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YA Books Are Targeted In Intense Social Media Callouts, Rosenfield Says


There was a widely read article about Twitter this week and how passionate opinions can catch fire on that platform – this time in young adult fiction often called YA. Kat Rosenfield reported the piece for She’s a freelance journalist and also a YA author. She joins us from the studios of WSHU in Fairfield, Conn. Thanks so much for being with us.

KAT ROSENFIELD: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: You centered your article around a book that came out in May – “The Black Witch” by Laurie Forest. It had some buzz. Kirkus says, quote, “engaging character set in a rich alternative universe with a complicated history – a massive page turner that leaves readers longing for more.” But in March, the buzz took a turn. What happened?

ROSENFIELD: A blogger who had an advanced reader’s copy of the book disagreed with the reigning buzz and penned a 9,000 word review decrying it, basically, as an end-to-end mess of unadulterated bigotry. So this blogger disagreed with the premise of the book, which basically centers on a girl becoming enlightened to the fact that she’s been indoctrinated into an ideology of racist superiority.

And once she had formed this opinion, she – you know, she wrote her review. And she got online and basically called for the activist crowd on young adult Twitter to boost it. And because of online dynamics being the way they are and because of how fast outrage travels, on Twitter especially, it really just blew up into a huge controversy that lasted for multiple weeks right up until the book released.

SIMON: Did a lot of people who kind of piled on bother to read

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