This Top 5 Wednesday is brought to you by the tough stuff. This week I’m going to highlight the books I’ve read that talk about tough topics such as sexual assault, sexuality, abuse, mental health, or truly anything else that isn’t super happy or healthy. It’s important that books cover these topics because they are present in life and readers should be aware of the tough stuff going on around them, especially when it isn’t happening to them. Let’s get started.
1. Luna by Julie Anne Peters
Luna tackles the difficult topic of sexuality and chronicles the struggles of being transgender and understanding your identity in high school. I read this during my junior year of high school, and it was such a good book. It showed the struggle Luna went through during the day and who she really was at night.
2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
This book has many difficult topics amidst its rather typical teen love story. Eleanor was homeless for a year, she has five siblings, she lives in poverty and she has an abusive step-father. All of these elements make this sometimes a difficult read, but it reflects what it could be like to live in poverty and try survive high school at the same time.
3. A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
I read this autobiography in middle school, and it has haunted me ever since. It’s the story of Dave as a foster child and the troubles he goes through in the system. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read it, so some of the details are very blurry, but I distinctly remember reading about some of the abuse he endured and troubles he faced as a foster child. I think it’s imperitive that this story is read. Too often books gloss over the hard stuff, but Dave honestly writes about his abusive childhood and it teaches anyone who reads it about the horrors of child abuse as well as the foster system.
4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
I also read this book quite some time ago, but it’s about a girl who is raped and how she deals with it. She decides to withdraw into herself and remains silent about the situation. This was a keystone book in my development as a young adult as well as my understanding of sexual assault. Commended for how Anderson tackles issues, this is a book that lives on my shelf to this day.
5. Stolen by Lucy Christopher
This was such an interesting book. It’s about a girl who is abducted and held captive for about a year by a young man who has been planning this abduction for quite some time because he is in love with Gemma, the main character. It delves into the intricacies of love and obsession and teaches readers about safety and Stockholm Syndrome.
What are some of the books you’ve read that talk about “the tough stuff”? Let me know in the comments below!