On her blog, YA author Maureen Johnson (left) revealed her recent discovery that a school library in Oklahoma banned one of her novels. The Bermudez Triangle, published last fall by Penguin/Razorbill, is about the complications that develop in the friendship among three teenage girls when two of them develop a romantic relationship over summer vacation. That was too much for one mother in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, who complained to the school board when she found the novel in the middle school’s library.
“I’m shocked and appalled at the lack of discretion, and moral decline in the selection of books at the Mid-High library,” the woman’s complaint begins. “Homosexual content, unprotected sex, underage drinking, and reckless promiscuity are not values that belong in a school library.” (Better toss out Romeo & Juliet!) She then explains how she regularly screens her 15-year-old daughter’s total media intake, because “there are things she’s not mature enough to handle, or are simply wrong for her.” Things like The Bermudez Triangle, which “has no moral fiber and wrongly promotes a ‘do whomever you want to discover yourself’ mentality.” As Johnson observes, it’s clearly not so much the “do whomever you want” concept that has this woman upset as the idea that two girls might have a romantic relationship with each other, especially since the two characters never do anything more graphic than kiss “onscreen.” That sort of homophobia, combined with the fact that nobody on the school board committee appears to have read the book before voting to remove it from the school library, is why John Green, the author of Looking for Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines, has called for a letter-writing campaign:
“Maureen is so lucky,” jokes Meg Cabot. “I’m jealous. Why does everyone else’s books get banned except for mine?”