According to data compiled by the American Library Association, it was the most frequently challenged book among school libraries nationwide in 2017, in part due to a Netflix adaptation of the same name.
Citing the potential to help identify students struggling with mental health issues, the school board voted unanimously to keep 13 Reasons Why.
Written by Jesse Andrews and first published in 2012, “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is about a trio of high school students, one of whom has leukemia. In addition to teenage drug use, the book contains profanity throughout the novel and includes discussion of the characters’ sexual acts. It has been available at the Bixby High School Library since 2017.
The committee’s recommendation to keep “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” was upheld by a 3-2 vote. Although Dodson voted not to remove “13 Reasons Why” from the libraries, he and Justin Cheatham voted against keeping the “Dying Girl” book, in part because of sections that would cause problems for students if quoted in class.
“How would a committee of 9th graders see this book? asked Dodson. “I’ve heard a few people say, … ‘I wouldn’t want my child to read this.’ This book has been reviewed by a committee of adults versus a real committee of students, who might have a radically different perspective.