More Book Banning Idiocy

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.


  1. Tim Keating on #

    When I read Bermudez, I felt like there was a strong implication of offscreen sex, but yeah, there’s nothing racier than makeouts in the text proper.

    Freaking ridiculous. With luck, these attempts to ban the book will only garner it additional attention. (I seem to recall that I read it in response to a previous story about someone banning it. I’m contrary that way.)


  2. Justine on #

    Increased sales would be an upside. Unfortunately for the majority of banned books that doesn’t happen. Last I heard from Maureen there had been no increase in sales of Bermudez Triangle.

  3. Malcolm Tredinnick on #

    Are you sure there isn’t a secret “author’s cut” edition of Bermudez out there? That edition seems to keep being banned for racy content. I bought a copy during The Great Oklahoma Incident a couple of years ago so that I could be informed before being outraged and there were much fewer naughty bits than the people of Oklahoma had led me to believe (I found none). Real letdown.

    All joking aside, it’s admirable that despite the regularity of these banning attempts, authors do still pick challenging topics such as homosexuality. It can’t be easy to do so knowing that the chances of libraries, schools, parents and shops picking any one of a number of “safer” books goes up. All very well to say “it’s for my art”; when it’s also your livelihood.. well, you all have my respect.

  4. Liana Brooks on #

    Oh, drat. I misread the title and thought you said “More Books Banning Idiocy” – as in a way to stop the idiots from taking over.

    I really do wonder who has the time to get all hot and bothered over a book anyway. I may not enjoy everything that’s written, but I don’t have the free time to protest every book that doesn’t thrill me! Maybe you need to pull a Mommy trick and redirect these people’s energy to something productive.

    I have a garden they could weed…

  5. john cash on #

    “Salacious, racy, rude, and saucy.” Makes we want to go out and buy it! Why can’t _my_ story-in-progress be like that?!? Slavic angst, post-Communist villains, Orthodox theology, and magic. In a YA book. Oh, but there’s the weird food. “Saucy”? Don’t make me laugh…

  6. Benjamin Solah on #

    I’m glad to hear that these kinds of YA books exist. They didn’t when I was a YA reader all those years ago 😉

    But I’m not surprised homophobes want it banned, unfortunately. I can remember not too long ago the furore over that segment in Play School where a child had two mums.

  7. Monica on #

    Along with the nonsense around the attempted banning and burning of _Baby Be-Bop_.

  8. Patrick on #

    I like the way she says ‘front lobby’.

    ooh – front lobby


    Now she just needs to see some more football games.

  9. Rebecca on #

    I agree with you completely and totally about why Bermudez gets banned. Nobody banning it will ever come out and say that directly anymore, and why? Because somewhere in the recesses of their tiny brains, they know they are FULL OF SHIT.

    It makes me so mad.

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