Anastasia Hopcus is the author of Shadow Hills, a novel about a girl trying to solve her sisters mysterious murder. Anastasia currently lives in Austin, TX with her boyfriend attending concerts and reading even more. Here she is speaking out:
Banning books isn’t something that I think any author is partial to, and I’m definitely in the anti-banning camp. I understand that sometimes a parent doesn’t think a certain book is appropriate for their child, and I completely support their right to decide that…on an individual case by case basis. But I can’t get behind banning books across the board. A high school student is making choices every day about what to do and what not to do. As much as people may dislike it, drugs and alcohol and violence exist in the real world, and everyone has to decide how to address these things in their life. It’s naive to think that if a teen doesn’t read about an issue then he/she won’t have to deal with it. It seems more likely that a story can bring light to consequences, such as being hospitalized for anorexia, losing a friend to an overdose, or the responsibilities that come with pregnancy. When you put a face to an issue, it becomes more relatable, and isn’t it better to get people talking about problems rather than trying (usually unsuccessfully) to sweep them under the rug? One of the great things about books is that we often analyze them and that can provide readers with more shrewd decision-making skills.
Another great thing about books is that they allow us to live vicariously through characters without the fallout and penalties that exist in real life. I think it’s unfair to assume that teens are going to imitate a fictional person---they deserve more credit than that. When I write about dangerous situations, I trust that my readers are mature enough to understand the difference between imaginary circumstances and reality. A protagonist who doesn’t take any chances is dull, but someone who is cautious in real life is smart. I love reading about a girl with paranormal powers that takes down predators, but I realize that I can’t do that. I certainly wouldn’t go to a few self defense courses, then hang around in a sketchy park and expect to overpower a mugger. And I don’t think anyone who reads Shadow Hills is going to go to a cemetery in the dead of night or break into a locked cabinet in a school library. Unless, of course, it is a locked cabinet full of banned books.
Thanks to Anastasia for taking the time to speak out against book banning!