“That’s how it should always be.”

A few weeks ago I had the chance to sit down and talk to one of my readers. She’s the young teen daughter of a friend of mine from school. She was staying with her grandmother in our old neighborhood and I went over to give her a copy of Family Binds and I was able to spend about an hour talking with her. We talked about books, school, her friends and family, some of the stories she’s written and she even showed me some of her artwork, which was really good.

We talked a little bit about my books. She mentioned that she was reading Crystal and Flint for the third time, which blew me away, and how frustrated she got with Crystal who clearly had feelings for Justin but kept pushing him away, which made me smile. Then she mentioned one scene from the book. She said it in passing, but it really stuck with me. She said, “You know that scene where Crystal sticks up for Desi while they’re training, that’s how it should always be.”

It actually took me a moment to remember what scene she was talking about. See this scene was originally intended to introduce the antagonist for a later story, which I ended up cutting from the series. I decided to keep the scene anyway because it was one of the first bonding moments for Crystal and Desi. In the scene a member of Crystal’s team makes a sexually laced comment about Desi to one of his buddies. Crystal hears it and throws him off the combat team. He doubles down, and Crystal has him thrown off Journey all together. And that girl was right, that’s how it should always be. That’s what a sexual harassment zero tolerance policy should look like. It makes me sad that we aren’t there yet. It makes me even sadder and angry that a fourteen-year-old girl already knows this. But at the same time I have hope.

The amazing thing about books is that if you let them, they can show you what’s wrong in our world and give you a road map for how to fix it. Maybe now this girl will have the courage and strength to stand up when she hears comments like the one in the book, because she saw Crystal do it. She saw a glimpse of how the world should be, and hopefully she knows she shouldn’t accept anything less for herself and those around her.

If you want to read the scene she was referring to I’ve posted it here.

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