The protection of the tender psychology of children is too often a false, hollow box of innocence, built from a tacit agreement that both parents and children will look the other way at the harmful, risks just beyond the door of modern passages. My own daughter and I early declared safe sanctuary for any conversation, and learned to listen without projection, and with feedback. We discussed many of edge-sliding episodes in the center of these novels. A big part of the push for children in real life was the pull of the void of conversation; the pretense by parents, the silence by peers that these temptations and acts were NIMBY (not in my backyard!). Gauging unknown consequences is not a strong suit of children. They are in over their heads before they know it, and long before parents find out.
Despite the outcries of parents and others, trust and openness in conversation (and reading!) are deterrents, not encouragements. I agree that fiction is a safe place to “explore.” But there is a great tendency to bury our heads and blame the messenger when the message is uncomfortable, even scarring.
For parents who fight against the presence of Lauren Myracle’s books, perhaps a discussion with their children of a few of the less alarming experiences she describes is a good place to start. Even if you don’t want you children to read her works, a great deal of benefit can come from discussing safer themes and sharing knowledge about modern risks and harms as a voice of prevention.