A lot of people had a lot to say about my previous post on YA Author responsibility, and I was reminded in the comments section about a current author, Ellen Hopkins, who has been asked NOT to come talk at a school, and all her books have been pulled from the library shelves.
Ellen Hopkins writes gritty, serious, great stuff. But, her characters suffer the consequences. Not all the characters all of the time, but there are obvious consequences to things we as a society have deemed inappropriate. She does it in a way that isn’t preaching to kids, but shows them a path they they should avoid, or if they are already on it–maybe some hope or a way out.
Now, I am not comparing my book to hers, other than being directed at a young adult audience, there really aren’t a lot of similarities between the two. But, it does make you think. There are books out there designed to teach consequences to bad choices, and even those are being banned from the shelves. What happens to the books that just mention it casually?
Another author I’m reminded of is Maureen Johnson. She wrote a book about a two girls falling in love and how their other close friend dealt with it. She ended up with a crazy lady in a pink jacket chatting it up on the news working her damndest to get her books in the adult section, or just kicked out of the library completely. Which brings up a completely different point–who are WE as YA Authors to decide what is and isn’t worthy of consequences? Do we draw the line at things that are illegal like teenage drinking? What about things that are potentially dangerous like texting while driving? Or is the line one of our own moral compass, and should we not talk about lesbian relationships or sex before marriage without having real consequences like being shunned by our parents or teenage pregnancy?