Last week the Broke and the Bookish asked us about our favorite light, fun reads. This week we are looking at the flip side-serious books. I am going to be honest, I am not a huge fan of “issues” books. I really hate to be reminded of how horrible people can be to themselves and each other. That being said, I do have a few go-to books that deal with tough topics.
1. What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton. This debut novel by a local author deals with the aftermath of rape. It is beautiful and heartbreaking.
2. Please Ignore Vera Dietz A.S. King. Really, any A.S. King. She is brilliant. Vera Dietz deals with issues of betrayal, abuse, and death. Ask the Passengers deals with homosexuality. Both are lovely. I will let you in on a little secret. I would take the YA Issues Book Crown away from John Green and give it to her. There. I said it.
3. The Hate List by Jennifer Brown. Bullying, school shooting, and suicide. Powerful stuff, told from point of view of the girlfriend of the shooter.
4. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers. This book about bullying continues to haunt me. Brutal and disturbing.
5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. This one is an adult nonfiction, but I think it would appeal to some teen readers. Racism and medical ethics collide in this shocking story.
6. The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith. This one may appear to be a science-fictiony horror story on the surface, but at its heart it is about kidnapping, trauma, and post traumatic stress. It is horrifying and disturbing and I loved it. I confess that I am a little afraid to start the sequel.
7. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Now this is how I prefer my “issues” books. This is a book about grief, but there is an awesome road trip and a cute guy. There are light moments, but you never forget that it is a book about loss and grief. A favorite.
8. Pushing the Limits and Dare You To by Katie McGarry. I love these gritty romances that star good girls, bad girls, good guys, bad boys, drugs, poverty, messed-up parents, homosexuality, first love, sex and more. Must reads for fans of Simone Elkeles.
9. Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg. This is another “lighter” serious book. Smart and sassy on the surface, this book is anything but shallow. Issues include messy dysfunctional families and the pressure put on girls to be pretty in order to fit in.
10. Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. Gosh, it has been a while since I have sung the praises of Piper Vaughn and this awesome book! The issue: a deaf teen in a hearing world. Love, love, love this book.
Honorable Mentions go to:
Happy (grab a tissue before you start) Reading!