I worry when I hear anyone talking about wanting to ban realistic books to “protect” teens and children—as if pretending that harsh realities don’t exist will protect anyone. It’s such a strange, convoluted argument to me. Because I want to protect teens, too—and that’s what I try to do through my realistic suspense and edgy paranormal novels.
I want to arm teens with the knowledge that if they’re in pain—if they’ve been abused, bullied, faced homophobia or racism or sexism, if they’ve hurt themselves or are in so much pain that they want to die—they are not alone, and things can get better. I want them to know that there are other people out there who understand them, who’ve been where they’ve been, who’ve survived and who are glad they did. I want them to find compassion and safety in a book—sometimes the only source they’ll find as a teen. And that’s what I do through my books. Yet some people have tried to remove SCARS from libraries or tried to convince others not to let their kids read it. STAINED hasn’t come out yet—it releases Oct 1—but since it also deals with some painful subjects in a real and emotional way, I think it will also face some book challenges. And yet books like the ones I write, and many other authors write, are so needed.~ read more ~