Out Of Darkness banned: Book's author Ashley Hope Perez responds

Yasmine Leung September 21, 2021
Out Of Darkness banned: Book’s author Ashley Hope Perez responds
Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Young adult novel Out Of Darkness has been banned from two schools in Texas after a mother interrupted a board meeting to complain about alleged inappropriate material. Author Ashley Hope Perez has responded against the pulling of the book.

Kara Bell, a parent of a student in the Lake Travis Independent School District (LTISD) took to what was meant to be a covid-related board meeting and changed the programme to express her disgust at a certain book available at Hudson Bend and Bee Caves Middle School in Texas.

Her speech has now gone viral on social media, which has led to a response by author Ashley Hope Perez and several other book-lovers on Twitter.

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Out Of Darkness book banned: drama explained

On 15 September 2021, Bell read an explicit passage aloud that included the world ‘cornholing’, which she claims is another description of anal sex. She emphasises she has never done it, she does not want to do it and she does not want children learning about it in middle school.

She called on the board to focus on education and not public health, which resulted in her mic getting cut off mid-sentence.

The passage can be heard here.

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What did Ashley Hope Perez say?

The author came to the defence of her novel on Instagram stories, stating:

“News to me, but apparently my novel OUT OF DARKNESS is teaching anal sex to children! Whoa, I mean, yeah a book takes on a life of its own, but…! (Actually what she’s reading is from a part of the book where the whole point is to capture the utterly relentless sexual objectification and racialisation the Mexican-American main character endures.)

“The worrisome bit is her comments caused the district to pull the book, following Leander ISD”

Out Of Darkness follows the love affair between a teenage Mexican-American girl and a teenage African-American boy, with a backdrop of 1930s New London, Texas, up until the 1937 New London School explosion.

Since her initial statement, Perez has taken to Twitter to emphasise the importance of the novel to expose young audiences to the harsher side of American history and the discrimination faced by minorities.

When is Banned Book Week 2021?

Despite Out Of Darkness getting pulled from two libraries, Perez will be part of Banned Book Week 2021, which runs from 26 September to 2 October 2021.

The Out Of Darkness author will be talking to writer and editor Chris Tomlinson to discuss the recent threats to free expression in books in Texas on Tuesday, 28 September 2021 at The Carpenter Hotel in Austin, Texas.

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Yasmine is a third-year Anthropology and Media student at Goldsmiths University with a new obsession with League of Legends, despite being really bad. She's always on social media keeping on top of the latest news and trends and is HITC’s expert in Korean pop culture. She also loves music, TV and fashion - her favourite things to write about.