Happy Banned Books Week! This year’s theme is Young Adult fiction, and what better time to have Courtney Summers’s SOME GIRLS ARE challenged?!
A South Carolina high school pulled the book off its freshman summer reading list after a parent complained about the content; the response from librarians and readers across the country against this action was immediate and powerful.
BookRiot editor and former librarian Kelly Jensen spearheaded an online donation drive for close to 1,000 copies of SOME GIRLS ARE to be sent to the Charleston County Public Library to be given for free to any teen who wishes to read the book. The National Coalition Against Censorship and other national groups voiced their opposition and media coverage followed at ABC News 4 and WSCS Live 5 News (Charleston, SC), The Post and Courier, School Library Journal, BookRiot, and Hello Giggles.
Then there’s Courtney Summers’s response:
“SOME GIRLS ARE is a confrontational no-holds-barred look at young adolescent life. It’s about bullying–something most teenagers witness, experience or perpetuate in their school careers. It’s about a highly toxic culture that fosters aggression between girls. The novel explores the consequences of hurting people and asks us to consider the impact our actions have on others. It’s about picking up the pieces of our mistakes and bettering ourselves. It’s about forgiveness.
“It was selected as an ALA/YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults title and a Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. It was also an Ontario Library Association Forest of Reading White Pine nominee, Canada’s largest recreational reading program. As part of the program, the book was available to teen readers in over 3,000 schools nationwide.
“I have made a career out of writing young adult fiction about difficult topics. It’s my deepest hope teenagers living the harsh realities I write about–because they do live them–will read my books and feel less alone. It’s incredibly powerful to see yourself in a book when you’re struggling. Not only that, but gritty, realistic YA novels offer a safe space for teen readers to process what is happening in the world around them, even if they never directly experience what they’re reading about. This, in turn, creates a space for teens and the adults in their lives to discuss these topics. Fiction also helps us to consider lives outside of our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic toward others.
“We don’t protect teen readers by denying the realities many of them are faced with. Often, in doing so, we deny them a lifeline.”
Well said, Courtney. Here are some other frequently challenged and banned YA titles and adult books with teen appeal we recommend revisiting throughout the week:
The House of Night series by P.C. + Kristin Cast
ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers (2016 Best Fiction for Young Adults Nominated title)
ELEANOR & PARK by Rainbow Rowell (2014 Printz Award Honor Book, 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults selection)
Participate all week long!
Take a selfie with your favorite banned book and tweet it out to @BannedBooksWeek with the hashtag #ireadbannedbooks.
Join the #litchat on Twitter on Friday, October 2 from 4-6 pm EST (don’t forget to use the hashtag #bannedbooksweek, too!).
Reddit’s Banned Books Week AMA (Ask Me Anything-Scary Stories style) is happening on Thursday, October 1 from 8-10 pm EST. More details here.
If you’re feeling inspired to read aloud, we highly recommend that you submit a banned book reading video to the Virtual Read-Out page on YouTube.
Check out BannedBooksWeek.org for more online and live events.