I was wondering if there would be a backlash to the twist on racial issues I present in my new Young Adult novel, Save The Pearls Part One, Revealing Eden.

This lack of objection does not come in a vacuum, either. Literally, dozens of bloggers, mostly in the YA and romance book community, have reviewed the book, along with such mainstream sources as The San Francisco Book Review, Fresh Fiction, The Midwest Book Review, and others.

Before you assume that this post is merely a means to flaunt those rave reviews, pay attention to what exactly this lack of racial commentary might mean.

First, some context: In the dystopian world of Revealing Eden, extreme solar radiation has wiped out most of the white race whose lack of melanin causes them to succumb to the Heat. The survivors, called Pearls, suffer from oppression under the new majority of dark-skinned Coals.

When Eden unwittingly compromises her father's secret biological experiment, perhaps mankind's only hope, she is cast out -- into the last patch of rainforest and the arms of a powerful beast-man she believes is her enemy, despite her overwhelming attraction to him. To survive, Eden must change -- but only if she can redefine her ideas of beauty -- and of love.

Her love interest, Bramford, is a Coal. So yeah, this is about an interracial relationship in a post-apocalyptic world. Or more narrowly, if you take out the question of race, a Beauty and the Beast story in which both parties must find self-acceptance (no story spoilers) before they can discover true love.

Not too many years ago, I can imagine that this story might have generated heated comments about the sexualized fantasies about black men. And yeah, there was one. And having checked out that blogger, I strongly suspect that he belongs to a much older generation than young adults.

Otherwise, I'm happily surprised to say there has been not a blip of protest.

So what does the lack of any racial outrage or puzzlement or fervor amidst the tremendous rain of positive reviews possibly say?

Conceivably, if the book had not reached the African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists, perhaps there might be some backlash. The first young African American reader who responded to me loved the book. But then, she's the kind of free spirit who would eschew limiting herself to a single category.

Or perhaps -- and this is what I hope -- the YA generation sees race in a way that is unique to them, unique in our history. After all, they have arrived on the scene decades past the integration of schools and Jim Crow, even well past the days of The Cosby Show.

Soap-mouth-washing words that were forbidden in my youth now populate rap songs so often I wonder if, happily, they have lost their vile connotations.

I have endeavored to raise my children with a color-free mentality. My son once mentioned that his color was white while mine was tan. This was said with no more feeling than if he'd been describing the different colors of our bedrooms.

No doubt most kids today would laugh at or find puzzling an incident that I now see influenced the way I thought about race in a blink of an instant.

Imagine this: a fourth grade girl with wild curly hair, huge green eyes and large bee-stung lips, her skin perpetually tanned from the Florida sun, stands alone waiting for her mother to pick her up after school. A large yellow school bus begins to pull away when a young boy sticks his head out of the window and hurls a racial slur at the girl.

Her first reaction is shame. He has slandered her with an ugly epithet -- a disgusting remark about her lips. Later, she wonders how he could possibly have mistaken her race. She is white, the remark usually targeted at blacks. (The term "African American" did not exist in that day.)

Confused and hurt, she wonders why her appearance should elicit such hatred. She hides this incident in the back of her mind and never repeats it to anyone until many years later when she writes a book in which she turns racial stereotypes upside down.

Only when I began to answer interview question and answers, did I recall the incident, and wonder how it had informed the story. Writers pluck bits and pieces from their lives and weave them, often unconsciously, only hoping the seams between reality and fiction do not show.

I am not naïve enough to think we live in a world without racial issues. In fact, I hope that my book will give those who have never experienced prejudice the opportunity to think about it in a new way, especially in terms of how our decaying environment one day may turn around the status quo.

The majority feeling that bloggers have expressed about Bramford: he's sexy, not because of his color, but because he's a strong hero. A comment on his beastly transformation at Bookies is the norm: "...became this sexy, strong, mysterious character who I fell in love with." Or as The Cozy Reading Corner writes: "Bramford is beastly... in a good way."

Or as Jean Vallesteros at Jean Book Nerd comments: "The relationship with Eden and Ronson is quite appealing. Although they are so opposite from one another, they discover something special in each other."

Primarily, the young adult community's comments on Revealing Eden have tended to embrace the way in which the protagonist learns to value her inner beauty. As Melissa Silva wrote for The Bookshelf: "A great story showing that you can't judge a book by its cover, and that beauty comes from within."

Which is the real message of the book, and why I love writing for open-minded young adults! Let's hope they carry a better view of the world into the future.



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message 14: by Ciara1973 (new)

Ciara1973 I know, I agree with you.

I made a comment on her post to let her know my opinion, and honestly I couldn't have said it better.


message 13: by Zahra (last edited Oct 27, 2013 03:36PM) (new)

Zahra E Ciara1973 wrote: "Zahra wrote: "Ciara1973 wrote: "Coals?!? Coals?!?! This lady is ignorant. She has no idea how destructive her book is, and I haven't read it. No, I won't either.
Beastman?!? That is exactly how pe..."


I'm not blaming you for commenting! I'm most angry at the way she dismisses the views of those who find her work racist. You know, those people who actually have experience of racism at work and know whereof they speak, unlike Ms Hoyt.

From the excerpts I've read, she stumbles so badly on her 'reverse' portrayal, from the 'coal' thing, which the heroine herself uses as a 'racial slur' (so, the ruling class calls itself a name that is a racial slur?), to the stereotyping of a black man as a Beast-Man, so that underneath the whole thing, the idea of 'but we all know she's beautiful really, because she's white, blue-eyed and blonde' runs as clear as a sheet of glass.

You know, if you're writing to try and help a certain race, and then that race turns round and tells you you've got it horribly, egregiously, shamefully and insidiously wrong, you might have the damn humility to listen to them and learn something, instead of going into a 'well, that's your opinion' pout. If Ms Hoyt doesn't have the wisdom and humility to do that, then I fear for her future as a writer, and she should keep her pen out of our business and write about vampires instead.


message 12: by Ciara1973 (new)

Ciara1973 Zahra wrote: "Ciara1973 wrote: "Coals?!? Coals?!?! This lady is ignorant. She has no idea how destructive her book is, and I haven't read it. No, I won't either.
Beastman?!? That is exactly how people been seei..."


You are right, but I had to comment! I wish she would stop pointing out, that her book is against racisim. She really thinks she is doing something wonderful.Actually, it's sad she doesn't acknowledge the criticism of her first book, and realize the hurtful and mean things she writes about different races.


message 11: by Zahra (new)

Zahra E Ciara1973 wrote: "Coals?!? Coals?!?! This lady is ignorant. She has no idea how destructive her book is, and I haven't read it. No, I won't either.
Beastman?!? That is exactly how people been seeing the men of our ..."


The first book had an absolute howl of protest, and yet another has been published. I don't hold out any hope that Foyt has learned from the criticism of her first book, mainly because she refuses to acknowledge it exists. The only reason I don't call her out on every forum I use is because she shouldn't have the publicity.


message 10: by Ciara1973 (new)

Ciara1973 Coals?!? Coals?!?! This lady is ignorant. She has no idea how destructive her book is, and I haven't read it. No, I won't either.
Beastman?!? That is exactly how people been seeing the men of our race for centuries.

Lady, write books all you want, but leave fighting against racisim to others. Because you've failed big time!


message 9: by Zahra (new)

Zahra E The coy, self-serving remark, 'I am not naive enough to think we live in a world without racial issues' does not prove a damn thing or make you any less of a contributor to those 'issues'. You have absolutely no idea of the realities of living with racism, and the notion that because you were once mistaken for a mixed-race girl, you have it all down pat, not only proves that but is unbelievably offensive. Can you not see that?

'Beastman'???? And yet you pride yourself on challenging stereotypes? Face it, you have made a horrible, horrible mistake with this book.


message 8: by kirkesque (new)

kirkesque Nyasha wrote: ""African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists,"

Seriously?! Did you read this aloud after your wrote it?"



The self-reflective, self-respecting, author of puerile racist crap is a demographic that does not exist in the vicinity of Ms. Foyt. She makes sure of that each time she looks in the mirror.


message 7: by Nyasha (new)

Nyasha "African-American community of readers, if such a category still exists,"

Seriously?! Did you read this aloud after your wrote it?


message 6: by G (new)

G Lack of objection my ass. No one had heard of you because you aren't exactly a great writer or a decent person.


message 5: by Cathy (new)

Cathy "But then, she's the kind of free spirit who would eschew limiting herself to a single category." The dripping condescension of this statement encapsulate the ignorance of this story. This isn't some cutesy "Freaky Friday" tale. It's a story that declares itself anti-/counter-prejudice, yet entrenches the archetypes that embody prejudice. As if a ruling class would call themselves 'coals'- that dirty, dark substance that pollutes and kills those who mine it, while the poor fair-skinned oppressed would be called 'pearls' (beautiful, precious, rare and used in jewellery and ornamentation). Right.
The protagonist is blonde-haired and blue-eyed...not a brunette, or a red-head, but the epitome of the 'beauty ideal' that has bred self-hatred and feelings of inadequacy in generations of girls from a diaspora of ethnic backgrounds.
And the use of black face - a 'tradition' that is stewed in bigotry, exclusion and Jim Crow racism - as the means of allowing the protagonist to 'pass'. This isn't irony, because it's too insulting and lazy to be ironic. It's racist. But then, perhaps that should not be surprising considering the jaw-dropping comments you put your name to in this blog:
"Her first reaction is shame. He has slandered her with an ugly epithet -- a disgusting remark about her lips. Later, she wonders how he could possibly have mistaken her race. She is white, the remark usually targeted at blacks. (The term "African American" did not exist in that day.)" So it was not the the statement was ugly - it was that it should not have been directed at the author because she was white.
"Soap-mouth-washing words that were forbidden in my youth now populate rap songs so often I wonder if, happily, they have lost their vile connotations." No. Just no to this, And please do not ever think it is okay for you use this term.
"The majority feeling that bloggers have expressed about Bramford: he's sexy, not because of his color, but because he's a strong hero." Not because of his colour...
"Which is the real message of the book, and why I love writing for open-minded young adults!" I wonder how many of those 'open-minded young adults' were the 'Coals' in your 'book'
And I read the webpage 'profile' for Jamal (http://www.savethepearls.com/members/...). It's disgusting. I have no other word for it.


message 4: by Danni (new)

Danni If you would like some of that constructive criticism, commentary, and beloved backlash, perhaps you might peruse the tumblr tag of your book: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/save-the...


message 3: by helen (new)

helen estrada the story was very engaging from start to finish, couldn't put it down!


message 2: by Chaton (new)

Chaton I love the themes of self-acceptance and beauty, as well as the take on interracial relationships. I am so passionate about this book!


message 1: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Griffen I think the book has a great message Victoria... :)


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Living in Eden's World

Victoria Foyt
This blog gives a glimpse into the themes that inspired Save the Pearls Part One REVEALING EDEN: beauty, racism and our deteriorating environment. By addressing these themse in a fantasy romance book, ...more
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