October 10, 2022

Today we’re discussing a “fun” topic: controversial authors, specifically ones that are popular on BookTok (the bookworm side of TikTok). Sometimes when authors are controversial, people stop reading their books entirely. Some people also say to separate the book from the author, but what do you do when the contents of the book are the issue?


Sarah J. Mass, author of  the popular series A Court Of Thorn And Roses, has had her fair share of cancel culture. One of the biggest issues in her books is the fact that she’s white and trying to write from the perspective of people of color. This is super wrong considering she wouldn’t know anything about being a different race and how different their cultures are from her own and their heritage. She also has only had one person of color in the Throne of Glass series, and that character was killed off in the second book.


Another issue of Mass’s is the fact that the only bisexual character in her books, Morrigan, states that she only sleeps with men to hide her sexuality.


One BookTok TikToker, @zoereadstoomuch, spoke on this matter: “Her sleeping with only men to hide her sexuality is a way to invalidate bisexuals.” 


Another author that is widely talked about on BookTok is Penelope Douglas, author of Punk 57 and Corrupt, two of their most popular books. Corrupt deals with an awfully toxic relationship, basically normalizing toxicity. Douglas also has an issue depicting consent during sexual activities in Corrupt. 


Another BookTok TikToker, @bookishnick, spoke on this issue as well: “I read an excerpt from Corrupt, and again I just felt so disgusted.” 


In that comment, @bookishnick also noted that people have said that because it’s fiction, it can be overlooked because it’s not real. I feel like it shouldn’t be that way; I know we need to bring awareness to this stuff, but her books are just making it seem like it’s okay when it isn’t.


The excerpt that @bookishnick provided contained themes of sexual assault and violence. If you don’t have trigger warnings in the beginning of the book you wrote, you are the issue. Adding trigger warnings doesn’t get rid of the whole issue, but at least people could see what they are getting into instead of reading the book and getting upset. 


Personally, I don’t feel like you should be an adult writing about minors interacting sexually, as that’s almost pedophelic and just morally wrong. I don’t really understand what goes through these authors’ minds, considering neither of them have come out to address these issues. 


Let me know your thoughts and opinions on this matter in the comments below. I’d love to see what you guys think about authors not being cautious around sensitive topics.

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About the Contributor
Emma Giammanco is a 17-year-old senior staff member. She writes book reviews and hopes you enjoy her column! When she isn't writing for The SIREN, she's either working, playing video games, or reading to pass her time.

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