Lauren Myracle is a New York Times bestselling author of a series of her young-adult novels that has topped this year’s annual list of “Most Challenged Books,” released by the American Library Association.
From her Q & A with Abigail Pesta at The Daily Beast:
The Internet Girls series is about three high-school girls who like to text each other about their troubles. What’s so controversial?Read about Myracle's experience as the first author to be nominated for the prestigious National Book Award before having that nomination revoked.
The books are about three dear friends, good girls who make bad decisions. The series is a testimony to the power of friendship—finding your tribe, having your friends’ backs. I think part of what makes people nervous is that the books are written in instant messaging. The knee-jerk reaction is that it’s different than adult language. Grown-ups see it as a kid version of “don’t look over my shoulder.” But the language is easy to figure out—my mom said the learning curve is about 10 pages.
Also, a lot of people of book-banning mentality think we should be very proper about grammar. There’s an initial barrier of “this does not look like literature to me.” And most people who challenge a book haven’t actually read it. If you’re skimming it, words jump out at you: “fuck,” “penis,” “condom.” It triggers a set of reflexes.
I understand why parents worry about books—they’re worried about their kids. They want to keep their kids safe. But parents aren’t always realistic. One said to me, “I can’t believe you introduced my 13-year-old daughter to thong underwear.” I’m pretty sure she knows about them already. She probably owns a pair.
What are the “bad decisions” the girls make in the books?
One girl goes to a college party when she’s still in high school. She gets drunk. She gets egged on to take her shirt off. Pictures get taken. I don’t write books to teach lessons, but if a girl can read a story like that and think, “Maybe I won’t take off my shirt at a frat party when people have phones there,” my work is done.
Another girl...[read on]