Bookish and Awesome’s weekly round-up of buzz-worthy news from around the bookternet in bite size. Click on the links to be directed to the full articles.
Deadline reports that Odeya Rush has officially joined the cast of Dumplin’.
The upcoming comedy is based off of Julie Murphy’s 2015 young adult novel of the same name and centers around a girl named Willowdean (Patti Cake$ Danielle Macdonald), a confident, plus-sized teen whose nickname is Dumplin.
In an effort to spite her mother, Willowdean enlists in a local beauty pageant, and subsequently inspires a crop of outcast teens to enlist with her.
Rush is set to play Willowdean’s best friend, Ellen ‘El’ Dryver in the upcoming film, who complicates the nature of their friendship after she decides to join the pageant as well.
It is now common practice for foreign novelists writing books containing LGBT characters and stories to find their work shrinkwrapped in plastic and given an 18-plus rating in Russia, in order to comply with the law, which brings fines for individuals and organisations who break it. Schwab’s Russian publisher, Rosman, took a different approach: cutting a flirtatious scene in the second novel in the series – in which two male characters are reunited after three years apart – down to just a few lines. Rosman did not respond to questions from the Guardian, but told Russian press that “we only did this so that we wouldn’t violate the ban on gay propaganda for minors … but we kept the romantic plotline as a whole”, the Moscow Times reported.
NOT. OKAY. No, this is more than not okay. This is appalling. This is discriminatory and homophobic. And this is probably a move from V. E. Schwab’s Russian publisher to sidestep the country’s “gay propaganda” law—a ruling that simply needs to be rescinded—but it doesn’t excuse the fact that they altered the book without consulting the author.
What these novels have in common is a shared interest in the psychology of their main characters. Though they are set in fantastical worlds, their protagonists’ struggles are recognizable. They may have access to incredible science and sorcery, but they suffer from the same mundane troubles as humans on Earth today. They’ve lost their families; they are troubled by difficult romantic relationships; they feel like outcasts in their communities. And they aren’t always the epic heroes of their own adventures. They might have grand destinies, or they might just be fighters on the line along with thousands of others.
Dhonielle Clayton, author of the upcoming The Belles (and co-author of the Tiny Pretty Things series with the co-writer of this article, Sona Charaipotra), sees online activism as part-and-parcel of being a YA author today. “The status quo is no longer acceptable, and women of color have been working to make the industry shift,” Clayton tells Bustle. “We will not be quiet. We will not go away. If the word ‘toxic’ was colloquially used in the 1960s, white people would’ve labelled the Civil Rights movement as such. This is what happens when you challenge white supremacy and its systems, and yes, children’s books are tools of white supremacy.”
Bustle published a careful, detailed look on how YA Twitter is trying to dismantle white supremacy one book at a time.