In this essay, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and Amy Stornaiuolo explore new trends in reader response for a digital age, particularly the phenomenon of bending texts using social media. They argue that bending is one form of restorying, a process by which people reshape narratives to represent a diversity of perspectives and experiences that are often missing or silenced in mainstream texts, media, and popular discourse. Building on Louise Rosenblatt's influential transactional theory of reading, the authors theorize restorying as a participatory textual practice in which young people use new media tools to inscribe themselves into existence. The authors build on theorists from Mikhail Bakthin to Noliwe Rooks in order to illustrate tensions between individualistic “ideological becoming” and critical reader response as a means of protest. After discussing six forms of restorying, they focus on bending as one way youth make manifest their embodied, lived realities and identities, providing examples from sites of fan communities where participants are producing racebent fanwork based on popular children's and young adult books, movies, comics, and other media. Situating these phenomena within a larger tradition of narrating the self into existence, the authors explore broader implications for literacy education.

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