Friday, February 4, 2011

Banned by Bitch

I just read over on E. Lockhart’s blog about an upset that has taken place in the online YA community. Bitch magazine apparently posted a list of 100 feminist YA books, and then removed three because they were deemed inappropriate. (So really a more accurate title for this post would have been “Deleted by Bitch” or “Pulled From the List by Bitch,” but neither has that snappy alliterative flavor of the current, possibly misleading, certainly inflammatory post title.) Well whenever I see anything deemed inappropriate for any reason, it piques my interest (I imagine most people are the same. So I immediately added the books in question to my library queue.

1) Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
I am not 100% sure what this is about. It seems like a complex and disturbing mixture of fairy tales and sexual assault. Here is the School Library Journal review:
A traumatized teen mother magically escapes to her own personal heaven in this daring and deeply moving fantasy. In the novel, Liga's daughters—one born of incest, the other of gang rape—first flourish in Liga's safe world. But encounters with magical bears and the crusty dwarf challenge them to see a world beyond their mother's secure dreamscape. Eventually the younger one, Urdda, and subsequently her sister and Liga are drawn back into the real world in which cruelty, hurt, and prejudice abound. But it is also only there that they can experience the range of human emotion, develop deep relationships, and discover who they truly are.

2) Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
I am super excited about this one. I have a little bit of a weak spot for werewolves. Team Jacob all the way. And I of course love anything about girls kicking butt. Here is what SLJ has to say:
For Scarlett and Rosie March, the world is not what it seems. Werewolves, called Fenris, live among them in the form of good-looking men who prey on pretty young girls. When a Fenris attacked the March girls, it killed their grandmother and left them emotionally and, for Scarlett, physically scarred. Since then, they have taken action and revenge. With the help of a friend, Silas, the girls are on a mission—to destroy as many Fenris as they can. This goal becomes more complicated when they try to unravel the mystery behind the pack and prevent the next "Potential" from transforming fully into a soulless, evil monster.

3) Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
This one looks super disturbing. I just reread Sweet Vally High #13: Kidnapped! and noted that the kidnapping in question seemed like the least dangerous kidnapping possible. This one seems like the opposite. Again, SLJ sums it up:
The numb voice of a teen who has been devastated by five years of captivity and compliance, a girl who has been named "Alice" by her abductor, relates her grim story. At 15, she still believes the threat by which Ray controlled her when she was almost 10 and he walked her away from a school field trip: he's made it clear that if she bolts he will kill her family. The trauma of multiple rapes on a child is portrayed, as is Ray's ongoing need to control her and his daily, multiple demands for sexual submission. Now that she's a teen, Alice is being starved; his disordered logic tells him that this will keep her a little girl.

Ugh. I’m not sure I’m going to able to handle that one. It will be upsetting without the soothing shield of fantasy elements. But I will persevere for the honor of banned books everywhere.


  1. Living Dead Girl is worth the read! My brother the librarian brought it home last year and said, "This is something you'd probably like..." (So *that's* what he thinks of me..!) But, he was right. I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

  2. I can't wait to get to it. Just picked it up from the library yesterday!