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August 31, 2008

Comments

Danielle

That is so true... I completely agree. WIth everything. I've been rereading many of my books lately and have had completely different reactions to them from what I once had. Wow... Thanks for putting into words what I've been feeling lately regarding that!

By the way, EB is my second favorite after GG of course :)

Eileen

That was exactly what I think so many people who don't read need to hear. If you say books are boring, then you might as well say anything with a plot or story is boring, which, logically, should rule out movies and TV too. But somehow it doesn't. I wish people would open up their minds to books- they really are wonderful things!
Oh and I loved Enna Burning. It's practically tied with Goose Girl for my favorite.

Eileen

That was exactly what I think so many people who don't read need to hear. If you say books are boring, then you might as well say anything with a plot or story is boring, which, logically, should rule out movies and TV too. But somehow it doesn't. I wish people would open up their minds to books- they really are wonderful things!
Oh and I loved Enna Burning. It's practically tied with Goose Girl for my favorite.

Anidori-Isilee

I'm reading The Stranger now. :-) And EB definitely ranks up with GG (and The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia) as my favorite book of all time.

Anyway, I liked this post. One of my pet peeves is when people declare a book is good or bad like it's a fact rather than an opinion. A book just is what it is, which is a bunch of words strung together on a page that (hopefully) tell a story.

And Eilenn, I loved what you said about TV and movies not really being any different.

Bart

Well said! It has been sad to see the veritable "hatefest," particularly after just having tried a little of my own writing. As far as I can tell, it's not only difficult to write something you feel good about yourself, but doubly difficult to produce that which may appeal to a wide audience (I liked Rapunzel's Revenge, btw). And it's fine if people want to be critics. That's what consumers have become in just about every market. But by not acknowledging the GOOD along with the bad, people prove themselves to be poor critics and ultimately unhelpful to those looking for an insightful review.

Enna Isilee

Wow. That was a great post. I've had a lot of experiences like that, especially as I've matured from child to young adult. I've re-read some childhood favorites and found myself going "meh." And then lately I've re-discovered some YA books that still are wonderful, even more so.

And Enna Burning is certainly not least popular with me! No ma'am.

Dr. Sallie N. Cheinsteen

Passion is, I believe, at the very bottom of every person's heart. Perhaps that sounds a little silly. Let me splain.

Every person has something in their life that thrills them to pieces. It strikes a nerve in their body, and if they could, they would do that thing for the rest of their life. So, for example, when an artist produces a painting, that is their passion, and they put it out there for the whole world to see. They let others examine it, critic it, rip it to shreds, put it on a podium... whichever they choose. It is the same for politicians, musicians, business men, teachers, writers. Even for those who don't have good intentions. I really do think everyone puts what they've got out there. And it won't always be appreciated, perhaps more so by those who don't share that passion. But it's those who are willing to delve inside another's world, another's passion, who find the experience. It doesn't come easy. But it's that trying, that glimpse of another person's life that can be truly exhilarating, and... well worth the effort.

Q

That is an astute observation. I think everyone who hated Breaking Dawn needs to read this post.

cheryl

I agree with you. I know that before Breaking Dawn came out I was reading a forum that asked the question "What could happen in Breaking Dawn that would make you mad/hate it/mad at Stephenie. There were so many people commenting on it. I simply stated that even if I didn't like it (which I did!) that it wouldn't make me mad because these were Stephenie's characters and Stephenie's stories and we were just lucky enough to have her share them with us.
I also truly believe it is important when a child is learning to love reading to be actively helping them find the books they love and when they find one to help them find others like it. Thank you for this post. I really enjoyed it.
Also, The Goose Girl and Book of A thousand Days are two of my favorite books. I have loved all of your books so far but I haven't read the new one yet. Thanks for all you do.

Isi girl

i remember I used to dislike reading so much when i had to read certain books for school. they just were not to my taste. Soon as i started reading on my own i fell in love with reading!! Now one can hardly ever find me not reading something.
i love goose girl so much i read it over and over again. i even have my favorite spots(which there are many of ;~D) marked. i love all of her books. she is such a good author.

amy

Bravo! I agree 110%!!! I love what you said about giving up control. I had preconceived ideas about Breaking Dawn and was bothered a the beginning of Breaking Dawn. Then I decided to give up that control and I ended up loving the book.

The hatefest has been horrible to witness. Thank you for standing up for Steph!

BTW- I loved Enna Burning! I was surprised to hear it's your least popular book.

cheryl

Yes! This is why I always give books a chance; regardless if I disagree with where the storyline goes. It's one thing to dislike the language or if it's offensive (filthy imagery, etc.), but to bash a book purely because I didn't like the way it went? Ludicrous! That's the joy of reading --not knowing what the journey will bring.

P.S. I loved Enna Burning. :)

Uly

You just kinda-sorta inspired me to make a post of my own.

I was a reader as a kid. Nothing could've turned me *off* reading.

But I remember with a burning passion a statement a teacher made to me that *could have* done so if I was, instead, a poor reader or a reluctant one.

I was reading in her class, and she noticed my book and commented that it was "too easy" for me. As though I should only choose books that I can learn from, and never that I can simply enjoy!

(What really irks me is that I'd already tested at a college reading level for at least four years, since I was still in my single digits, so it's doubly absurd. But what if I hadn't? Would she have criticized my choice of reading material then, if I really needed *encouragement* instead of disheartening comments?)

Enna-girl's girl

I completely agree! As people change, so, then, does their perspective. I remember being a Harry Potter fanatic since the age of six, and now, a bit more than ten years later, I find it completely devoid of the original appeal that drew me to it so long ago. Not that they're not good, of course, I still think that they're excellent. But as a human, I've moved on to reading and spending afternoons with other books(Princess Academy, Goose Girl, etc :)) There is simply no such thing as a bad book. It just depends on the time, place, your mood, and your views.
Lots of love
Enna-girl's Girl

Lauren B.

I totally agree with all of this. The first time I read Twilight I didn't like it. After falling in love and doing a lot of growing up, I read it again and am now a huge fan.

I had no idea Enna Burning was your least popular book. I'm kind of shocked actually. The Goose Girl and Enna Burning were my favorites. I've read them countless times...basically whenever I'm really upset. Enna Burning is my comfort book. Still shocked. haha

Erin

I'm probably the only teenage girl who never liked Stephenie Meyer's books, and I used to marvel at the fact that anyone liked them. After reading this post, though, I started to think about it, and I guess it's just not the book for me. At the same time though, there is something to be said for not liking a book because the writing isn't good and that is how I felt about Twilight.
Also, Enna Burning is my favorite Shannon Hale, which basically makes it one of my favorite books ever!

Lindsey

Brilliant post.
I'm baffled by the haters also. If you don't like a book, put it down. Throw it if you must. Think about why you didn't connect, then use that knowledge as you pick up a new one and try again.
I give Stephenie props for writing the book she wanted to write. Was it my favorite of her books? No. But it's hard enough keeping marketing and editorial people happy, let alone millions of fans. There's no way she could please everyone. As an author, the most important person to please is yourself. Lack of passion translates onto the page.
And I have to say, as hard as it must be to receive such mixed reactions, I hope she's comforted by the fact that the reactions are STRONG. Readers fell in love with these characters-- they feel ownership over them. She's made them real for us.

Michelle

In general, I agree, but in regards to Breaking Dawn, I don't. I strongly disliked this book. Not because I was unhappy with where the story went, but because I felt the quality of the writing deteriorated. It felt rushed and haphazardly put together. To me, it read like bad fanfiction, not like what I had come to know from Stephenie. I never thought her books were impeccably written, but there was so much passion them. This book was lacking that life, that driving force, in my opinion.

In regards to your own novels, I've never felt that way. They always feel like you put everything you've got in them and I've loved them all. From my favorite, The Goose Girl, to my least favorite, Princess Academy, I have adored them. It's hard for me even to say Princess Academy is my least favorite because I still enjoyed it so much.

To each their own, but I don't really feel like this Stephenie Meyer hate fest is all on the readers.

Somnite

I a still of the opinion that there is objectivity in writing. There is good and bad writing. Maybe you enjoy some bad writing, and maybe you hate some good writing.

Enna Burning is my favorite of your books!!!!

Amybobamy

Wow, I wish I could comment to everyone's comments. I have always hated the feeling that I am too old to be reading YA novels, or that I must not be intelligent enough. I simply find the books that cause me the most joy, which is the purpose of reading to me. I love YA, because they are so imaginative and fun; they let me feel young again. Not that I am old..I'm still under 30.

As to Breaking Dawn and the rest of the Twilight saga, it is true that they may not be as complex or, some would say, well written as other novels, but they have those strong emotions. I am a huge fan, and even loved Breaking Dawn. That doesn't mean I completly agree with the way the plot went or how certain characters behaved, but it is Stephenie's story to tell, not mine. I can appreciate the ride no matter what happens. I felt the same way with Harry Potter, and probably with many other series.

Reading to me is about the journey. It is perfectly o.k. to not like a book. I know there are plenty that I don't like (most of them I read in college as an English major). The key is to not blame the author for "ruining it", but to find another book or author that you enjoy. Also bashing other people's tastes in literature is not very polite either. Everyone has different tastes, and that is why there is such a variety.

I'm done. I enjoy your books, Shannon, and even though I haven't read them all yet I know I'll be getting to them eventually.

Jas fr Aus

I scrolled down here to write that enna burning is in fact my favourite of your books (always has been) only to discover that multiple people had already made similar claims. I think we sort of just proved your point, hey? :)

Jas fr Aus

P.S. on a completely unrelated note: spring has sprung! (in the southern hemisphere anyway). YAY!

Laura Z M

Nothing justifies a "hatefest". Nothing. Not opposing political views. Not religious differences. Not disappointment with a novel.

Nothing.

Just a decade ago, negative opinions regarding books were largely confined to private conversations and book club discussions. Even today, most people wouldn't dream of shouting mean, hateful, or rude comments about a book in a public place. But the anonymity provided by the Internet seems to give some people a perceived license to lash out, to post things in blogs and on online forums that they would never speak aloud.

It is my prerogative to react to a book any way I choose. I can love it, hate it, deem it a classic, think it's poorly-written, whatever. And I should feel free to express my opinion about a book with those who care to hear it. But when I condemn others because their view doesn't conform to mine, or when I launch personal attacks on the author, I've crossed the line. This is true even when my feelings are intense and passionate. Perhaps especially then.

Megan

Shannon - I completely agree with teaching kids how to choose a book. I spend the first few weeks of my school year doing just that. Everyday we talk about different things, like when to abandon a book or how to make a list of topics, authors, and genres that interest you. It really helps the kids enjoy reading more.

As for Breaking Dawn, I'm one of the many that didn't like it, but I didn't HATE it. I am fully aware that it wasn't my book to write, so I just have to add it to my list of books I didn't love. That's all.

Alexa

I completely agree with that! Sometimes things just don't click the first time around, or they do and then later they just aren't there anymore. Depending on the mind-frame I am in, my view on most of everything changes. Thank you for posting this post, some people really do need to be reminded of these things before they start freaking out.

Robbie

Well said Shannon! I have been stunned at the negative feedback left by 'fans' at Amazon who decided that because the storyline of Breaking Dawn did not go the way they had hoped or anticipated, that somehow made it a 'bad' book or Stephenie Meyer suddenly became a 'bad' author. Whilst it was not my favourite of the series, I appreciated that this was the author's vision of how the character's unfolded and thoroughly enjoyed the emotional roller-coaster that was the Twilight experience! By the way Shannon, I was shocked to read that Enna Burning was your least popular book! It was my absolute favourite! I adored watching Enna's developement and inner struggle to find balance with her gifts. Thanks again for the words of reason!

Cynthia

Like others who commented, I agree with your article. With certain events that happened in Breaking Dawn I was shocked and at first didn't like what was going on, but didn't want to make final criticism until I finished the book. I loved it. Then I re-read it, with my new love for the book, so the second round was much more enjoyable.

As for other books, I never thought about re-reading books I didn't like when I was younger. But after reading your article, I think I'll definitely try that since it has been years since I've read those books :). Thanks.

Joanne Maria

"You can't please everyone all the time", so true. I know that Stephenie Meyer has gone abocve and beyond in trying to do so. I love the TWILIGHT saga, all four books are amazing to me. The Host is another amazing book. No one deserves to be treated the way Stephenie Meyer has.I pray that in time, Stephenie will be able to continue MIDNIGHT SUN, which is a masterpiece.
Shannon, thank you for this wonderful and thoughtful post.

Isabel

Great Post!!!! I truly don't understand the hate over Breaking Dawn? I just assumed it was due to people having "temper tantrums" over not getting "exactly" what they were expecting from the book.

The way you explain it is wonderful, I wish I could explain things that way... I didn't like New Moon the first time I read it, but I did understand the importance of the events and grew to love the book once I read the book a second time. People need to understand that we don't own the writers we love and that those writers are not bound to be our "puppets" The writer has an idea of where the book will go, the writer is telling the story exactly the way it was envisioned. We are just blessed that they wish to share their work and art with us. But, keep in mind that they owe nothing to us!!! If Stephenie Meyer got tired of all the abuse and picked up her writing equipment and never wrote another thing again (which that's exactly what we deserve after the way SM has been treated) that would be her choice and we have to RESPECT her for her choices.

Jade

W-O-R-D.

Personally, I loved it.

Sherry

Loved your comments! I have had the same experence with books and movies. Loved them when I was younger then read/watch them as an adult and wonder WHY DID I EVER LIKE THAT!!
I happened to LOVE Breaking Dawn! It was my favorite of the four...though I DO love a happy endings and I HATE violence for Violence sake! BTW my fave book of yours has to be Austinland!! AND the first time I read it I wasn't thrilled, though I did thing it was good, I just didn't LOVE it. I have since read it three more times and I can't figure out WHY I didn't like it the first time through!!
I do hope Stephenie Meyer can heal enough from the FEW LOUD naysayers and complete Midnight Sun. Thanks again for a great post!

Olivia

Thank you. I was so upset about all the hate towards the book out there!

Megan

Thanks for the post. It is so sad that people need to be told this. I understand that it is hard when you don't like a book and you have such strong emotions tied to it, but come on! I had a great time reading Breakind Dawn (and Enna Burning for that matter!). Thanks for the joy you have brought to many people through your books.

jayne

i completely agree about those BD readers who completely turned on her - what's their deal? I loved Breaking Dawn - it was my 2nd favorite book of the whole series (the first being and will always be Twilight). i think people just weren't expecting what happened and therefore turned angry...? i'm not sure, but i thought it was excellent.

Eileen

This should be required reading for everyone who has read and angrily protested Breaking Dawn. I will admit to be disappointed with it myself, but honestly, that is not Stephenie Meyer's fault. She wasn't writing it for me to be completely overjoyed with it; she was writing it in the way that she saw it, and if that's how the story ended for her, then who are any of us to tell her she should have written it any differently? I couldn't agree more with everything you said.

ARH

I am amazed that the people involved cannot even begin to see the error of their ways. They ask people who like the book to explain why, then immediately cut them down. They use profanity and bullying to anyone with a dissenting opinion and then claim that they are not "haters". They first claim that there are so many out there that hate the book then, when proven that the majority like the book, they claim that the majority is often wrong (citing politics). They use personal threats to further their agenda. I don't mind that they didn't like the book, but I have never seen such craziness over something so trivial. They have resorted to bullying on the playground. Thank you for writing this article. I so wish that the people who did not like the book can start to discuss why they didn't in mature ways (some have, and I find their arguments intriguing), rather than continuing the course they are on...but I highly doubt it.

meg

I am really glad you posted this! I hope Stephenie reads it as well.

I loved all of Stephenie's books and most especially Breaking Dawn. I wish people would stop bashing it. I get not liking it...but why bash it if you didn't like it? Just move on to a new one.

The thing that made me the most upset was that people were returning their books after reading them. That makes NO sense to me. Since when can you return a book "because you didn't like it"? If you try on a dress and decide it's the wrong one, then it makes sense to return it. If you try on a dress and then wear it all night, it is wrong to return it.

So, thank you again! And, by the way, I loved "Book of a Thousand Days". ☺

Natalie

Everything you just said is the truth despite some people who won't swallow their pride and admit to it. I have been to multiple sites that have become twilight "hate sites" and they deny that they are twilight and BD haters but that's what the site is, there is nothing else to call it. One site even made a petition online (it wasn't valid) against breaking dawn with 1,000 signatures. They said that they didn't want to hurt stephenie's feelings with their criticisms but how could that not? They even went as far as to bother stephenie's brother with it. How could you go through 3 books absolutely loving it and then read the fourth and it changes your entire opinion on a series? that is just 1 out of 4. I think it's very upsetting the way people are reacting to it. Stephenie needs all the support in the world right now from her fans that still love her.

Tina

I totally agree with you. I found a love of stories when I was very young. It started with 'The Little Mermaid' (the original tale) and 'The Secret Garden' and flourished into all kinds of literature as I grew. But, it was because I found these stories that made me FEEL something.
I can always toss aside a book I don't get anything from - it is my choice.
But, I have to totally respect any person who puts their mind on paper and shares it with the world, like it or hate it!
I love the Twilight series. They do make me FEEL something,even when it is anger or disgust at moments. I loved Breaking Dawn, because I respect Stephenie Meyer's right to have the story flow the way she sees it.
Thank you for this post.

Cees

Thank you for such a thoughtful, lovely post. I very much agree with you. I loved and adored Breaking Dawn. I'm now reading it for the second time and appreciating it even more. I've felt pretty upset at all the online horrible-ness and bashing and hatred, and I hope you tell Stephenie for us (since you guys probably have each other's e-mail address...I know you're good friends) that we love her so much and thank her for such a wonderful book, saga, and reading experience.

Sara(Yeah theres many)

I love Breaking Dawn, and I'nm so sick of the haters...Thank you :D

cmar

Excellent article, Finally some comun sense!
thank you

cmar

We love the Twilight Saga, Go stepenie!

Terrbear

This article was well written. I love to read and plan on having my younger brother, who hates to read, read this. Now on to why I am commenting!

I am a "hater" of Breaking Dawn. I have read a lot of reasons on why people hated the book. They are valid reasons. CRITICS have given the book a poor grade. I wish fangirls would understand that a critic for a book knows a thing or two about reading them. I have learned how to read as a critic. They did a fabulous job! Anyways, I do believe it is the authors fault. Just a bit. One reason I hated the book was it was SOO poorly edited. [Shannon's Note: dear Terrbear, remember, this is your opinion, and on this site we try to acknowledge opinion to keep the discussion fair and positive] And two: Her own PUBLISHERS wanted her to finish it at Eclipse. [Shannon's Note: This is untrue] She had to fight with them for the [EDIT: spoiler deleted] I say that all the negative feedback is saying this in code "Shoulda listened to your publishers and editors. They know what they're doing" Another reason I am upset is because her own websites are taking away any bad thing said about her books. On a discussion board, you are valid to express your opinions. [Shannon's note: You're mistaken here. A discussion board is monitored by the owner and they have the right to keep it clean and positive if they want. There are plenty of places that won't delete anything, and you are free to post there.] But of course we must not hurt SM from criticism that will help her with her writing. Nope none of that. [Shannon's note: Terrbear, this is where you cross over for me. You didn't like the book and that's totally your right, but here you forget that the author is a human being and turn legitimate criticism into sarcasm and anger.]

To the people who say why return them? That's not right. I guess I am a bad person. I returned my item. A book is an item. It is just like a dress, cooking appliance. You name it. Do you keep something you don't like? I don't. Plus it is the only way the publishers will know fans are mad. Heck the lady at the counter (who before we used to have chats about the series) Said "Glad you're returning it. It was a lousy book." I am happy to say I bought another book from the same place. So no hurting the book store I did. [Shannon's Note: It is unethical to return a read book, just as it's unethical to return clothing you've already worn. If you do so, that's your choice.]

[EDIT: paragraph deleted--the sentiments in it were valid, but the way it was expressed crossed a line. Squeetus welcomes all opinions expressed in respectful manner.]

I do understand that rereading a book helps. That's why I love and understand Wicked by G.M.. I did try to reread Breaking Dawn because I wanted to like it. The only thing is I had already started school and started to learn how to read with a sharper mind. Too many plot holes, grammar mistakes, and cardboard characters. This could've been fixed with an editor, but I think they vanished.

Great article and sorry about the long post, but I get so aggrivated sometimes over this book. Sore subject if you may. [SHannon's note: Terrbear, I'm glad you posted and you are absolutely welcome to again. I left your post here with my notes so hopefully others will see what kind of place squeetus is, how we welcome opinion but where opinion turns into attack it goes too far. I hope you aren't offended by my notes throughout your post and that you or others find it helpful. -sh.]

helen

hi, i'm a twilight fans from Indonesia. i'm just browsing around and i stumble upon your blog, and then i started searching around for some news about this "hatefest", i go to stephenie's official website and i read that she's not gonna publish her "midnight sun" because of illegal posting of the draft. and ALL of these make me feel so sad and dissapointed. i love twilight series and i'm really looking forward for midnight sun. i feel so sorry for stephenie for all these crazy things peoples are doing on the internet. i want to let her know that i will always give her my full support and i will buy midnight sun if she ever change her mind again. thank you for your post Shannon and i'm sorry if my english is bad.

Cheryl

Thank you, Shannon. Very well put. You were too polite to say it maybe, but I have to add, it's not just that we as human beings should own our reactions (whenever I dislike a book, I *always* know that reaction was about me - you should see my book reviews, they are completely self-centered, hahaha) but whatever happened to BEING NICE?!?!?!?!? Common courtesy? Not treating authors like furniture?! What about that, people?!

Becky Williams

So many people seem to have thought that the Twilight books belonged to them and that they should have a say in how it all ended. I personally loved each of the books and as I reread them I had new insights. As readers we do participate but we are also just witnesses of what the author penned, like looking at history, something that's already taken place and putting our own creative imaginations into the stories. It's kind of funny how a lot of people were so obsessed with Stephenie's books that if disappointed it was almost as if the last one was a mistranslation of a book in the bible. It's just a book from a great imagination that we get to take a look into. By the way, I just finished Goose Girl, again and loved it again. Thanks for sharing your talents for the rest of us to read.

Cheryl

p.s. I read Austenland in a couple hours directly after finishing the first three Twilight novels (because I was like, "Crap! What am I gonna read NOW?!") and I have never laughed out loud so many times while reading a book ever. I. thought. I. would. pee. I was shaking the bed with laughter, which was only a problem because my hubby was trying to sleep.

Nicole

I would just like to start by saying that I adore your books.They transported me into a familiar world but an entirley different take on it, and couldn't put down.

In response to your comment, Stephenie Meyer's work did this for me aswell, she was the right author that wrote books that I loved.

However, I read Breaking Dawn and immediatley after I didn't know what to think. There were parts of t he story that I loved, and parts that I hated... I was in the middle.

Then I reread parts of it, and I absolutley hated it. I did give the story a chance and it just didn't work for me. There were plot holes and even though yes, that happens with many books, who else should I blame but the author for this?

pat

Ok, gotta add my two cents for what they're worth (probably not even two cents!). I'm a voracious reader of all types of stories - have been all my 40 years. And because I have a young niece who is also a voracious reader I've been introduced to several YA books/series that I've really enjoyed...because they are great stories. The Twilight series is one of those. The first time I read Twilight (and yes, I've read it several times!) I fell in love with the characters - the emotional connection I felt with each (Edward the passionate gentleman protector , Bella's strength and fierce love and caring, Jacob's sweetness, Emmett's humour, Alice's glee, Carlisle's compassion...I could go on!) and with New Moon and Eclipse, that emotional connection simply grew stronger. I ached, I cried, I loved, I was involved with each of the stories. But when Breaking Dawn came out --- unfortunately that emotional connection was lost. My life hadn't changed nor the circumstances. The characters and the story, for me anyway, simply did not seem to follow what was presented in the previous three books. That's what disappointed me the most. I didn't hate the book --- I was happy [EDIT: spoilers deleted]. But besides the joking side of Jacob, I simply did not see my Bella, my Edward, or any of the other character's as they were in the previous three stories. And I know -- this was a different story, but the character's had remained true to who they are/were in the previous three books so that should not have changed in BD, no matter what the circumstances were.
Again, I didn't hate the book, but I wouldn't say I liked it either. And that, for me, had everything to do with the way it (or more specifically the characters) were written by the author. Anytime an author writes a series with the same characters, it IS their responsibility to stay true to who their characters are...readers expect and deserve that. That's not to say characters won't do something out of character, or won't die or whatever, but at their core the characters should be true to what they've been in the previous stories. And that responsibility lays directly in the lap of the author. But I'm not hating on S. Meyer --- she gave me three beautiful, emotional books that I truly love so I'm grateful to her.
Anyhoo, that's my two cents -- take it or leave it!

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