."The Lovely Bones" is a luminous and astonishing novel about life and death, forgiveness and vengeance, memory and forgetting - but, above all, about finding light in the darkest of places.
Sebold was born in Madison, Wisconsin. She grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and graduated from Great Valley High School in Malvern, Pennsylvania in 1980. She then enrolled in Syracuse University. Sebold was finishing her freshman year at Syracuse University when she was raped while walking home through a park off campus. She reported the crime to the police, who remarked that a young woman had once been murdered in the same location. Thus, they told her, she was "lucky."
Alice Sebold's first published book, many years in the making, was a memoir of her rape as an eighteen-year-old college freshman. She later returned to Syracuse University, the scene of the rape, and finished her degree. She studied writing, and wanted to write her story then, but kept failing. "I wrote tons of bad poetry about it and a couple of bad novels about it--lots of bad stuff," Sebold told Dennis McLellan of the Los Angeles Times. She explained to McLellan why the novels were not successful: "I felt the burden of trying to write a story that would encompass all rape victims' stories and that immediately killed the idea of this individual character in the novel. So [the novels] tended to be kind of fuzzy and bland, and I didn't want to make any political missteps."
While at UCI, Sebold began writing Lucky, a memoir of her rape. The police had told Sebold that she was lucky to be alive; not long before Sebold's attack, another young woman had been killed and dismembered in the same tunnel. The story began while writing a ten-page assignment, though Sebold eventually wrote 40 pages for her class.
After Lucky, Sebold published the bestselling novel The Lovely Bones. The book is a novel about a 14-year-old girl who is raped, murdered and dismembered. The main character tells her story from her personalized version of Heaven, looking down as her family tries to cope with her death and her killer escapes the police. While working on The Lovely Bones in 1995, Sebold met her husband Glen David Gold at UCI. He arrived late for one of his classes and couldn't take his hat off, and they began talking. They were married in November 2001.
In an interview conducted by Ann Darby of Publishers Weekly, Sebold said of The Lovely Bones: "I was motivated to write about violence because I believe it's not unusual. I see it as just a part of life, and I think we get in trouble when we separate people who've experienced it from those who haven't. Though it's a horrible experience, it's not as if violence hasn't affected many of us."
Sebold's second novel, The Almost Moon, continued what The New Yorker called "Sebold's fixation on terror." It begins: "When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily."
Sebold won the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award for Adult Fiction in 2003 for The Lovely Bones and the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel in 2002. She was also nominated in the Novel category in that year. Sebold is an alumna of the Ragdale Foundation.