I guess it was a matter of time: We've had teen series about Mormon-friendly vampires and the 99% fighting to the death for the amusement of the 1%. Now we've got a series that tackles race matters, and it does so in what appears to be the most tone-deaf manner possible. Save the Pearls is a YA series that...well, here's the description from the website:
In a post-apocalyptic world where resistance to an overheated environment defines class and beauty, Eden Newman’s white skin brands her as a member of the lowest class, a weak and ugly Pearl. The clock is ticking: if Eden doesn’t mate before her eighteenth birthday, she’ll be left outside to die.
If only a dark-skinned Coal from the ruling class would pick up her mate option, she’d be safe. But no matter how much Eden darkens her skin and hair, she’s still a Pearl, still ugly-cursed with a tragically low mate-rate of 15%.
Pearls are white, Coals are black. Got it? But in this world, the Coals are superior! TWIST! The central question to the book, according to the site, is "Would you betray your loved ones—and maybe your entire race—to avoid a horrible death?" Wow. And here's a book trailer. Blackface alert!
And here's the beginning of the author's note addressing charges of racism:
I would like to address the recent accusations of racism that have been aimed at my young adult novel, Revealing Eden, Save The Pearls Part One.Here's the thing: Judging a book by its cover is not racism. That's stupid. I can tell with probably something like 95% accuracy whether a book is a self-published piece of shit or a crafted piece of writing that has been edited and rewritten to professional standards by looking at its cover. And this book's cover doesn't pass that sniff test.
Some have taken offense at the cover photo on the dust jacket of a blond, blue-eyed girl with her white face half covered in dark. Without reading the novel or understanding the premise, some believe that the photo shows the girl in “blackface.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
First, consider that the basis of all prejudice is judging a book by its cover. To condemn any book on the basis of its cover is hardly different than condemning a total stranger because of the color of his/her skin. How can you critique or damn a book if you haven’t read it? This kind of blind attack is exactly what creates racism or condemned many progressives as communists in the Fifties.
Revealing Eden is a sci-fi fantasy adventure romance. And while it is a work of fiction, the premise is all too believable in the face of extreme global warming. So yes, this book is meant to provoke the white community that has never experienced racism or been oppressed because they have been in the majority in this country.