Mariah, or @MixMalikMarvel, tweeted about her wish to see lead character Alaska Young played by a young woman of colour, and support quickly poured in. Author John Green weighed in as well, saying that he would “support that campaign wholeheartedly.” Two films made from Green’s work, The Fault in Our Stars (2014) and Paper Towns (in theaters later this month), both star a mostly-white cast, with some POC supporting actors. A woman of colour playing the lead in a very highly anticipated film adaptation like Looking for Alaska would be a very welcome and important change for YA films.
Activist and all-around kickass teen Malala Yousafzai is asking the world to take a photo with their favourite book, and talk about why they want #BooksNotBullets, as part of her 18th birthday celebration. Malala hopes to show world leaders the positive response, and convince them to move funds meant for military development into education plans.
Could Scout’s story have been published sooner? That question, along with many others, is now swirling around the July 14 release of Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. A 2011 meeting between Sotheby’s Justin Caldwell, Lee’s lawyer Tonja B. Carter, and Lee’s agent Samuel Pinkus centered around a previous manuscript of To Kill a Mockingbird. The manuscript turned out to be a regular publisher’s proof, however another text was found by Pinkus. Carter and Pinkus tell different narratives regarding that day, only adding to the strange story of the Watchman.
Blogger and indie author Imy Santiago found herself struggling with Amazon’s review guidelines, as the company claims a book review she posted isn’t valid because she “knows” the author. Santiago responded to the claim by explaining:
“I am a writer and published author. I understand the Indie Community is a small one, and among our circles, rubbing elbows with peers is not an uncommon occurrence. I am also a blogger and reviewer who also buys books. When I’m not writing, I am reading and reviewing. My reviews are one hundred percent unbiased, regardless if I have rubbed elbows with peers online. I would like to know who is providing you the information that suggests I may know the author.”
Amazon’s subsequent response still left much to be desired, as they refused to share exactly what information made them believe Santiago and the author are connected. Fair, constructive reviews are important for readers, consumers, and authors, but Amazon’s policies seem more draconian than anything else, and may discourage avid readers from sharing their reviews if even a hint of “connection” to an author will lead to the removal of said review.