Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

Posted May 14, 2013 by Kara in Lyn / 20 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic: Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects.

Reading is a labor of love. We invest in characters. We celebrate our favorite authors. We promote and fan girl/boy over our most beloved books. We use them to escape life and live somewhere else, meet new people, and live vicariously through the main characters.

Then there are books that we read for a good dose of reality. This week’s topic allows us to discuss the books that cover difficult and painful subjects. I do not have a solid list in one particular subject, so I will include the topic that each book discusses as I go through my top ten this week.

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Go Ask Alice by Anonymous (drugs) – I read this book in high school, and it scared the living daylights out of me, but at the same time, it made me thankful for what I had. Shock lit was huge when this released, but this one stuck with me the longest, thanks to the deep emotional drive in the novel.

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The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (death) – I believe this book has made it on a TTT list in the past.  Grief and dying are difficult subjects to approach.  It is hard to define and place into words.  Nelson tackles this chafing topic with a beautiful story of the people left behind after death.

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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (victim blaming) – I usually avoid these books due to the the saccharine-induced candy coating  treatment of real world issues. However, Anderson’s novel came across as genuine and authentic, leaving a bittersweet flavor at the end of the book.

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After by Amy Efaw (pregnancy) – A sorely overlooked book, this one needs to be read completely to fully comprehend the message of the story, and the hardships that teens face when they accept the choices in their lives.  After was a complete shock, and I found the novel highly compelling and down right gutsy.

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One Child by Torey Hayden (poverty) – One of the best school-required books I have ever read.  This author worked with a number of severe cases of disturbed children, and this book brings up many difficult emotions and conflicting opinions regarding children, crime, definition of giftedness, and the legal system when considering the rights and the lives of elementary students.

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Stop Pretending: What Happened When my Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones (mental illness) – Watching loved ones suffer through a mental illness is beyond any words I can think up.  The best way I can describe it is “heart wrenching”.  Sones, best know for her What My Mother Doesn’t Know series, reflects the pain of becoming a witness to mental disturbances, and what happens to a family in the center of the battle.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Alexander Sherman (poverty/racism) – I never thought I would enjoy a story about the struggles that Native Americans face today in the current social climate, but the honesty in the writing and the pure, ugly truth of the subject matter made this fiction a must-read book for any age.

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If You Find Me by Emily Murdock (kidnapping) – This one has rushed onto the scene and been hailed highly by book bloggers.  This includes me as well.  On the cusp of recent stories about kidnapped children, Murdock pushes the boundaries by enfolding resent events into the young adult literature.  A little bit horrible, and a little bit hopeful, If You Find Me is abrasive and beautiful at the same time.

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Me, and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (cancer) – Take a John Green novel and flip it right on its head.  Then you have this delightful and often cringe-worthy story about a teenager dealing with a classmate’s fight with cancer. It doesn’t hold back, and at the end, you don’t know if you should throw the book across the room, or sing high praises for the tongue-in-cheek approach to “sick lit”.

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Speechless by Hannah Harrington (homophobia/bullying) – I couldn’t get enough of this book.  The main character pissed me off at time, and what she did was horrible, but this book doesn’t say “sorry” – it says “put on your big girl panties, because we’re going to face the truth.” It is quite cheeky how Harrington tackled such a serious subject, and in the end, this book hit so close to home that it hurt and entertained all at once.

What books made your list for this week? I am highly interested to see the results of this week’s topic – leave a link below!



20 responses to “Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

  1. Jaz

    The Sky is Everywhere <33333 omgosh I love it so much.

    I really want to read If You Find Me, you guys gave it a really good review so I’m interested.

    I have Speechless and have yet to read it.

    • I loved that book. And I thought I would hate it when I first started it.

      If You Find Me is wonderful – I HIGHLY recommend the book!

      Speechless is so different from everything else. I like that someone took a chance.

  2. Bahahaha, I’m so amused by the fact that I saw The Sky Is Everywhere on some fluffy read lists and now here it is on the dark ones.

    That and Speak are the only ones I’ve actually read, so I don’t have much interesting to say. *whistles*

  3. Amy

    Great list. I have a few of those, but haven’t read them yet. I think Speak was amazing. Ones that I would have put on my list are Flawed by Kate Avelynn and Suicide Watch by Kelley York too.

    • Speak surprised me. I was waiting for it to suck big time, but it shocked me and stayed true to its course.

      Thank you for recommending some books! Off to Amazon to add it to my wish list!! Wait, OMG SUICIDE WATCH IS 1.99 FOR KINDLE!? *buy!*

  4. By anonymous? So weird! I don’t think I’ve seen a book written anonymously before, but anyways it sounds great I love those types of books that haunt you! I loved Speechless! And I’m starting Speak on Audiobook today! 😀

    • I think they found the name of the author, but it is so much more mysterious written under an anon, you know?

      I hope you LOVE Speak! Speechless what the shiz – I want to see more of that type of lit pop up!

  5. The only book I’ve read from your list is Go Ask Alice, several others are on my TBR, though, and I am glad to know they’re sad and / or tough, so I will be prepared.

    Here’s my TTT post.

    Happy reading.

  6. Ooh, After! I considered putting that on my list but ultimately didn’t. Choosing just 10 books was VERY HARD. Definitely agree with you on If You Find Me, and Part-Time Indian. I NEED to read (but am nervous about) Speak and The Sky is Everywhere. Hopefully I love them too!

    • You read After!? Didn’t the ending just BLOW YOUR MIND! I e-mailed the author after I read it, telling her how I felt that her book was amazing, and she said one day she would love to write the book from the father’s POV after the events in After. I would LOVE for her to write that!!

    • Yah, Wendy! I hope you read it and you like it. It is tough to stay with that book until the end, but I think if you read the entire thing, you will like it!

      I wish there were wore books like Speechless. I just adore that book, and I miss the characters, especially the secondary characters.

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