Lauren Myracle’s young-adult fiction has brought her success and controversy.
The realistic depictions of teenage life she brought to her bestselling “Internet Girls” series and other works landed the author on the American Library Association’s list of “Most Challenged Books,” based on complaints to libraries and schools, in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
The 43-year-old Colorado author, who will be visiting the Galaxie Library in Apple Valley on Feb. 23 to talk about her writing as part of the “Teens Know Best” author series, says the “Internet Girls” books touch on many of the pressures and challenges she experienced as a teenager.
“The books follow high school girls through sophomore, junior and senior years – they talk about sex, going to Planned Parenthood, drugs – one of them smokes pot and gets busted for buying pot,” she said. “All of these things were part of my teenage rites of passage.”
Myracle says her intent with the “Internet Girls” series and other books is to encourage critical thinking among her readers and not, as some have claimed, to corrupt America’s youths.
“I’m not out to earn a quick buck by being salacious,” she said. “I’m not trying to write ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ for kids.”
Myracle’s 2011 novel “Shine” probably didn’t win her any converts among parents who had objected to her earlier books. It’s about a girl investigating the beating and near death of her homosexual best friend.
“I have three kids, and actually they’re allowed to read whatever they want,” she said.
While her books have generated controversy, they’ve also brought the author acclaim. Myracle has received numerous honors from the American Library Association, including the placement of “Shine” on the ALA’s “Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults” list in 2012.
She’s also credited with penning the first-ever novel written entirely in the style of instant-message conversations. For “ttyl” – published in 2005 and the first book in the “Internet Girls” series – Myracle asked some of the teenage girls she’d hired as babysitters to send her transcripts of their instant-messaging conversations from the Internet.
“It was a great, fun challenge because you don’t have access to normal writing tools like exposition and setting,” she said of creating “ttyl,” which is a teen-speak phrase short for “talk to you later.”
Myracle’s appearance at the Galaxie Library, which is sponsored by the Metropolitan Library Service Agency, runs from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, and admission is free. The library is at 14955 Galaxie Ave. in Apple Valley.