Pennsylvania’s Most Infamous Challenged and Banned Books

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Remember when your parents would tell you: “Go read a book, learn something.”  Well, World Book Day is Tuesday, April 23. Read a book, learn something.

To acknowledge the day, took a break from PA sportsbooks and decided to see which banned or challenged books are searched most by Pennsylvanians.

Starting with a list of the top 13 most banned and challenged books, according to the American Library Association, we used Google Trends to see how often those books were searched in Pennsylvania. The search period was between March 8-April 8, 2024. Here are the books:

Pennsylvania’s Most Popular Banned Books

RankBookAuthorSearch Interest Score
1A Court of Mist and FurySarah J. Maas34
2Out of DarknessAshley Hope Perez31
3The Bluest EyeToni Morrison15
4CrankEllen Hopkins10
5Gender QueerMaia Kobabe6
6Looking for AlaskaJohn Green5
T-7The Perks of Being a WallflowerStephen Chbosky3
T-7FlamerMike Curato3
9The Absolutely True Diary Of a Part-Time IndianSherman Alexie2
10All Boys Aren’t BlueGeorge M. Johnson1


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A Closer Look at Our Findings

Topping the search at No. 1 is “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas, with a search interest score of 34. This was a sequel to Maas’s spellbinding “A Court of Thorns and Roses.”

Published in September 2015, the young, adult novel, “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez, came in a close second with a score of 31. The book centers around a Mexican-American girl who falls in love with an African-American boy in Texas during the 1930s.

“The Bluest Eye” was Toni Morrison's first novel and came in a distant third with a score of 15. Written in 1970, the novel takes place in Lorain, Ohio (where Morrison was raised), and tells the story of a young African-American girl named Pecola, who grew up in the town following the Great Depression.

Published 20 years ago, “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins placed fourth with a score of 10. The book is loosely based on the real-life addictions of the author’s daughter to crystal meth. The book is required reading in many high schools across the country, as well as many drug addiction and prevention programs.

“Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe finishes out the top five with a score of six. Written and illustrated by Kobabe in 2019, the book recounts Kobabe’s journey from childhood to adulthood and exploration of gender identity and sexuality.

“Looking for Alaska” by John Green (5), “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky (3), “Flamer” by Mike Curato (3), “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie (2) and “All Boys Aren’t Blue” by George M. Johnson (1) are the books that complete the list.

When we aren’t monitoring sports betting and online PA casinos, occasionally runs stories of general interest like this.

Here is recent example: Pennsylvania Airlines: Which Are Searched the Most?


Lou Monaco had been East Coast Scene columnist for Gaming Today in Las Vegas since June 2019, covering the East Coast sportsbook scene with emphasis on NJ and PA. He also currently is a part-time writer for the high school sports department for NJ Advanced Media ( in Iselin, NJ. Lou has over 30 years sports experience with previous stints at ESPN SportsTicker, Daily Racing Form and Oddschecker.

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