Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Books Dealing with Tough Subjects

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week, they post a subject and the goal is to answer the question with your top ten picks. Once you've done it, link back to The Broke and the Bookish and check out what other bloggers have to say!
Top Ten Books Dealing with Tough Subjects
At first, I thought I might not be able to participate this week because I don't read a lot of contemporaries which tackle heavy subject matter. But then I took a glance at my shelf and found a few I'd like to share in no particular order.

1) The Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (Kidnapping/Rape/Child Abuse)- This is one of those books that will live in infamy. I read it once all the way through and was so horrified by what I read, I re-read it again right away. Told in first, second and third person view, you can't help but be drawn in to this awful situation.

2) Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (Eating Disorder)- I read this quite a long time ago and was horrified by the raw, emotionally destructive character I found between the pages. Both gorgeous and terrifying at the same time, this is one everyone needs to read.

3) Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf (Abuse)- I wasn't expecting to really fall for this book. I knew it was going to be a sad, emotional read but what I also found was the hope of new beginnings. It's one of the main reasons a book about relationship abuse still sticks with me.

4) Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler (Alcoholism)- All of the characters in this novel are guilty of some crime but alcohol is what ended up running Gabby's life. Watching her fall victim to all of the things people thought about her or wanted her to be was just as awful as learning about the car accident that changed her life. But the subject matter is handled beautifully.

5) Hold Sill by Nina LaCour (Suicide)- This novel really got to me. Combining the written word and drawings from the girl who committed suicide, it's hard not to become invested in Caitlin's plight to come to terms with the fact that her best friend is no longer around. A powerful and touching read.

6) 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Suicide)- This is the first contemporary I read in YA and it knocked my socks off. The unique use of the 13 tapes to connect all the little incidents that pushed Hannah toward her decision was just awful and gripping. I couldn't put the novel down.

7) The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Celicia Galante (Cults)- Told in alternate views from Honey, who can see how their religious cult leader is brainwashing everyone, and Agnes, who believes in her faith and their leader, this book is both powerful and horrifying. I've always found cults fascinating and repulsive so I knew this would be a good choice for me.

8) Hate List by Jennifer Brown (School Shootings)- I thought this book had a really unique premise. It's about the girlfriend of a school shooter living with the guilt after a shooting has occurred. Valerie helped her boyfriend make the list he would use to shoot the students at school and she has to live with that. Plus, she is still grieving over the boy she knew, the one that would never be capable of such a crime, while the whole world hates him. Such a touching read.

9) How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford (Outsider/Friendship/Missing)- Watching Robot Girl and Ghost Boy get to know each other through the radio show and learn to trust each other made me so happy. But when I realized Ghost Boy was serious about disappearing, it broke my heart. Definitely a great read!

Those are the books that tackle tough issues perfectly! Which ones did you include?


  1. Great list! I just add some of this books to my list. I need to read soon thirteen reasons why.
    Here is My Top 10 Tuesday

  2. My goodness! I don't think I've read any of these, I have to confess of avoiding anything too serious, so that's probably why.

    Liza’s Top Ten

  3. I think my sister would love this list. Wintergirls is her ALL time favorite book. I didn't know Where It Began is about alcoholism! and wow, Living Dead Girl has some very touch subjects.

    great list,
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  4. I've read three of those. I remember not liking Wintergirls, but for some reason that one mentality sticks out in my mind: Hunger is strength. Or something along those lines. It's such a thought-provoking read. I desperately want to read Breaking Beautiful and Hold Still. Thirteen Reasons Why was one of the first YA I ever read--it also turned my world upside down.


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