Monday, August 31, 2009

Ellen Hopkins on Writing the Edge

In her latest blog post, YA writer Ellen Hopkins tells it like it is to those who would censor YA/teen books, or who think that there are some topics teen books shouldn't discuss.

Specifically, she's talking about her new book, TRICKS, which deals with teen prostitution. Reviewers objected to the inclusion of unhappy sex scenes and the use of the word fuck. (Only they call it the "f-bomb." As Ellen Hopkins says - just say the word already. It's in use all over high schools, and often in middle schools.)

So how exactly should a writer deal with a book about teen prostitution aimed at teens? Gloss over it, use euphemisms, pretend it's not there? The truth is that there are teens who struggle with this issue, and a book like this can really have a positive effect on their lives, as long as it is honest and real to them. How could it possibly be real without sex scenes and swear words? Hopkins details two girls in particular who found strength and hope through the book. I think that trumps anything a reviewer might have to say.

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