Kentucky’s Most Infamous Challenged and Banned Books

Remember the first time you were assigned "Lord of the Flies" in high school? Or maybe "The Catcher in the Rye"? 

While those books may or may not have been your cup of tea, they probably helped you think about society just a little differently. 

World Book Day is Tuesday, April 23. In celebration, decided to see what Kentucky residents' favorite banned or challenged books are. Using 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 Kentucky. The search period was between March 8 – April 8, 2024. 

While we typically stick to Kentucky sports betting, stick around for occasional research items such as this.

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Kentucky's Most Popular Banned Books

RankBookAuthorSearch Interest Score
1Out of DarknessAshley Hope Perez7
2Gender QueerMaia Kobabe6
3The Perks of Being a WallflowerStephen Chbosky5
T4A Court of Mist and FurySarah J. Maas4
T4Lawn BoyJonathan Evison4
T4Looking for AlaskaJohn Green4
7CrankEllen Hopkins3
T-8The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time IndianSherman Alexie2
T-8Me and Earl and the Dying GirlJesse Andrews2
10This Book Is GayJuno Dawson1

Which Banned Books Are The Most Popular?

At the top of the list when it comes to search volume around books that are banned in the state, you’ll find Ashley Hope Perez’s 2015 novel “Out of Darkness,” which centers around a Mexican American girl that falls in love with an African American boy in Texas during the 1930s.  

Perez’s novel beat out “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, with the former scoring a search interest score of seven to Kobabe’s six, while Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” which redefined the young adult literary genre in 1999 by chronicling the thinking of an adolescent boy named Charlie who navigates his own sexuality, in addition to drug use, sexual assault and topics surrounding mental health, was third with a search interest score of five.  

Throw in “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas, “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison and “Looking for Alaska” by John Green (four search interest score each) and “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins (three search interest score) and you have the next closest banned books in Kentucky.  

The books that rounded out the list in the state included Sherman Alexie’s 2007 novel “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” which was written about a 14-year-old named Junior’s time spent on the Spokane Indian Reservation for its descriptions surrounding a host of hot-button subjects, from sexuality to alcohol use and eating disorders. 

Alexie’s 2007 book was tied for eighth in Kentucky alongside Jesse Andrews’ “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” with a search interest score of two, while Juno Dawson’s “This Book is Gay” rounded out the list at No. 10 with a score of one in the Bluegrass State.   

Also of interest: Kentucky’s Top Potato Chip Flavors.


Christopher Boan is a staff writer for He has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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