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AnneMarble
10-27-2006, 05:12 PM
Have you read the Jessa Crispin column (http://www.thebookstandard.com/bookstandard/community/commentary_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003315418) on Borders' decision not to stock YA novel Pop! (http://www.amazon.com/Pop-Aury-Wallington/dp/1595140921/ref=sr_11_1/002-9089452-2371206) by Aury Wallington?

The book is by a television writer who wrote for Sex in the City and Veronica Mars. She wrote the book as a tribute to Judy Blume's Forever, which I'm sure many of us read when we were teens. :D It's about a 17-year-old girl who wants to lose her virginity. The sex appears "on screen" but isn't graphic. Sure, that's controversial in a YA novel, and maybe the book presents it badly -- I won't be able to look at it at Borders and make up my own mind. Shoppers will be able to special order the book, of course, but most won't even know it exists.

This sounds like what happened to the controversial The Rainbow Party, except that so far, Pop! sounds like a much better written book. And at least Barnes & Noble is carrying Pop!, whereas they didn't carry The Rainbow Party. Hmm, now I'll just have to look for the novel, won't I? At B&N of course. (I like their discount program better anyway.)
:wag:

I like the quote from the author of Pop! where she points out that there are so many current YA novels that trivialize the issue of teen sex and make it look like "no big deal" instead of showing it as something with consequences, something that can be awkward and confusing to teens. That was my idea when I read that this book wasn't being carried!

It begs the question... If Forever came out today, would Borders decide to carry it? They might carry it because Judy Blume was already established when it came out, or they might refuse because they would say that her younger readers might buy it by accident. Sigh.

Soccer Mom
10-27-2006, 06:46 PM
Yeah, sounds like Borders is really jumping the gun. The book is actually about sexual responsiblity and "divorcing sex from love." Someone had a knee-jerk reaction from a blurb. Some of those "light, frothy, chick-lit" books for girls give a far more irresponsible picture of sex. It's wrong to simply ban something because it is graphic, if honest, in its portrayal.

AnneMarble
10-27-2006, 09:16 PM
Yeah, sounds like Borders is really jumping the gun. The book is actually about sexual responsiblity and "divorcing sex from love." Someone had a knee-jerk reaction from a blurb. Some of those "light, frothy, chick-lit" books for girls give a far more irresponsible picture of sex. It's wrong to simply ban something because it is graphic, if honest, in its portrayal.
That was the impression I got from reading about the book. But I haven't read any of the YA chick-lit books (yet), let alone the YA glitz, so I couldn't compare them. (I'm more into the angsty problem novels. When people have sex in those, they usually end up dying or something. ;)) Someday I'll actually read one or so of those blasted "God they are everywhere, even the Wal-Mart" novels and actually qualify to talk about them. :D

A few months ago, I was at the bookstore with my mother of mumplety peg years. She found me at the YA section, and she told me that maybe she should start reading some of those novels. (I guess she was getting frustrated with some of her reads.) So she started looking at them, and what does she end up picking up? The It Girl.
:roll:
I took it and said "No I don't think this is your type..." Then I found out a YA mystery instead. :) It's not that she's never read anything objectionable, and I don't really know much about the content of the stories. (Keep meaning to try one just to know what I'm talking about. :tongue ) But from what little skimming I've doen, I didn't think she would have liked reading about the characters in that sort of book. Not for an entire book. She wound up with Finding Luchenko (sp?) instead, and maybe another one.

cree
10-27-2006, 09:23 PM
Although the title Pop! does leave a lot to be desired....
It's foolish to think this topic is an inappropriate read for teens. Just foolish.

moondance
10-28-2006, 01:00 PM
I read an artice on this - but I couldn't find out what Borders had actually said was the reason for not carrying the title. It seemed to me, reading between the lines, that the media reporting on the situation had decided for themselves that it had been rejected by borders because of the sex. However, I couldn't find a single quotation from Borders to support this.

Soccer Mom
11-02-2006, 08:53 PM
I personally think there is too much emphesis on sex and violence in YA right now, but that isn't a reason for a bookseller to not carry a book. It's just my personal taste. Do they really think those who will be offended can't practice "self-censorship" by simply not buying the book? It just seems silly to me.

AnneMarble
11-03-2006, 06:08 PM
I read an artice on this - but I couldn't find out what Borders had actually said was the reason for not carrying the title. It seemed to me, reading between the lines, that the media reporting on the situation had decided for themselves that it had been rejected by borders because of the sex. However, I couldn't find a single quotation from Borders to support this.
I can't figure out what their reasons might be, though. It's published by Razor Bill, a large and well known YA imprint. While it is by a first-time author, she's a first-time author with connections. It's a trade paperback with a hip cover. It's the sort of thing they do generally carry.

Interestingly, they have the controversial The Candy Darlings. And I'm pretty sure they have Burgess' Doing It.

moondance
11-04-2006, 02:50 PM
Interestingly, they have the controversial The Candy Darlings. And I'm pretty sure they have Burgess' Doing It.


Then they can't have rejected it for the sex, can they? Maybe the pubisher didn't sell it to the bookseller very well? Or maybe there's a sudden tidal wave of that genre of book and they simply couldn't fit it in? I am guessing though that after this outcry, they might well decide to order it in, lol.

engmajor2005
11-06-2006, 12:17 AM
Call me dirty, but a novel--be it YA or not--about a woman losing her virginity entitled Pop! doesn't sound like a serious novel given the biology of a woman losing her virginity. It sounds more satirical or even out-and-out humorous. But then again, no book should be judged by its cover alone.

And the point stands--no matter what the damn book is about, it should not be censored or withheld from the reading public.

mnmamma
11-06-2006, 10:16 PM
You know, this just kills me.

If the book was about a teenager packing heat and blowing somebody away, the book chains would be salivating all over it, but show a little racy action and suddenly we have to haul out the fainting couches.

Newsflash, Borders: There's a lot more teenagers having sex than carrying guns. Many, many people have their first experience with sex before the magic age of eighteen, and most of them manage to have perfectly happy and fulfilling lives after that. If literature can't depict honest, real life experiences, the seriously, what are we all doing here? What's the point of art if it doesn't relate, even tangentally, to life? ANd why are we trying so hard to please a bunch of corporate stooges who lack imagination, curiosity and courage?

RRRR!


Kelly

spike
11-07-2006, 05:39 AM
Ok, I guess I'll be the one to ask. Doesn't a bookstore have to right to decide what it wants to stock? Based on whatever business decisions they make? And not be accused of censorship?

moondance
11-08-2006, 04:30 PM
Of course they do, spike. The mere fact that they stock 'Doing It' suggests that they are unlikely to have rejected the book because of the teenage sex.

And I have yet to see anything from Borders themselves confirming that they rejected the book because of its content.

Another example of the media imploding.

Lisa McMann
11-14-2006, 05:58 PM
I saw the article, and was immediately compelled to buy the book, lol. I have it on my read pile. :)

Dasence
02-26-2007, 05:42 AM
I know this is way late, but I just bought A Certain Slant of Light from Borders and it has "on screen" sex scenes. Double standard anyone?

Jordygirl
05-18-2007, 03:34 AM
I'm not sure they decided not to carry it because of the sex. I mean, I hate censorship too but it is just plain unreasonable to expect Borders to be able to carry every single book that comes out! We don't know what their reason for not carrying it is, so why get so upset over it?

Jamesaritchie
05-18-2007, 04:55 AM
I detest censorship like this. If a teen wants to read it, they'll get their hands on it somehow from one of their friends or something. I mean, if the publisher thought it was suitable, why should Borders think otherwise?

It's not censorship, it's a business owner exercising his right to sell whatever he wishes, and not sell whatever he doesn't wish. This is called freedom, and it's a good thing for everyone.

Elektra
05-18-2007, 06:44 AM
It's not censorship, it's a business owner exercising his right to sell whatever he wishes, and not sell whatever he doesn't wish. This is called freedom, and it's a good thing for everyone.

Agreed.

Steffi
05-18-2007, 07:21 AM
I totally don't believe in censorship. I've worked in bookstores (by the way, this is another good reason to patronize independent booksellers - B&N and Borders wield way too much power in the publishing world) and believe any book should be available to anyone....BUT I also believe in responsible choices by readers and writers.

I trust that my 15 year old daughter will make good choices at the library. She does a lot of lit reading for school and sometimes wants a frou frou book (which is now YA chick lit) to read. I understand; I will take an Alice Hoffman book on vacation and save Isabelle Allende for regular reading at home. I encourage her to read Lois Lowry, Jack Gantos, Madeline L'Engle, Amy Tan, etc., but in the end it's her choice. I let her know if I think a book is inappropriate and not consistent with our family values (hate that phrase), but I don't forbid her from reading it. So she may read a couple of trashy ones, but in the long run, I believe she'll gravitate toward books with a little more substance. Anyway, it won't be the attraction of forbidden fruit.

I read Forever, but I remember not liking the feeling of wanting to hide it so the librarian or my mom wouldn't know I was reading it. It was a fleeting thrill and I didn't care to read any more books like that (not that there were a lot of them back then).

And on the writer's side...I don't like the direction YA is going. I personally read a lot of YA because I enjoy the themes more than a lot of adult fiction. I think writers are getting too far away from good quality YA...like The Giver, Hatchet, A Wrinkle in Time series,or Narnia Chronicles. There is a place for good contemporary problem novels (Millicent Min or Joey Pigza), but I don't think sex, shopping, and gossip qualify for that. Look at the success of Harry Potter. I don't think it was a hugely popular "fantasy" series. I think it was popular because children want to read about issues of courage, friendship and loss in books in creative ways. A Great and Terrible Beauty is similar.

The trashy books are getting published because they are sensational and make the publishers money. All that means is we need to write more quality relevant fiction and expose our kids to the classics and really good stuff out there. It's a tough battle to wage, but what other choice do we have?

Enough ranting...amazing if you made it to the end of this...

Dancre
05-20-2007, 06:52 AM
Have you read the Jessa Crispin column (http://www.thebookstandard.com/bookstandard/community/commentary_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003315418) on Borders' decision not to stock YA novel Pop! (http://www.amazon.com/Pop-Aury-Wallington/dp/1595140921/ref=sr_11_1/002-9089452-2371206) by Aury Wallington?

The book is by a television writer who wrote for Sex in the City and Veronica Mars. She wrote the book as a tribute to Judy Blume's Forever, which I'm sure many of us read when we were teens. :D It's about a 17-year-old girl who wants to lose her virginity. The sex appears "on screen" but isn't graphic. Sure, that's controversial in a YA novel, and maybe the book presents it badly -- I won't be able to look at it at Borders and make up my own mind. Shoppers will be able to special order the book, of course, but most won't even know it exists.

This sounds like what happened to the controversial The Rainbow Party, except that so far, Pop! sounds like a much better written book. And at least Barnes & Noble is carrying Pop!, whereas they didn't carry The Rainbow Party. Hmm, now I'll just have to look for the novel, won't I? At B&N of course. (I like their discount program better anyway.)
:wag:

I like the quote from the author of Pop! where she points out that there are so many current YA novels that trivialize the issue of teen sex and make it look like "no big deal" instead of showing it as something with consequences, something that can be awkward and confusing to teens. That was my idea when I read that this book wasn't being carried!

It begs the question... If Forever came out today, would Borders decide to carry it? They might carry it because Judy Blume was already established when it came out, or they might refuse because they would say that her younger readers might buy it by accident. Sigh.

Well, just to play devil's advocate, I understand why Borders did it. Writersdigest.com said the reason why borders won't stock it is b/c of the back cover synopsis. It said something like such-and-such thinks the only way she can keep her b/f is to sleep with him, or something like that. I don't remember the exact wording. It came out in their email they send to folks. That's what Borders is protesting. Also remember, there are parents out there who DO care about what their kids read and if 14 year old Susie picked up this book and said, Mom, I want this book about this girl wanting to lose her virginity to keep her b/f, don't you think maybe mom might get a bit upset with Borders? They're just watching out for themselves. Plus they have the right to stock what they want, when they want. You don't like it, go somewhere else.

We moan and groan over censoring, saying Borders is censoring what we read. Baloney. Censoring is when the gov says, you can't write about this, this, or this and if you do, you go to jail for 10 years as in Abram Tertz or in Communist China.

Plus I'm not really understanding why all the fuss. You can always go to another book store to get Pop!. It's not like every book store said, no way will we stock this book.

kim

Dancre
05-20-2007, 07:04 AM
I found the writersdigest article:


Of course, first impressions can be misleading. The back cover of POP! reads: "Marit has made up her mind. Being a virgin is getting in the way of holding on to a boyfriend she really likes... ." Someone judging the book based solely on the cover copy might dismiss it as being glib and sensationalistic, like the notorious 2005 novel Rainbow Party, another book about teen sex that Borders had refused to carry. http://www.writersdigest.com/articles/wallington_banned_or_shunned.asp

Now maybe I'm just a real prude, but if my 13, 14, 15 year old daughter said, mom, I want this book, and I read this back cover, I'd be screaming at the clerks. But I'm a prude.

And the part I highlighted is where the author went wrong. She focused on the sex part instead of the boyfriend part. I think this is a great example of the importance of watching what you put on the back cover. Don't just slap anything on it, but think about the parents and the teen, imo.

kim

MelodyO
05-20-2007, 07:19 AM
Although the title Pop! does leave a lot to be desired....

I totally cringed.

Steffi
05-20-2007, 10:10 AM
The title is pretty tasteless and it sounds like they missed big time with the cover synopsis. I agree that book stores have the right to carry whatever they think will work for their business. This is what the author herself says in that article:

"Of course, first impressions can be misleading. The back cover of POP! reads: "Marit has made up her mind. Being a virgin is getting in the way of holding on to a boyfriend she really likes... ." Someone judging the book based solely on the cover copy might dismiss it as being glib and sensationalistic, like the notorious 2005 novel Rainbow Party, another book about teen sex that Borders had refused to carry."

So if the author knew the cover was misleading and sensational, then why use it? I say you make your own bed, you lie in it. Books with responsible discussions about teen sex have a place, but no one is going to think this is one from the title, cover, and authors credentials as a writer for "Sex and the City". If you say the book isn't trivializing sex, then don't put a sensational synopsis on the book that sounds like it's trivializing sex.

But if my daughter brought a questionable book to me and said she wanted it, I wouldn't be yelling at the clerks. It's not like they are thrusting pictures of naked people in our kids faces (then I'd be yelling at the clerks and a whole lot more - this is coming from someone who complained to google over and over because the image search results for "what a girl wants" brought up a whole lot more than posters of the Amanda Bines movie). I'd be asking my daughter why she wanted it. What was it that interested her about it, and why. And we'd have a good talk about mass market junk and literature, about relationships and maybe even how sex is portrayed in the media, and whether the subject was age appropriate, regardless of how it was marketed, and with all the really good books that are out there, did she really want to spend her time reading that, and about shoes and ships and ceiling wax, and if she still said she wanted it I'd say okay, but we're going to read it together. And if she still went for it and she was old enough to have sex talks then we'd read it together and I'd ask her what she thought and felt all the way through it.

The bottom line is that while I don't think inappropriate material should be forced on our kids, it is nobody's responsibility except the parents and child to decide whether they partake of it. It's called parenting, and if we all communicated better with our children this probably wouldn't be an issue anyway.

moondance
05-20-2007, 02:14 PM
So if the author knew the cover was misleading and sensational, then why use it?

Because it sells to teenagers, who are quite capable of spending their pocket money on their own books without asking their parents. Just as many of them watched Sex and the City, I'll bet, which also trivialised sex in Samantha's behaviour. Of course, she wasn't 17, but still...


if we all communicated better with our children this probably wouldn't be an issue anyway

TOTALLY agree. My next novel is about underage sex (which here in Britain is a huge problem as proven by our horrendous teen pregnancy statistics) and the protagonist's father (mother walked out) has a non-existent relationship with his daughter (she's 14). Result - she thinks that to be special, she has to have sex with boys.

When I was a teenager, I was very interested in sex. I remember reading Mills and Boon well before I left home at 18. I don't remember whether my mother knew. And yet we had a very good relationship, and I didn't lose my virginity until much later than most. So reading about sex when you're a teenager does not necessarily mean you're going to go out and do it - on the contrary.

Elektra
05-20-2007, 05:41 PM
Speaking of Sex and the City (and I've never read the book it was based on, so this only goes for the TV show), did anyone else find the characters too one-dimensional to be any entertainment whatsoever? On the two episodes I watched, I could say the lines along with the characters, just because they were so predictable.
This also happened with Will and Grace, come to think of it.
So in such cases (TV or books), does sensationalism trump characterization?

scarletpeaches
05-20-2007, 05:43 PM
Forever was passed around when I was at school...I read it looking for the dirty bits and didn't see anything shocking. I remember thinking, "Is that it?"

Bit like my reaction to my own first sexual experience, really. :D

LBW66
05-20-2007, 05:57 PM
Personally, I think it's an unfortunate title.