So, I've been reading a short story collection called "Geektastic: Tales from the Nerd Herd". It's a YA anthology book where the stories focus on geeky/nerdy kids from all flavors of nerd (science, roleplaying, cosplay, quiz bowl, superheroes). I've been really enjoying it, up until the story "The Secret of Dino Girl" by Barry Lyga.

Now, I've heard great things about Barry Lyga. Mr. Fishnet's loved his novel The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl. He's been on my to read list for a really long time, so I was looking forward to his story. From the get go, I was hooked. The prose was excellent and I liked the main character- a high school freshman obsessed with dinosaurs. Dino Girl (Kataya/Katie) has a crush on the star baseball player who is dating the popular, athletic girl. Athletic Girl finds out about it and breaks down Dino Girl, and tells Baseball Boy about the crush. Dino Girl is humiliated and plots revenge.

Only the revenge is taking a nude picture of Athletic Girl without her knowledge, making a poster out of it, and posting it all over the school with Athletic Girl's phone number attached.

Lyga ends the story by having Dino Girl compare herself to a dinosaur (earlier in the story she compared her bully to a dinosaur). The metaphor is there: Dino Girl is the bully.

It still rubbed me the wrong way, since Dino Girl's actions weren't the same kind of bullying. Dino Girl's actions were revenge porn, something that is morally reprehensible and possibly about to be federally criminal. I felt rather sick reading it. I was really upset, and while I've never been a victim of revenge porn, I could see how this story could be triggering for young women who have been victims of it (or how people not paying attention could see it as acceptable payback). I spent the better part of a bus ride feeling queasy and uncomfortable. So, I decided to say something. I went to Twitter.

I was frustrated, but I tried to keep the tweet polite despite the discomfort I was feeling inside. About an hour later, Lyga responded:

Now, I don't know about you, but I found that answer kind of dismissive and I responded with a more snippy tweet and a request to not talk down to me. Lyga got really heated with me and it felt (to me) kind of mean.

I thought about just blowing him off, but I pushed through, explaining that I found his story very upsetting and kind of triggering (while I've never been a victim of revenge porn, I have an ex who I absolutely believe is capable of it). I also explained that tone is kind of hard to read on twitter, so while he meant his initial response to me to be thought-provoking it just seemed dismissive. He cooled down after that and we chatted a little more amicably (his twitter here, mine here if anyone is curious).

Still, it got me thinking about what the role something like 'revenge porn' has in YA fiction, especially when the main character is the one distributing it. Would the story be easier to swallow (and the same point be made) if the revenge was something less criminal? What do you guys think?

Also, I guess I've really arrived now on Twitter now that I've made an author mad at me, huh?

(I doubt it will merit, but I would appreciate it if this stayed away from the main page).