The book is comprised of entries four New York City high-school students made in a shared journal in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Reclassified from the young adult section to the adult nonfiction section at the Waukee, Iowa Public Library  because of a complaint citing "foul language" and "cussing." The book includes frank discussions about adolescent sex, drinking, and drug use.
Public Library  because of sexual innuendo, drug references, and other adult topics.
Responding to a call by parents, church, and community leaders to remove this novel along with twelve other provocative books available to teens at the Leesburg Public Library, city commissioners voted 4–1 to separate all books based on age groups.
Chbosky's novel, which contains references to masturbation, homosexuality, and bestiality, got the bulk of the criticism.
In neighboring Des Moines, it is on the recommended reading list for ninth-grade English, and it is used for some special education students in the eleventh and twelfth grades.
Retained in the Olathe, Kansas ninth-grade curriculum  despite a parent calling the novel "a worthless, profanity-riddled book" which is "derogatory towards African Americans, women, and the developmentally disabled.")* ("Vulgar language, sexual explicitness, or violent imagery gratuitously employed." "Glorifies criminal activity, has a tendency to corrupt juveniles, and contains descriptions of bestiality, bizarre violence, and torture, dismemberment, death, and human elimination" "teachers can choose the best books, but they keep choosing this garbage over and over.") (Challenged, retained at the Theisen Middle School in Fond du Lac, Wis.
 despite a parent’s belief that the book’s “sexual content was too mature for eleven to fourteen year olds.” The book has won several awards, including being named a 2005 Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association.
The same parent plans to request removal of six other books from the library, including (Challenged at the Leesburg, Fla.