I may start a new thing here where I post some of the correspondence I get. 

First, most of the correspondence I get is LOVELY. I mean, weepingly, achingly lovely. But some people like to write to authors and tell us a thing or two. And frankly, I cherish these letters. 

This particular chain of correspondence came in after I spoke on NPR along with Meghan Cox Gurdon. Ms. Gurdon had written what I (and many others) to be an offensive and ill-researched piece on “darkness” in YA for the Wall Street Journal. (The entire program can be heard here, if you’d like to hear it.)

We didn’t really discuss my books at all, rather YA in general. After the program, I received this note:

Society is worse because of your books.
Please consider the damage YA NONmature minds are exposed to because of your words.

You should be ashames and sleepless.
Normalizing bad ideas in the youth of America is deplorable.

[PHONE NUMBER REDACTED. Yes, she gave her phone number.]

Now, I was pretty sure this woman hadn’t read any of my books. I didn’t see anything in there that sounded like a detail, an example. Even a title. Really, I would have accepted anything. I liked this letter a lot and thought about it for a day or two, and then I wrote back.


Thank you for getting in touch! I’m fairly certain you haven’t actually read any of my books. Perhaps you were unaware that they were not the books being discussed in the radio show? You don’t actually know anything about me, I can see.

Just a suggestion: next time, before you send a note like this, maybe you should consider looking up the person you are writing to? Having some information, I mean. Otherwise someone might mistake you for an insane crank!

Lots of love,


PS. You shouldn’t send your phone number to people you don’t know. Goodness me!

Then I sat back and waited. 

Now, I know better then to poke the beast, but I spend a lot of time online, and I can only be expected to contain myself SO MUCH. I take the high road a lot. I have high road frequent flyer miles. But every once in a while, you have to break loose a little. I was not disappointed!

Dearest Maureen,

I loved and laughed at your kindest reply!! But read right through it too.

I honestly don’t know how you sleep at all or live with a conscience durning the day - as you KNOW YOU hurt youth with words.

The radio guest that was a cutter explained YA books like yours glamourize, and set the norm for destructive behavior and values!!!

My goodness, your sugary radio intro appology or thanks can never conseal your evil effects on youth! When and if you have kids, you might get a clue!

Your books are corupting and it’s hurting readers! Writting over the top and edgy in a very disturbing and distructive way is BAD!!

Good job on rationalizing your fowl written words, you know in your heart it hurting youth. One day you will admit it to yourself and stop.

Yes, you poorly take away their innocence  as the father you mentioned complained, and damage they nonmature thoughts!!!!

Best luck helping not doing more damage in the future with your writing and silly excuses!!
Not cranky or crazy - just concerned


Bingo. And we’re done. 

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I go ON AND ON about overly general or fear- mongering articles about YA, and some people are like, “cool” and some people are like “why does it matter”? And it matters because some people believe ANYTHING THEY ARE TOLD and don’t look up anything. Banners often don’t read the books they are trying to ban.

And accuse you of “fowl written words.”

bock bock bock BEGAWK!