Author talks about social media perils

Laura Steven, author of The Exact Opposite of Okay, visited Cramlington Learning Village.
Laura Steven, author of The Exact Opposite of Okay, visited Cramlington Learning Village.

A Northumberland writer who set out to “cause a stir” with her first book has warned teenagers about the perils of social media.

Laura Steven, who grew up in Berwick, visited Cramlington Learning Village to lead a comedy writing workshop for Year 10 students.

She spoke to them about her controversial book The Exact Opposite of Okay, which was published in March.

It tells the story of 18-year-old Izzy O’Neill who has a fling with the son of a politician and becomes the victim of abuse on social media when pictures are posted. The book is written for teenagers and is deliberately controversial, but not offensive.

Laura, who also works for Myslexia, a creative writing magazine for women in Newcastle, said: “A lot of negative stuff happens to her and the guy faces almost no negative consequences and still gets into the law school he wants to. I wanted to make people angry in that respect. I wanted to show people that these are the facts and this is the way our world works right now.

“I wanted to issue a positive call to action, especially for teenage girls. I wrote it back in 2016 and it was obviously before all the Me Too stuff came to light and before the Time’s Up movement started.

“I wanted to cause a stir, but I had no idea how relevant it was going to become – and part of me is sad that it is still relevant.”

Cramlington Learning Village librarian Eileen Armstrong said: “Laura’s book tackles a relevant, topical issue in a way our students can relate to.”