Tuesday, September 21, 2010

SPEAK Loudly

Hello! I am an extremely opinionated person, but I hardly ever force my opinion on anybody. I know when to keep my mouth shut, but this is something that I simply can't keep my mouth closed about. The banning of three very popular and wonderful books.

I don't believe in book banning or censorship of any kind. I am not a parent so I can't for sure what I will do in the future when I think content is inappropriate for a certain age. But, I believe it is the parent's job to talk with THEIR child(ren) about content in books. I don't believe any person/parent has the right to ban a book from any other person's child. Sex, drugs, and alcohol exist. They exist in everyday life. They even exist in high school. And, if you think none of those things are not in high school then you are sadly mistaken. It is the parents job to teach their child about using sex, drugs, or alcohol. We learn about all three of these things in school. Kids are doing them. It doesn't mean it's right, but it does exist. A child is not going to read any of the book and then go out and try to get drunk because a character did it. They will try to do those things because of other pressures. It is not the job of an young adult fiction author to teach children what they should or should not do. They are here to tell us stories, take us to another place. It's the parent's job to teach what is right and what is wrong.

I'm going to post reviews for Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler an Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. These are two of my favorite books and books that have impacted me as well.

Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Author website: www.sarahockler.com
Pro banning article for TBS by Nutjob Scroggins
Rating (1-5): 5
Cover rating: 4
Description: "Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie--she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

The first time I read this book it was extremely hard for me to get through. Not because it wasn't written wonderfully because it was. That was part of the reason it was so hard for me to read the first time. Ockler describes the raw pain of losing someone so well. I first picked up the book from my TBR pile that was sitting on my dresser the night I got home from a funeral of one of my close friends from childhood. He died tragically and much, much too young. I had forgotten what TBS was about, but I had already bought it, so obviously I wanted to read it. I started crying very, very close in because of the raw emotions in the book. I soldiered up though and continued plowing through. I am so glad I did. Sarah Ockler's debut novel was beautiful, heart-breaking, heart-warming, hopeful, sad, desperate, and amazing. I can only imagine where her career will take her. I know I will be following it until the end. She is a force to reckoned with and I think she can create a powerhouse within the young adult world much like Sarah Dessen.

I loved everything in this novel from the characters to the first kiss with Anna and Matt. I loved the boys at beach. I loved how the grieving process was shown in so many different ways, because it's so true- everyone grieves differently. This book was real. There isn't another way to describe it. It is real-life. Ockler captured the teenage soul beautifully.

Scroggins says "This book glorifies drunken teen parties, where teen girls lose their clothes in games of strip beer pong. In this book, drunken teens also end up on the beach, where they use their condoms to have sex." Yes, there is drinking in this novel. Yes, there is sex. But, I don't think it glorifies teen drinking. She just depicts real life. Acting like these things aren't present among teens won't make them disappear. And, taking away an escape from a kid, like a book, won't keep them away from sex and drugs. And, about the sex. Young kids have sex in high school. At least they used a condom in book. This book is so much more than Scroggins sees. It's more than drinking and sex. It gives hope. It shows it is possible to move on. I'd hate for this book to be taken away by a selfish man.

And, tomorrow a review of the beautiful, stunning novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson!

Also don't forget to check out my contest I'm hosting!


  1. Thanks for your awesome review, Miranda, and for giving Twenty Boy Summer a chance despite Scroggins' comments. Glad you enjoyed the story! :-)

    Sarah Ockler

  2. I think I just squealed when I saw this comment. Thank you for writing this beautiful novel! That man or anyone else can never take away your gift of words! Thank SO much for commenting!! :)