Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (5)

Top Ten Tuesday is a Tuesday book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish to make lists of our favourite books or book-related topics. For this week's theme I picked one book per "tough" issue that really stands out to me. For the purposes of my list a "tough" issue is something highly controversial or something that would be hard to experience as a teenager.

Top Ten Books Tackling "Tough" Issues

1. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. Laurie Halse Anderson is renowned her her novel Speak but I'd like to remember her for her 7th book. A novel that redefined what it means to have an eating disorder to me, Wintergirls opened my eyes to a terrifying world of sadness and angst. A beautiful novel about one of the most heartbreaking forms of self-harm.

2. Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal. A 2011 debut author, Lorraine Zago Rosenthal has captured the attention of YA readers this year with her stunning novel about growing up in New York in the 1980s. We meet Ari who is unaware of the AIDS and STI risks around her as she begins her emotional awakening in high school and are drawn to her discovery of love and sex.

3. Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. Ellen Hopkins is the queen of controversial issues. It was hard to narrow it down to one novel to choose, but in the end Impulse won out. This is one of my favourite books about teen suicide because for once it looks at it from the perspective of attempted cases rather than the lives of friends and family post-suicide.

4. Exposure by Therese Fowler. A YA/adult crossover, Exposure delves into the modern day world of sexting and its serious implications in today's legal cases. After two teenagers in love are caught sending each other nude photos they fight to prove their innocence and right to privacy versus new and up-and-coming laws about the internet.

5. No and Me by Delphine de Vigan. A French novel about homelessness, some YA readers might shy away from such a "pointless" or "boring" but No and Me is nothing but heartbreaking and passionate. The tale of a homeless teenager in modern day Paris will open your eyes to the world of those forgotten by society with no one to comfort them.

6. Sister Wife by Shelley Hrdlitschka. As polygamy becomes a national issue in both Canada and the USA many YA authors have taken to giving their perspective on the FLDS' lifestyle choices. Sister Wife offers three perspectives: a daughter who wants to get out, a "lost boy" who is kicked out, and a sister who years to be married. I appreciated the originality compared to other novels who only paint one side of this very complex issue and fail to comment on the lives of those left behind.

7. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. We've all heard the news stories of young girls kidnapped and raped but rarely do we hear what actually happens during those terrifying hours, days, months, or in this case, years. In Living Dead Girl readers are subject to the harsh realities of sexual abuse and the startling affects on the personality and behaviour of young Alice.

8. Stay by Deb Caletti. Deb Caletti's most recent novel Stay is about a young girl escaping her present by running away to the sea. While there are many other facets to this complicated novel the most prominent is teenage relationship violence, a topic that needs to be addressed more in the media and literature. 

9. Becoming Anna by Anna J. Michener. Becoming Anna was one of the first books I ever read about mental illness, especially when the narrator was the one being diagnosed. A terrifying story of  misdiagnosis and foster care, Anna's memoir erased most of my stereotypes about mental patients and their circumstances and replaced it with a heart wrenching honesty of fear and isolation.

10. I Know It's Over by C.K. Kelly Martin. Teen pregnancy is a very common topic in YA literature but rarely are readers able to hear the male perspective. In I Know It's Over, Nick learns that his ex-girlfriend Sasha is pregnant. I bawled through most of this book due to it's beautiful prose and metaphor, and the shocking emotional anguish a teenage boy must feel when faced with such a situation. 

Did you do a Top Ten Tuesday? Post your link in the comments! 


  1. Haven't read all of these books, but the ones that I have read are really good. Loved Wintergirls soooo much, and I also liked it better than Speak.

    As for books about mental illness, I'm posting a review a little later on Tuesday about The Babysitter Murders, which I recommend you check out. Might not be better than Becoming Anna because I haven't read that one, but it's certainly compelling.

  2. Oh..by the way, the review will be up on YABookShelf.com in case you didn't get that because I didn't say it.

  3. We really need to read Laurie Halse Anderson...

    Anyway, great list! We would also include The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, which is a beeeeautiful and hilarious book about a girl trying to cope with her sister's death. You wouldn't think an issues book could make you smile, but this one definitely does.

    Also, Hold Still by Nina LaCour. More serious than The Sky Is Everywhere, but also lovely. It's about a girl trying to cope with her best friend's suicide.

  4. Wintergirls was the first book I read by Laurie Halse Anderson and I was definitely impressed.

  5. I haven't read most of these books but I will definitely be checking them out.

  6. Wintergirls was amazing, I just remember feeling like I've been hit by a truck. And ooh, I Know it's Over looks really good, CK Kelly Martin has gotten so much praise, i really want to read it! Awesome list, great picks :)

  7. New Follower.

    An amazing list. Many thanks for opening my eyes to new books.

    Don't be a stranger,
    Holly @ In-Interest

  8. Living Dead Girl was probably the most difficult and disturbing book I have ever read. Great list!

  9. I haven't read Exposure yet but I am surprised not to see it on others list.

    My Top Ten


  10. Other Words for Love sounds really good. I am going to look into putting it in my library.

    Please visit my blog and sign up for my first Giveaway!


  11. Goodness, I've only heard of a couple of these titles before. There are many powerful stories here just from reading the summaries. Thank you for visiting and for sharing.

    Happy reading!

  12. Wintergirls is a definite - though it's very triggering for those of us who've had EDs. I also have to say that Living Dead Girl was a brilliant choice.

  13. I haven't really read a lot of issue books in the past, but many of these are on my TBR right now. I hadn't really thought about Other Words for Love as an issue book, but clearly I didn't know enough about it! I look forward to reading these, as well as Thirteen Reasons Why and The Tension of Opposites -- both of which I've heard a lot about!

  14. I have not read Wintergirls but after seeing it in many list I will have to check it out. Great List!


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