Today I got a message that made me rageful.
It was about a scene in The Dream Thieves. I don’t want to be spoilery, so I will just say it goes like so: Boy wants to kiss Girl. He asks her. Girl says no, even though he asked nicely. She does not want to kiss him, Girl says. He does not kiss her. But he is sad about it.
This message (which also echoes thoughts I’ve seen in the online Raven Cycle readership) wanted to know why Girl was being such a jerk. He asked nicely, said the reader. She could have just given him one, as, like, a send-off. She’d wanted to kiss Boy before, after all.
No, she couldn’t have. She said no. It doesn’t matter if we like Boy as a reader. It doesn’t matter if Girl, in the world of the book, likes him as a friend. It doesn’t matter if Girl at a previous moment considered kissing Boy. If Girl has decided she doesn’t want to kiss Boy, ever
Girl never, ever has to kiss Boy.
No matter how nicely he asks.
No matter how sad it makes him.
No matter if she is drunk at a party or he threatened harm to himself or if she didn’t say it loudly or he asks her super, super nicely.
No means no.
And it makes me sad that it’s GirlReaders I see judging GirlCharacter. Yeah, I’m sad he got rejected too. He’s a nice kid. But I would hope readers would do the same thing he did, in the book: respect that her no meant no, and respect that she had the right to say it.