‘Fault In Our Stars’ Banned From Riverside, California Middle School Library

The Fault in Our Stars joins an age-old debate about book-banning.

Cinema Blend is reporting that the Riverside County School District’s reconsideration committee voted 6-1 to have the book banned and removed from the Frank Augustus Miller Middle School. The fear is that children between the ages of 11 and 13 would have access to the Young Adult novel, which focuses on the relationship between two terminally ill 16- and 17-year-olds. It examines all aspects of these young adult’s lives, including sexual contact and, of course, death.

The Fault in Our Stars‘ author John Green, when asked on his Tumblr account how he felt about the banning, responded in this fashion.

“I guess I am both happy and sad. I am happy because apparently young people in Riverside, California will never witness or experience mortality since they won’t be reading my book, which is great for them.

“But I am also sad because I was really hoping I would be able to introduce the idea that human beings die to the children of Riverside, California and thereby crush their dreams of immortality.”

Many people have questioned the motives of the reconsideration committee in this matter. Being a private library, it does have the right to carry what it sees as fit for its students. On the other hand, when do the subjects of death and sex become age appropriate?

International Business Times is reporting that since 1988, when the reconsideration committee was created, only one other book has been banned, and that was The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. The committee banned that book in 1996. The Chocolate War was often a target of banning due to its language, portrayal of bullying, and some character’s sexual ponderings.

That the reconsideration committee has banned only two books in 26 years shows that this was not a kneejerk reaction.

The news that John Green’s book is going to be removed ironically fell on the Banned Books Week, a week where librarians and booksellers focus on the issue of controversial books and whether it’s beneficial to ban them.

This is hardly the first time that Green has to face some controversy over his books. The first novel published by the author, Looking for Alaska was also challenged for featuring controversial topics such as drugs, alcohol, smoking, and sex. It made it to the list of most challenged books of 2013, along with other popular names like Fifty Shades of Grey, Hunger Games, and The Adventure of Captain Underpants.

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