Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they come up with a topic and invite whoever wants to add their own list to their own blog.
I rarely ever go for books that are “issue” books – meaning books specifically written to talk about an issue teens (or whoever) may face in their lives. But, when I come across them, I feel like I sometimes react differently. Sometimes so much emotion wells up and I can’t even take it. Sometimes I get into such a rage that I have trouble seeing. Not really because I think the characters in the books I read are real, but because somewhere out there these issues are happening to REAL people.
Here are some “tough topics” and books that go with them:
Abuse – This subject is one of the most difficult things I can read about. In fact, if I see that a book is specifically about that subject, I steer clear of it. That’s how much I can’t stand it. I don’t mean just physical abuse, but sexual and mental.
The Raven Boys – It’s sort of hinted at throughout the book, but when I finally got to the realization I wanted to hug a certain character. Really, truly hug them.
Sweethearts – Hands down the villain in this book is Cameron’s dad. While I’m very glad the situation didn’t end like I thought it was, it makes me super sad to know that these situations happen all the time. What’s wrong with you, you sick $&@#s?!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – There’s two types in this book – sexual and physical. Both broke my heart. First off… doesn’t Elena’s boyfriend know she’s a vampire? Why is she not using her vampire strength to KICK HIS ASS?! Wait… wrong book. Anyway, when Candace’s boyfriend hits her.. sigh, you don’t mess with girls named Candice. And then Charlie… my heart wept for him. I don’t want to give anything away, but yeah… my heart wept.
Eating Disorders – I eat these books up (pun most definitely intended). Having experienced a tiny disorder of my own (I went through a phase of being bulimic in middle school – not enough to make a difference but enough to affect me) I feel that this is one of the saddest things a young person can go through.
The List – This book incited all my ragey feelings towards girls with eating disorders. Don’t they know that food is delicious? Don’t they know that they are beautiful? Why don’t they realize these things?! (clearly I didn’t know these things either when I was younger)
Death/Grieving – There are all forms of death… and while I’m not so much into death books, I love books about the grieving process that people go through. I love comparing them and seeing all the various forms grief takes. There are some that are done REALLY well.
The Sky is Everywhere – Out of all the books that I’ve read that have dealt with grief, I feel like this seems to be the most realistic one. There is a huge sense of guilt when you’re happy, guilt when you’re sad… then you feel sad about feeling guilty. I think this book captures Lennie’s realistic reactions to her sister’s death in the most beautiful way possible.
Perfect Scoundrels – Not really a go-to if you’re looking for a book dealing with grief… I just thought this one showed such a different side of losing someone. Basically the selfishness and how alone it can make you feel when you lose someone you loved.
Where She Went – Maybe you’d argue that If I Stay would have been a better example… but I’d disagree. I thought this was a good example of the aftermath of death. Like how it can separate you from your life, things you knew, etc.
Sex – Say what you will about sex, but it is most often a VERY tough subject, not only for young people but for older ones as well. Sometimes sex can be all willy nilly and sometimes it can be a hugely traumatic event. In YA books, especially, it can be tough because of the stigma that can be associated with sex (slutty, easy, etc.) in both entertainment and real life.
Lola and the Boy Next Door – The sex in this book was crazy disturbing for me, mostly because I wanted Lola to be with Cricket! I think this book served as an example of how even though two people should be together, if one is in a relationship with someone else, that relationship goes on as normal – sex included – which can be extremely difficult to accept.
Such a Rush – There really wasn’t actual sex in this book (not a spoiler bc if you’ve read Jennifer Echols’ books, there usually is sex) but more like the repercussions of the stigma teens sometimes have with sex – Leah is pegged as the school slut because of sex… whether she’s having it or not.
Forget You – There’s a pretty “graphic” sex scene (you know, as graphic as YA will let you get) and deals with losing virginity. Which, for some people, can be a pretty important/traumatic/beautiful moment in their lives.
Drugs/Jail – Sadly I’ve had entirely too much experience with the repercussions of the drugs and jail (not me! I promise! Just Say No Crack is Whack is my motto!). Reading about these things, especially in teenagers, is very tough for me, often times leading to tears and heartbreak.
Pretty Amy – This one was VERY hard to get through because my little brother went through a similar situation in high school that Amy did. Not really being around when it happened (I was in college) and not seeing most of the repercussions it led to, I think I got a real eye-opener after reading Pretty Amy… and having a little more compassion towards my brother.