Define Slut

There’s no denying the imbalance and misuse of power in our culture of sexual bullying and harassment. The manifestations may vary depending on environment (e.g., a college dorm or the TV set of a wildly popular early 90s family sitcom), but the repercussions for the victims are always the same, always devastating.

Ask any woman and chances are she can not only list all the times she’s experienced unwanted comments, touching, aggression, bullying, or worse, but she can probably tell you how young she was when she first encountered said experiences. She was probably very young.

Here at Zest, though we like to keep readers apprised of forthcoming books, we usually keep most of the work under wraps until we get closer to publication date. There’s a few reasons for that; one is to accommodate for any last minute changes. However, due to the timeliness and urgency of this issue, we want to introduce you all to Emily Lindin, founder of The UnSlut Project and author of our December release, UnSlut.

When Emily was eleven she was branded a slut by her classmates, a reputation that followed her for years, that broke her sense of self worth and led her almost to suicide. Zest is honored to publish Emily’s heartbreaking and revealing diaries from that time in her life, alongside her present-day reflections.

UnSlut1It’s unfortunate that it takes an eleven-year-old’s diary to prove both the ubiquity and ruin wrought by shaming and bullying, but Emily’s voice is also one of strength, demanding our attention to an issue of critical importance.


UnSlut: A Diary and a Memoir
by Emily Lindin
Coming December 2015
Preorder Now!

Zest Weekly Roundup

ZestWeeklyRoundupIt seems like it’s been a week of book fervor (fever?), from top 2015 lists to a sneak peek of Harper Lee’s new novel in fifty years! It’s been a very bookish seven days. . .

So, without further ado, Zest’s weekly roundup of links:

Read the first chapter from Harper Lee’s forthcoming book, Go Set a Watchman.

Electric Literature covers a middle school in Biloxi that painted all of the lockers to look like the spines of popular books.

The Millions gives us a preview of the awesome books slated for the rest of the year.

Fifty all-time, hands-down best summer reads (classic and contemporary) from Flavorwire.

Cartoonist Kate Beaton on the importance (and pay off) of drawing for fun!

Books in the films of Wes Anderson: a perfect confluence.

Huffington Post shares stunning photos from a gender non-conforming summer camp.

Book Riot confronts the taboo issue of fat phobia in YA literature.

And in our small corner of the web:Plotted-3

Buzzfeed posted nine maps from our forthcoming literary atlas Plotted. Included in our October release are landscapes from classics such as Huck Finn, Watership Down, Around the World in 80 Days, and more.

PS: You can pre-order Plotted here.

Thanks for reading! Tune in next week!

Zest Weekly Roundup

ZestWeeklyRoundupThe biggest news in the last week is, hands down, the celebration of marriage equality. “Their hope is not be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

So, without further ado, our weekly roundup of links:

zeaAutostraddle lists thirty things that made them cry on Marriage Equality day.

Zea, the seven-year-old staring down fire and brimstone, makes the internet rounds.

Huffington Post asks us to relinquish our skepticism of gay children.

Watch kids explain gay marriage on Jimmy Kimmel.

The Girl Scouts stand up for trans rights and refuse a 100k donation. And trans Harvard student swims for men’s team after being recruited for women’s.

And in book and music news around the web:

Flavorwire posts on the OED and the surprising origins of new words. And if the etymological oddity of words is your thing, check out The Weird World of Words.

NPR released their favorite twenty-five albums of the first half of 2015, as well as their favorite tracks.

What fierce looks like: the Women’s World Cup.

Hip hop stars Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole visited high school classrooms and graduations this spring.

And in our small corner of the web:

Which infamous cult leader are you? Take the quiz!

Our award-winning and bestselling Tomboy now comes with a study guide. You can download it for free! It’s a great aid for teachers, leaders, and parents.

Thanks for reading! Tune in next week!

The TOMBOY Study Guide

For a better look or to download the Tomboy study guide directly to your computer, just click here.

Pride Month and Queer Summer Reading

For all the stories of triumph and acceptance and legalization, there are still stories of tragedy, injustice, regression. It can be strange, at best, and paralyzing, at worst, to feel simultaneousQueer_9780981973340 ly that LGBT rights have come a long way, and have so much more to go. It is a feeling marked by caution, optimism, disappointment, and drive, among innumerable other things.

Which is why, among all the complicated politics and heartbreaking stories of ousted LGBT prom goers, it’s good to step back and celebrate, to gather together in our pride. The Supreme Court may legalize same sex marriage, Fun Home brought the first lesbian protagonist to Broadway, the transgender community is finally getting some of the thoughtful attention they deserve.

It’s pride month. There’s a lot to be proud of.

Forty-six years ago a bar in New York—one without running water, a liquor license, or fire exits—was the scene of police brutality and bigotry, and consequently, intense rioting, rioting that ignited activism across the nation.

In June cities all over the US honor the activism of the 1969 Stonewall Riots with festivals and parades. These events are marked by their inclusivity, displays of pride, and—not to be understated—their enormous amounts of fun. So, get yourself to the closest event, either to ally or to be with your people!

Pride doesn’t have to (shouldn’t) end in June. We need to keep ourselves educated and apprised. So, there are a couple of our books you may want to check out: the first is an introduction for teens on all things queer—coming out, navigating dating, dealing with homophobia, standing up for your rights, safe sex, and so much more: Queer: The Ultimate LGBT Guide for Teens.

“Now is a really exciting time to be queer because change is happening so rapidly. . .  Queer teens and their supporters have fought hard for this, and while the fight for queer rights and acceptance isn’t over by a long shot, every baby step of visibility, honesty, and activism gets us a little closer to full equality. It’s no longer a pipe dream to be out and to live a normal life in this country. It’s a near reality, and it’s up to you to keep pressing ahead to make it happen.

So what to do? Reading this book is a great start. The next thing to do—if you haven’t already—is to educate yourself and to connect to the larger queer community. There are thousands of queer people going through the same things you are. You just need to find one another.”

Alice+FredaForever_9781936976607And, for a totally different kind of queer reading experience, our bestselling Alice + Freda Forever is now being made into a movie. If you’re looking for some thrilling history, this is the real-life story of two women who fell in love but were kept apart. Passion has many manifestations, including tragedy. The San Francisco Chronicle calls it “an astonishing look at love as tsunami, the wild violence of passion, and a young woman undone by her own heart.” And Publishers Weekly said it is “[A] lively, provocative history . . .  a well-written effort that makes the most of its source material on two levels, both as true crime and as social commentary.” To learn more about the forthcoming film adaptation, check out the piece from The Guardian.

Happy pride month everyone! And may your summer be full of warmth and good reading!