There’s been yet another attempt to ban Maureen Johnson‘s The Bermudez Triangle. They claim the book is salacious, racy, rude, and saucy. This is flat out not true. Banning Bermudez for sexual content is utterly absurd because there is no sexual content in The Bermudez Triangle.
These banners either have a) the worst comprehension skills on the planet or b) they’re lying about why they want to ban the book.
I suspect b) though it could be both. I think the reason they really want to ban Bermudez is that in it two girls fall in love. The most these two girls do is hold hands and kiss. If they were a boy and a girl no book banner would go after The Bermudez Triangle. It would not be a blip on their radar. The same is true of many YA books with gay or lesbian protags. It doesn’t matter how clean those books are. Homophobic bookbanners still go after them.
More insidious though is the fact that many libraries in more conservative parts of the country don’t order books like The Bermudez Triangle or David Levithan’s Boy Meets Boy in the first place. They’re not banned because they never make it into the library. Given the shrinking budgets libraries are facing all over the country I get why librarians would want to spend the little money they have on books that won’t set off the local bookbanners.
But it’s a huge shame. I’ve seen some of the letters Maureen and David get from teen readers of their books. Readers thanking them for showing them that they’re not alone, giving them the courage to come out, for making their lives more tolerable.
Those letters are moving and beautiful and explain why our jobs as YA writers can be so much more than writing entertaining stories.