It isn't always easy to talk about tough issues. Sometimes it's down right impossible. However, having a hard conversation with tweens and teens is important. And when you find it hard...a lot of times a good book can help. Here is a list of some of my favorites. Pic up a book this summer...read, share, and chat.
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This is by far a great book. It tackles the topics of bullying and suicide. Great for boys, too, since it is written from the point of view of a teen boy by a male.
When Clay Jenson plays the casette tapes he received in a mysterious package, he's surprised to hear the voice of dead classmate Hannah Baker who committed suicide 2 weeks earlier.
Paper Towns by John Green
Most books by John Green are great and tackle tough issues. You really can't go wrong with any of them. I truly enjoyed Paper Towns because it not only touched on social issues and suicide, but it also focused on friendship and taking risks. Very humorous and a fun read. Again, it is a great book for boys with the main character being a teen boy and is also written by a male. And when you are done reading this book, make a date for a movie night and rent the flick starring Natt Wolff.
Young and shy Quentin (Nat Wolff) is in for the night of his life when Margo (Cara Delevingne), the most popular student in high school, recruits him to help her play mischievous pranks on the friends who betrayed her. The next day, however, the mysterious Margo is nowhere to be found. With help from a few buddies and some cryptic clues that she left behind, Quentin embarks on an obsessive mission to find the girl who stole his heart and made him feel truly alive.
But I Love Him by Amanda Grace
This book tackles the tough topic of dating abuse. About a love gone horribly wrong, But I Love Him, tells a dark tale of what could happen in an abusive relationship. Expect to have a deep conversation after reading this book. It is a tough read, but worth it.
At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved - and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything - and everyone - in its path.
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
This is another great book tackling the issue of dating abuse.
After her sister left, Caitlin felt lost.
Then she met Rogerson.
When she’s with him, nothing seems real.
But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?
A Few Historical Fictions by Ruta Sepetys: Out of the Easy, Salt to the Sea, and Between Shades of Gray
Although these books aren't contemporary tough issue books, they are amazing reads. All three books tackle tough issues/topics and dive into what is may have been like coming of age in a difficult time. They are all must reads.
It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.
Told in alternating point of views, Ruta Sepetys unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity and love can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.
Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life--until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives.
30 Days of No Gossip by Stephanie Faris
I just recently read this book and I loved it! It is definitely a must read for middle schoolers. A fun read that tackles social issues. Stephanie Faris does an amazing job keeping tough topics light and fun and easy to talk about. I love her characters and her voice. This book is perfect for your tween. I am looking forward to reading more of her books. Make sure you read this book this summer!
Can a middle school gossip queen change her ways, or will she lose her BFF for good?
There are so many amazing and well written books that tackle tough issues. I will make sure to give you more soon!
What YA books on tough issues to do like? Have you used books to start a tough conversation?