Top Ten Books Dealing with Tough Subjects

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature from The Broke and the Bookish. Last week’s subject was light reads and this week we’re going to the dark side. Surprisingly, this week’s topic was easier for me than last weeks! I’ve been gravitating towards lighter books lately, though I’ve certainly read my share of tough subject books.

These books deal with the tough stuff:

1. Miracle by Elizabeth Scott – Miracle takes on the aftermath of a plane crash and PTSD. Living Dead Girl by Scott could also easily be on this list- it still haunts me to this day.

2. Live Through This by Mindy Scott – Live Through This is a gripping novel about abuse.

3. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch – If You Find Me is a tale about abuse, and survival.

4. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson – Wintergirls is a chilling book about anorexia. Anderson’s Speak should easily be on this list as well.

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – I tend to think of this book being about depression and grief for the most part, but there are other tough issues explored as well. 

6. Hold Still by Nina LaCour – This book centers on the aftermath of suicide.

7. Speechless by Hannah Harrington- Speechless is about a bully who becomes bullied herself.

8. Don’t Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala – Takes you inside the life of a runaway trying to survive on the streets.

9. The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas – Loved this book about grieving and healing after losing a mother, but after going through this myself this is the kind of book I avoid now. It’s so interesting how personal experience shapes our book choices.

10. Something Like Normal by Trish Doller – Male POV about a soldier experiencing PTSD on his return home from Afghanistan.

Do you prefer to read lighter books or those dealing with tough subjects? Are there any tough subject matters you avoid?


20 thoughts on “Top Ten Books Dealing with Tough Subjects

  1. Rebecca says:

    I forgot about Don’t Breathe A Word, but it’s perfect for this list. I loved the story. Something Like Normal is on my list, too – Doller’s debut blew me away and I can’t wait for her next novel to come out. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh, Perks and Something Like Normal! Love those choices! I have Hold Still on my list as well. I also have the If You Find Me audiobook on hold at the library. I’m excited about it!

  3. Thanks for your list. I’ll be taking lots of notes today, because of the topic. I’m going to write a grant for our AEP program for Big Issue books.

    I prefer the lighter fare, but the big issue ones are the ones that stick with me the most.

  4. I love that these books exist to start conversations 🙂

    I don’t read that many of them but I did back in the day. There weren’t that many out when I was going through those moods!

  5. Pssst – check out my blog and get back to me ASAP! 🙂

  6. Great list! I’ve only read one of them, but most of the titles you listed are on my TBR list.

    Happy TTT!

  7. Sunny says:

    Speechless sounds interesting, a bully who becomes bullied? Ooh, adding some on my TBR 🙂 Great list!

    My TTT

  8. I’ve only read two of these books, but big issue books are inspirational for my writing.

  9. IF YOU FIND ME is on so many lists today… I am really going to have to look into it. I wish I liked that cover more though. Great list! I just love how clean your design is too. I can’t wait to follow along!

    1. Lucy says:

      Thanks Estelle! The cover looks sort of dystopian to me- maybe there will be a paperback redesign?

  10. beckireads says:

    The only one I’ve read is Something Like Normal, and it’s on my list too.

  11. Someone else who added the Survival Kit to their list! I loved this book, too. I lost my mother as well, and even though it’s hard to read stories about this subject, I still find solace in them.

    1. Lucy says:

      I think I’ll get there- it’s still too raw now. Thanks for sharing your experience. I may have to hit you up for some book recs. Survival Kit really is lovely.

  12. megan says:

    Thanks for stopping by my list! I really wanted to read Survival Kit, but after losing my parents I struggle with those types of books. Ditto with cancer books. Can’t do it. On the other hand, Something Like Normal has been on my TBR list for a while now. I should get on that.

  13. quix689 says:

    I’ve only read one book on this list (Perks). I’ve heard of most of them, though, and most are on my TBR list. Thanks for reminding me about them! 🙂

  14. squee1313 says:

    I haven’t read any of these, but if I had to make my own list, I would put recent reads like Yellow Birds and Amity and Sorrow on it. The first is about the survivors of war and the second is about a wife who runs away from a polygamist marriage. It is very disturbing and evokes a lot of emotions.

  15. Maggie says:

    Great list! We have a bunch of the same books on our lists. If You Find Me is easily one of my favorite reads of 2013, I thought I’d find it compelling, but I never imagined I’d like it so much!

    I love dark books ways too much (which is weird because I’m a really happy optimist), but I do shy away from mental illness books.

    My TTT list

  16. MsJohannah says:

    I’m trying to remember what books I’ve read with tough subjects recently… if I stay by Gayle Forman it was heart wrenching. Made me question what I would do in her shoes.

  17. Such a great list, Lucy. I loved If You Find Me and Speechless, and I have a copy of Hold Still that I have yet to read. These Top 10s are always such great discussion posts and shopping lists!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  18. I think this is my favourite topic by far- I love these sorts of books!

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