In the last few months, I’ve read the following young adults novels. These books all featured complex, interesting characters (often girls or young women) and subtle, morally complex themes.

It was not hard to find these novels. They are not hiding from white advertising dudes*, or anyone else. They are readily available in stores and online. Many of them came to my attention because they were featured prominently on websites or on end caps in book stores. I did not require a special ops mission or a deep cover infiltration of Sekrit Grrls Lairs to find them. The only special effort it took for me to discover these amazing books was to possess the awareness of a hedgehog†.

This is not an exhaustive list. It’s just books I’ve read that I can find by glancing around my room as I sit here at my desk. There are many more.

As I said, just a few. Every damn one of them is a must-read if you ask me. All are complex, challenging, harrowing, often unexpectedly funny, and all deeply moving. The themes and topics range from rape culture to murder to teen suicide to racism to mental illness to human trafficking and sexual slavery. These are stories about survival, about finding strength in unexpected places, about need, about dying hope, about friendship and failed relationships. A not uncommon theme is the way adults—especially men—so often fail, exploit, or abuse children—especially girls. Morally complicated is where these books start.

So Scott Bergstrom can fuck right off.

*I’m kind of an advertising dude, in that I have worked on the edges of advertising and marketing for most of my life. I assure you, this is a gross industry filled with soulless people. Pile privileged white dudery on top of that and what you get is truly the worst.

Hedgehogs are adorbs.

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