Now, Gossip Girl (the book), and The Bermudez Triangle are under fire. One parent in Leesburg, FL has challenged The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson and Only in Your Dreams: A Gossip Girl Novel by Cecily von Ziegesar because she objects to sexual content and drug references in the books. The parent brought a petition to the Leesburg Public Library, requesting that the books be removed from the library’s YA section. She has since initiated a formal challenge to have the books reviewed by the library’s advisory board.
Challenges to these titles in particular and to YA literature in general aren’t surprising. In fact, perhaps they are a sign that the books are realistic and speak to teens’ experience. And, I’d say that reading about sex or drug references in a book provides a safe way to confront those topics or to start a conversation about difficult situations in real life.
Public libraries exist to serve the entire community. If one parent objects to these books, she is entitled to her view. But she has no right to tell other people what they or their children may read. We hope the library advisory board will keep the books in the YA section where they can be accessible to teens who want to read them.