Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!
I’M SO EXCITED I’M BACK TO DOING THESE! It actually required the CAPS. I’ve been away at school for so long and so busy that these have been impossible because I wasn’t able to visit all the blogs that visited me. But now I’m home and finals are over and I’M BACK!
This Top 10 list is probably the weirdest, most eclectic list I’ve ever put together, mostly because I’m not ashamed to admit I usually avoid books entirely about tough subjects. These are most certainly not all young adult books, and some of them are historical fiction because why cheat halfway?
1. White Oleander by Janet Fitch
I was given this book at way too young an age, but the details of the story stuck with me. This book is a visceral showing of the foster care system, neglecting mothers, violence and sex. I honestly can’t believe I finished it.
This is a classic for a reason. It makes this list because I didn’t expect it to affect me as much as it did. What do I know about slavery or rape or killing my own children? Nothing, thank God. But this book made my stomach churn and my eyes water and left me thinking, hard.
3. Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler
Look, a young adult book! When I heard the premise of this book–that the main character kills a boy with a kiss because there was peanut oil in her lipstick and he was allergic–I wasn’t sure it was going to go over well with me. I wasn’t sure it would work. But there is a real dealing with of grief throughout this book, both in terms of the main character, the victim’s family and even the main character relating this to her dead mother. It worked much better than I thought.
I didn’t read this for handling of tough subjects, but I got it. Throughout this story, the main character deals with peer pressure, how far you’ll go for fame – and what happens when a room full of teens are given guns and told only one survives. My stomach was rolling with the action, and it stuck with me long after.
5. League of Strays by L. B. Schulman
I’m still not sure how I feel about this book, but one thing’s for sure: this is one of the more candid, stomach churning pictures of bullying I’ve allowed myself to read.
6. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
The levels of adoration I have for this book are limitless. Despite the fact that this is billed as a contemporary romance, it really is so much more. The themes of family, love (besides relationship!) and healing after a huge traumatic incident are really strong and truly touching.
7. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Technically, this is historical fiction. Personally, I think this is about so much more. I mean, the tagline is “I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.” This book deals with the bonds of friendship and the horrors of war all in one. I mean, the book OPENS with the main character being interrogated by the Gestapo. I very rarely cry for books, but this is one of those times.
8. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
I know that these books are pretty cookie cutter and all, but this book had such a personal bent for me that by the end of the book I was bawling my eyes out. I still can’t read about the character of the little brother without sniffling.
9. Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn
Okay, this is historical fiction, so I’m kind of cheating. I mean, these “tough subjects” are somebody’s life. However, what I was struck by was a rather smaller part of the book, which is the physical and sexual abuse that Thea goes through at the hands of the Emperor. It was striking in how little it was underscore.
10. Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci
I had almost forgotten about these books before I went looking for ones to fill this list, and now I’m struck with the need to read them all over again. These books are striking examples of what happens when you find yourself at Death’s door, when your mother overdoses and leaves you to die on your own and just about love in the face of death in general. Both it and it’s sequel just floored me.