Top Ten Books Dealing w/Tough Subjects

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme created by the wonderful blog, The Broke and the Bookish, as they are particularly fond of lists over there. All they ask is participants link back to the site to share their lists with fellow bloggers. Check out The Broke and the Bookish for details on this great weekly feature!

This week’s topic is top ten books dealing with subjects that are difficult or personally hard for you.

Books dealing with rape/sexual abuse:


1. Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
I have a feeling this book will be on a lot of lists. This was probably the first book I read that dealt with rape, and it is probably going to end up being a classic. I’ve liked a couple other Laurie Halse Anderson books, but Speak is definitely my favorite. I love the power of Melinda’s story and how Anderson uses art to heal her.

2. What Happens Next – Colleen Clayton
I read this pretty recently and can say it definitely does a good job of realistically describing the effects rape can have. I really identified with Sid’s shame and guilt about what happened to her. I felt Clayton dealt with the issue perfectly.

3. Scars – Cheryl Rainfield
This was one of the first NetGalley books I received. It’s not one of my favorites, but it is interesting in that it deals with multiple issues, including sexual abuse and sexuality. A lot of people believe that those two things can effect the other, and this book does a good job of exploring that issue.

4. Such a Pretty Girl – Laura Weiss
Such A Pretty Girl is about what happens when a young girl’s father goes on parole after being sent to prison for sexually abusing her. This book made me want to cry and scream (mostly at the completely clueless mother), and I continue to think about it to this day. WARNING: Do not read any other Laura Weiss books after this one, because they are nowhere near as good.

5. Living Dead Girl – Elizabeth Scott
This is the only book about a kidnapping I’ve ever read. Living Dead Girl made me squeamish and uncomfortable in all the right ways, and it is a perfect example of Scott’s lyrical writing. This

Books dealing with mental illness/suicide:


6. Goth Girl Rising – Barry Lyga
This book means a lot to me. I read it during the worst of my depression, and despite the dark cover (which caused my doctors to be concerned about me reading it, hilariously enough), it gave me hope that things could get better. I identified with Kayla’s anger very much at the time I read it, and appreciated the lack of a sound resolution of the story, because “getting better” is never really over.

7. Hold Still – Nina LaCour
Yes, I know, I write about this book a lot. I almost didn’t read it because I was worried it would be too depressing, but it’s still one of my all-time favorite books and I really wish it got more recognition. It’s about a girl dealing with the suicide of her best friend, and it really helped me see how my own friends might have seen me during my most depressed time. This book made me much more forgiving of people I had been angry at a long time, and made me a more understanding person.

8. The Nature of Jade – Deb Caletti
I’m cheating with this one because I haven’t read it yet, but writing this list made me think of it again. This book, unlike Caletti’s other novels, is not a romance, but instead focuses on a young girl with panic disorder. I ought to read this book at some point soon; it’s been on my shelf for an embarrassingly long time.

Books dealing with sexual self-destruction:

I should probably explain what I mean by “sexual self-destruction” before I describe these last two books. Basically, I am talking about books about characters who self-harm through sex and have unhealthy sexual relationships.


9. Nothing Like You – Lauren Strasnick
A beautifully written book about an unhealthy sexual relationship. I really related to Holly even though I’ve never actually been in her particular situation. I think it was more that I related to being in a relationship that I knew was wrong or bad or unhealthy, but that I had a hard time tearing myself away from.

10. Uses for Boys – Lorraine Scheidt
I think Anna is the character I most identify with out of all the books I’ve read this year. Her story of sexual discovery was painful, awkward, and messy, and made me think back on my earliest experiences. This is an absolutely heartbreaking story, and I can honestly say I’ve never read anything like it.


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