A Comprehensive List of the Recent Kidlit Sexual Harassment Allegations

February 12, 2018 Uncategorized 9

Trigger warnings: sexual harassment/abuse/assault, manipulation

Update #1: Allegations against Dan Wells and James A. Owen have been removed, as the accuser of Wells recanted and it appears the allegations against Owen were false and the comment was deleted.

Added C.L. Rose due to high demand, though the accusations against her are of abusive behavior and enabling sexual harassment, not sexual harassment herself. As far as I am aware, she has not been accused of directly committing sexual harassment.

This is solely to document the allegations of sexual harassment brought to light by Anne Ursu’s Medium article and in the comments on the School Library Journal post “Children’s Publishing Reckons with Sexual Harassment in Its Ranks.” This is not any statement on whether allegations are true or false. I have preserved both screencaps, which you can click for the full-size image, and the text of the allegations. Not everyone can scroll through the litany of comments posted and our community needs a quick reference.

If you would like to trust me with your story or alert me to further allegations that need to be added to the list, please email me at theyakitten@gmail.com

Jay Asher

Jay Asher accusations 1 and 2

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Asher accusation 3

 

 

Jay Asher accusation 4

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “I find it bizarre and horrifying that nobody has named Jay Asher. I am equally horrified at hearing of his disgusting Twitter claims of being so very pro – #MeToo and #TimesUp. The irony is incredible, and belongs in an episode of Black Mirror.”

Accusation 2: “After the Medium essay by Anne Ursu, people want us to name names. They want to know “who.” I will say the name from my story: Jay Asher. Happy , now?”

Accusation 3: “I was also one of those in Anne Ursu’s survey and the name from my story is also Jay Asher.”

Accusation 4: “I,too, experienced predatory behavior from Jay Asher. He uses SCBWI to find young, new writers. When I discovered his true nature, I cut off all communication and tried to warn other women through the whisper network. He found out and used threats and intimidation to quiet me. Well, Mr. Asher, the intimidation stops NOW. We will no longer whisper.”

James Dashner

James Dashner accusation 1

 

 

James Dashner accusation 2

 

 

James Dashner accusation 3

 

 

James Dashner accusation 4

 

 

James Dashner accusation 5

 

 

James Dashner accusation 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Dashner accusation 7

 

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “I was also in Anne’s survey, and the name in mine is James Dashner.”

Accusation 2: “I would also like to add that James Dashner was the man in my story in Anne’s survey.”

Accusation 3: “I was not in Anne’s article, but I have been harassed by James Dashner.”

Accusation 4: “I have been harassed by James Dashner as well.”

Accusation 5: “I wasn’t in the survey, but add me to the Dashner list.”

Accusation 6: “I was not in Anne’s survey but one of the stories sounded almost identical to mine. My harasser was James Dashner. He preys on female debut authors. Beware. Beware. Beware.

“I would like to clarify that the harassment/abuse from James Dashner was not a one-time unwanted touch or a joke I took the wrong way. It entailed months of manipulation, grooming and gaslighting. He offered to be my “mentor” using praise and flattery of my writing, and promises to use his connections to help elevate my career to the level of his. But it was all a bait and switch. When I made it clear that I was not going to give him what he wanted in return, our “mentorship” relationship ended. It took me a long time to realize that every move he made was carefully calculated. He has his manipulation down to a science. I realize now that I was not the first to fall for his tricks, and I was not the last. I feel deeply sorry for everyone who fell for his manipulations after me. I’ve tried to nudge others and warn on the so-called “whisper network” but I have always worried that talking about it publicly would harm my career or family. Even typing this is making me sweat buckets. Thanks for listening.”

Accusation 7: “#MeToo but no more. I quit writing. At first it was Dashner. A fluke, right? Then later Charlie Pulsipher and recently Dan Wells. And the other women just protect, saying boys will be boys and I’m a snowflake. I can’t trust anyone.” [Note: the accusations against Pulsipher and Wells have been recanted. This remains solely due to the Dashner accusation, which was not recanted.]

Sherman Alexie

Sherman Alexie accusations 1 2 3 and 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sherman Alexie accusation 5

 

 

 

Sherman Alexie accusation 6

 

 

 

Sherman Alexie accusation 7

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “I was in Anne’s survey as well. Mine was Sherman Alexie.”

Accusation 2: “I saw Alexie speak at a library conference several years ago, and I saw the way he interacted with the (mostly female) attendees before and after his talk. That he has sexually harassed people is not at all surprising to me. I believe you and I’m sorry you had to deal with that.”

Accusation 3: “Another raised hand for Sherman Alexie.”

Accusation 4: “Yes, me too with Alexie.”

Accusation 5: “Sherman Alexie. #Me too. I know of several others. I think there’s a very good reason (or many very good reasons) he stopped all appearances and disappeared from social media almost immediately after Weinstein.”

Accusation 6: “i dined with Sherman Alexie several years ago with a group of librarians and, throughout dinner he talked pretty continuously about sex, told us that he loved all types of women (age, body type, level of attractiveness, HINT HINT) and showed us his hotel room number. He also said that at author conferences no one slept in their own rooms. Maybe not harassment per se, but definitely gross. I don’t doubt he’s done worse.”

Accusation 7: “Sherman Alexie: me too. Looking forward to the end of him getting to do whatever he wants to young women with the full knowledge of the people in power.”

Matt de la Peña

Matt de la Pena accusation 1

 

 

 

Matt de la Pena accusation 2

 

 

Matt de la Pena accusation 3

 

 

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “I wonder if any of Matt de la Pena’s students have weighed in. A friend took a writing class with him and recounted several tales of transactional sexual relationships with his students and creepy behavior.”

Accusation 2: “I didn’t respond to Anne’s survey but Matt de la Pena is someone to steer clear of.”

Accusation 3: “Matt de la Peña. You are powerful and respected in this industry, you should be ashamed of the way you speak to and treat female students. Your business is how we write, not how we look. Among several inappropriate comments, you minimized me down to my appearance in a moment of my education that I worked hard for, that should have been one of my proudest. You made me feel small and objectified. I resent it. I am not shocked to see that I am not the only student you abused your power over.”

Stephan Pastis

Stephan Pastis accusation 1

 

 

 

Stephan Pastis accusation 2

 

 

Accusation 1: “A dear friend of mine asked me to post this for her as she doesn’t feel comfortable adding it herself. ”My story was in Anne’s article. The man was Stephan Pastis.””

Accusation 2: “Stephan Pastis has sexually harrassed me too.”

Richard Paul Evans

Richard Paul Evans accusation 1

 

 

Accusation 1: I have been sexually harassed by Richard Paul Evans (author of the MICHAEL VEY series).”

Tristina Wright

Tristina Wright accusation 1

 

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “I am very nervous posting this… I feel scared I might be tracked down. I have had a terrible experience with trying to tell people because she’s a woman.

It’s known among a very small circle, and I’m sorry for those it hurts. I was a teenager, and I’m enby. I was sexually harassed by Tristina Wright. It went on for a long time. I eventually had to delete my social media accounts and restart under a new name. She has a reputation among young people on social media. After her appearances on the conference circuit for her debut book it was known. Steer clear, especially if you are young, thin, and have long hair. She has a type and she is relentless.”

Chris Howard

Full disclosure: I made this post. The harassed person told me their experience with him in 2013/2014 and I still have the chat logs from when they told me even though the person and I are no longer friends. I will not be revealing their identity. I posted it to warn others because this is red flag behavior from a married author and because there may be others.

Chris Howard accusation 1

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “An account from a former friend I no longer speak to: when she met Chris Howard of Rootless and Night Speed fame at an event, he was very flirtatious with her despite him being married. I’ve got the messages from our conversation in my email account.

I’ve already said the same thing off-anon on my own accounts, I’m simply posting it here for anyone else he might have done the same with.”

Tim Wynne Jones

Tim Wynne Jones

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “Tim Wynne Jones was one of the faculty members at my MFA program. At the end of the residency, he initiated an unwanted hug which he held too long, and then used as cover for nibbling my earlobe.”

Tessa Gratton

Tessa Gratton accusation 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accusation 1: [in reply to another  comment] “Was this Tessa Gratton? She is a predator.”

Someone alleging to be the original commenter said Tessa Gratton is not the author they’re talking about. This accusation remains on the list due to the separate claim she is a predator.

Tim Federle

Tim Federle accusation 1

 

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “I have experienced predatory behavior from Tim Federle. I am a male. This was also at the SBCWI conference some years ago. He expressed interest in my book and invited me to his room to go over my query letter. I was 18 and starry eyed because he was a respected author for kids. When I arrived at his room and got out my laptop, he closed it and began kissing me. I was shocked at first. I was not assaulted, but it was all under false pretenses. He preyed on me in a very disturbing manner.”

Michael Neff

Michael Neff accusation 1

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “Michael Neff, the director of the New York Pitch Conference, took advantage of a post-conference dinner to grab my arm and make it clear he could grant me publishing favors in exchange for sexual ones. He singled me out because I was young and inexperienced, and often tried to get me alone at the conference with the promise of information and mentorship. Thankfully, I was able to evade him”

Stephane Marsan

Stephane Marson accusation 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “Adding to the chorus of accounts here, Stefane Marsan (an editor from France), approached me at RWA in 2015 after the RITAGHs award ceremony at the bar when I was alone and more than a little drunk. He wouldn’t stop TOUCHING me. My hands. My arms. We were surrounded by romance publishing elite, Tiffany Reisz was in my line of sight with her Rita award and yet he felt comfortable cornering me, offering his business card and telling me how big of a star he’d make me in France. He had me there for ten minutes. Always touching. As soon as I’d move one hand he would have the other already on me. Touching. Stroking. Smiling.

“I nodded and smiled, because I didn’t want to offend him – in case he was a big publisher – but in my head I kept thinking does he really think I’m this stupid, that I’ll sleep with him for a publishing contact? Because the subtext was heavily implied. I had no one at the conference I could go to. I was new, entirely alone and without friends for backup.

“I returned to my hotel room where my husband and infant son were sleeping – I scoped him out on twitter just to be sure he was a real editor, which he was. Then I threw out the card, and had a shower to wash his ‘touch’ from my body. It never occurred to me to report him because I’d dealt with this kind of behaviour so often at my workplace, it was like another Tuesday.

“It never occurred to me that I could or should report him, and I almost didn’t share this here but a friend managed to help me track him down from the RWA guest list cache and I screamed when I saw his face pop up on scream. All I had was a first name and his face branded in my brain. About 5’7-5’9″ with curly brown hair, paunchy in a tailored suit, trimmed beard and trendy glasses. He spoke with a heavy french accent. That’s it. But my friend is a genius, so now I can say his name. His full name. Stephane Marsan”

Mo Willems

Mo Willems accusation 1

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “I was quoted in Ann’s article my predator was Mo Willems.”

Jenny Bent

Jenny Bent accusation 1

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “As far as agents and editors being held responsible there were a ton of them in the bar when Jenny Bent got completely wasted and tried to grind on a very handsome editor of romance while his wife was in the same room. Women can be abusers too.”

Peter Yarrow

Peter Yarrow accusation 1

 

 

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “Chiming I’m here with another nightmare person to avoid. Peter Yarrow, author of the song and picture book Puff the Magic Dragon molested me when I was a young teen. It was a grooming situation where he took me under his wing, wrote to me, gave me tickets to shows, backstage passes. He meant to so much to me. It took me years to talk about it, even to my family, because I was so ashamed. I found out later he’d done the same to a 14 year old girl in the 70s. He went to jail and was pardoned by Jimmy Carter. He blamed groupie culture in his behavior and mused on how jail wouldn’t have happpened to Mick Jagger. He hides behind his social justice work. I saw some little girls reading his picture book after it came out a few years ago and I nearly tore it out of their hands.

“I was thinking about keeping this post anonymous because dragging up these memories is painful and I don’t want to deal with the repercussions. But I think people deserve to know what he’s done and probably still does.”

Earl Lewis/E.B. Lewis

E.B. Lewis accusation 1

 

 

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “Add the opportunistic Earl Lewis [or E.B. Lewis as he likes to refer to himself as] to the list. He took advantage of me on two different fronts and I did report him. Thankfully he isn’t on the board anymore.”

Drew Daywalt

Drew Daywalt accusation 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “My story was also mentioned in Anne’s article, and Drew Daywalt was the one that made me never want to return to Los Angeles. This is really tough for me to post, even anonymously, because I’ve always tried to be such a peacemaker, but honestly, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this goes beyond me. I felt confused and hurt over the entire interaction for a long while, and after reading Anne’s response in her article, she truly helped me understand why I felt the way I did. Thank you, Anne! And to those also speaking up, I’m glad we’re all having this conversation, and my hope is that those being called out will truly reach out for help and want to change. ”

C.L. Rose (aka Courtney Lynn Rose, aka Tiffany Rosenthal Hofmann)

C.L. Rose accusations 1

 

 

 

 

 

Accusation 1: “Can we talk about women in power positions who know about abusive men, and choose to believe the men over the victims?

If so, Tiffany Rosenthal Hofmann, person who co created a fiction writing mentoring contest, was outed for abusive/racist behavior (videos of Tiffany ranting were released to prove it). When abusive/racist men contacted Tiffany to complain about a marginalized and disabled woman of color, who refused to stay silent about their harassment, gaslighting and other abuse, Tiffany chose the men’s side.

She then fired the WoC, after verbally attacking/berating the WoC on video. After the video’s were released, Tiffany changed her name to Courtney Lynn Rose clrose1990 on Twitter. She’s a freelance editor and an acquisitions editor for Filles Vertes publishing. She’s in collusion with a ton of Pitch Wars mentors, who are well known in the writing industry, and who knew of Tiffany’s abuse and name change to hide her true identity.”

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Review: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones

January 5, 2018 Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Review: The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-JonesThe Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Published by Little Brown BFYR on August 8, 2017
Genres: YA, YA Horror, YA Paranormal
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: finished copy from Amazon Vine
Goodreads
four-half-stars
When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a demon—her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life—she finds the trade may have been more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she could have ever imagined.

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something grows between them amid an otherworldy ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: Can she give someone her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

But Who Does it Represent?

  • Dee is a Latina girl from an abusive, alcoholic home
  • Riley is trans

Ah, a novel in which someone might say “it cost me an arm and a leg” and mean it literally! The novel’s blend of magical realism and the paranormal entertains with its team of portal destroyers and brave, desperate heroine Dee as much as it horrifies with its homunculi and the more mundane, reality-grounded horror of exactly why Dee sold her heart away for boarding school tuition money.

The outlandish and the unfortunately everyday blend seamlessly, though the novel’s pacing is a bit lax and it’s somewhat repetitive toward the middle. Luckily, James and Dee’s developing romance helps pick up some of the slack. One major event that isn’t satisfactorily handled may ruin the book for some readers, but I found myself engaged enough that I overlooked it for a while.

And that ending? I CRIED A LOT, READER. Though I find it unlikely I’ll reread this book due to those waterworks, it’s going on that bookshelf I reserve for all books with value to me as a writer–because it gave me some serious writerly inspiration.

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Review: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

January 4, 2018 Reviews 0 ★★

Review: The Rose Society by Marie LuThe Rose Society by Marie Lu
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons BFYR on October 13, 2015
Genres: YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought (Used Bookstore)
Goodreads
two-stars
Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.

(My reviews are likely going to turn out short like this more often. I have three or four ready and literally written on the backs of advent calendar pages. The only time I have now to write reviews is during my lunch break!)

But Who Does It Represent?

  • Adelina is missing an eye and starts hearing whispers/voices in her head; harmful rep on the latter
  • Plenty of brown-skinned characters like Raffaele
  • Maeve and one of the Daggers are in love but are kept apart because Maeve needs an heir and her lover refuses to be a mistress

Just like its predecessor The Young Elites, The Rose Society sucks you into its world so you can have some fun and tune out the mess that is our world. The storyline is genuinely engaging, as is Adelina’s turn to the dark side. Between everything she’s been through and the toll her illusionary powers are taking on her mind, she goes to some very dark places in what is hands-down Lu’s darkest book.

What’s less impressive are the deeply ableist stereotypes fallen back on via Adelina’s auditory hallucinations. These whispers encourage her to kill and generally be evil, playing a large part in Adelina’s journey toward villainy. This link between the voices and evil actively encourages the prejudice and discrimination those who live with auditory hallucinations have to deal with daily. That extends to mental illness as a whole as well. On an entirely difficult to understand Magiano’s attraction to Adelina in light of his characterization.

I don’t think I’m gonna bother finishing the series.

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Spotlight Tour: Busted by Gina Ciocca (Including Giveaway)

January 3, 2018 Blog Tours 0

It’s about time things get back to normal here and I return with some content. FULL TIME JOBS ARE HARD.

Ahem. Today, I’m taking part in Sourcebooks Fire’s spotlight tour for Busted by Gina Ciocca, which came out just yesterday! I haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet, but I’m really, really excited to get to it when I can.

Never heard of Busted before? ALLOW ME TO REMEDY THAT. Make sure to keep reading for an except of the book, a guest post from Marisa, and a giveaway for two copies of Busted!

Busted coverCatching cheaters and liars is a lucrative hobby—until you fall for one of the suspects. Perfect for fans of Veronica Mars, this new novel from the author of Last Year’s Mistake will steal your heart!

Marisa never planned to be a snoop for hire. It wasn’t like she wanted to catch her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. But as her reputation for sniffing out cheaters spreads all over school, Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

And her next case? It’s for ex-frenemy Kendall. She’s convinced her boyfriend, TJ, has feelings for someone else and persuades Marissa to start spying on him. But the more Marisa gets to know sincere and artistic TJ, the more she starts to fall for him. Worse yet, the feelings seem to be mutual. Marisa knows she needs to give up her investigation—and the spoken-for guy who may just be the love of her life. Then she uncovers new secrets about Kendall and TJ, secrets that take “cheater” to a whole new level…

Buy Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Chapters | iBooks | Indiebound

Gina Ciocca author photo

About the author: Gina Ciocca graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English, but in her mind, she never left high school. She relocated from Connecticut to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and son. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her taking longwalks around the lake in her neighborhood. Gina can also be found online at writersblog-gina.blogspot.com, on Instagram as gmciocca, and Twitter as gmc511.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But you’re a busy, discerning reader and you’re not entirely sure you want the book. Perhaps a word from the main character herself will convince you?


Read more »

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Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

January 1, 2018 Diversity 4, Reviews 1 ★★★★★

Review: Before I Let Go by Marieke NijkampBefore I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 23, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, YA, YA Contemporary, YA Horror, YA Thriller
Pages: 368
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via NetGalley, YA Books Central
Goodreads
five-stars
Days before Corey is to return home to the snow and ice of Lost Creek, Alaska, to visit her best friend, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town's lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she's a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter...

But Does It Represent?

  • #ownvoices asexual representation in Corey
  • Kyra is pansexual and has bipolar disorder
  • Roshan and Sam are gay and together
  • Roshan and his father are Indian and from the UK
  • Native and indigenous people are mentioned regularly but never appear on the page

Ah, Alaska: the US state where the people have Canadian accents, can see Russia from their backyards, and have one of the only decent Republicans in the entirety of Congress. (Their senator Lisa Murkowski has been instrumental in stopping ACA repeals, though her general record is spotty and she’s very pro-gun.) You won’t find many YA books set in Alaska and now Before I Let Go joins the small club. It also joins the “books I’m gonna get but never reread” because it’s SO GOOD but omfg I can’t put myself through this book again. MY HEART.

Read more »

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Blog Tour Guest Post: Stephanie Kate Strohm on I Wanna Marry “Harry”

December 24, 2017 Blog Tours 0

Prince in DisguiseWell helloooooo, readers who stuck around while I got comfy with my new job (because I GOT A FULL-TIME JOB OMFG) and let my poor site go neglected! I appreciate you greatly.

Today, as part of the blog tour for Stephanie Kate Strohm’s new book Prince in Disguise, I’ve got a guest post from Strohm about a show you will barely believe actually happened: I Wanna Marry “Harry.” (I’ll be reviewing the book soon and you guys, IT WAS SO CUTE. I DID NOT KNOW HOW MUCH I NEEDED THE BREATH OF FRESH, ADORABLE AIR THIS NOVEL WAS.)


I might be one of the only people on the planet who watched I Wanna Marry “Harry” during its brief run on TV – and who went on to watch the remaining episodes online after this travesty of a production was cancelled after airing only four episodes. On paper, this show seemed to combine two of my greatest loves: reality dating TV, and the British royal family. What could possibly go wrong??

So very, very much.

The concept for I Wanna Marry “Harry” was simple, yet insane: a mild-mannered 23-year-old English guy named Matthew Hicks who looked vaguely like His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales was given a royal makeover to increase the resemblance, and trained in such princely arts as horseback riding, fencing, and ballroom dancing. Then, he was moved into a fancy English estate along with a dozen American women who were strongly encouraged to believe that they were in a reality dating competition for the hand in marriage of an heir to the British throne.

I don’t remember as many of the dates or the challenges as I wish I did. I do remember that there were frequently fake paparazzi or actors pretending to be star-struck locals asking for a picture with “Harry.” I remember one woman finding a photoshopped picture of “Harry” with his brother, William. I’m pretty sure there was a sports challenge where the women played a sport (maybe cricket?) in revealing outfits, and then the losers had to serve the winners afternoon tea. In short, it was absolutely ridiculous. A frequent “reward” for “winning” dates was to stay in a room that adjoined Fake-Harry’s. “The Queen would never allow this!” I sputtered at the television. “There’s no way these women could possibly believe this guy is really Harry!”

That was a common refrain that dogged the show. These women must have been playing along for the cameras…right?

Maybe not. The eventual winner of the show – Kimberly Birch, an actress/drama therapist from Long Island – gave an illuminating interview about a year after it aired. She said the show was pathologically committed to trying to mislead them. Frequently, producers would stage conversations outside the contestants doors about how unhappy the Queen was and how she was demanding “Harry” shut down the show and return to Buckingham palace. Production even brought in a fake “therapist” – that’s right, an actor posing as a therapist – to convince the women that any doubts they were having about “Harry”’s real identity were all in their minds. Isolated and subjected to this kind of brainwashing, I am not at all surprised that these women began to believe they were actually in the presence of Prince Harry!

(But in case you were wondering, Kimberly Birch is not engaged to either Matthew Hicks or Prince Harry.)

I Wanna Marry “Harry” portrayed American women as the worst kind of shallow, stupid, royal-obsessed clichés we absolutely aren’t, but I do think that amid all of the nonsense, it did tap into a tiny kernel of truth about some of us – about me, for example. I know my obsession with the British royal family is weird. (My friends in the UK, most of whom are in favor of disbanding the monarchy, find it particularly perplexing.) I couldn’t even articulate why, exactly, I am so thrilled by all of Kate Middleton’s statement coats, or why I am so delighted by Harry and Wills’ love for Star Wars (although that is pretty objectively adorable.)  I can’t explain it. My royal family obsession just is, a fact about me as immutable as my eye color or need for old-fashioned donuts. I know that I’ll buy any magazine with Harry and Meghan Markle on the cover. I know that I’ll pore over pictures of their wedding, just like I pored over every picture of Will and Kate’s big day.

And I know that if I had been a single actress/model/cocktail waitress in 2014, I would have been first in line to marry “Harry.”

About the Author:

Stephanie Kate StrohmStephanie Kate Strohm is also the author of Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink, Confederates Don’t Wear Couture, The Taming of the Drew, and It’s Not Me, It’s You. She works as an actress and teacher in Chicago. You can find her online at www.stephaniekatestrohm.com and on Twitter @stephkatestrohm.

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A Word on My Diversity Ratings

November 28, 2017 Announcements 2

To keep this short, as starting my first-ever job has kept me heinously busy, I’m no longer going to be rating books on their diversity.

Thanks to Twitter’s not-always-great feature of showing you what tweets the people you follow liked, I saw one tweet from a reader who was cringing at someone’s diversity ratings in their book reviews. Checking out that tweet and seeing the reader elaborate on how the ratings were divided into QUILTBAG, racial-ethnic, disability, and intersectional representation made it hit that yeah, they were talking about me and my reviews.

A while back, I started using the diversity ratings in order to give readers a way to tell at a glance whether a book has representation present as well as whether that representation was good. It was meant to be a starting point, but I got complacent, never tried to evolve it, and it never occurred to me how much it hurt other marginalized people to see their identities reduced to quantitative data like that. It doesn’t matter that I was okay with it as an aromantic asexual woman with GAD and OCD. If it hurts another marginalized person, it’s not okay.

So that’s it. No more diversity ratings. I will find a better way to get the point (an at-a-glance tool denoting the presence and quality of marginalized representation) across without causing other people harm.

I offer both my deepest apologies and my deepest thanks to the lovely people on Twitter who were criticizing my diversity ratings. I mean it: never be afraid to tell me when I’m fucking up. I will listen to you and make improvements. (Unless you’re, say, the TERF that tried to comment on my recent review of Echo After Echo, but that’s different. TERFs are inherently wrong.)

The people remain unnamed and unlinked to protect them from harassment, but if you find them, don’t you fucking bother them or I will end you. If they give me the OK, that’s when I’ll name and/or link them. They are the readers, reviewers, and writers we need in YA.

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