Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Dealing with Tough Subjects

All the books I chose for this theme that I currently have copies of, except for Girl Overboard, which I couldn't find.

This is my twenty-second Top Ten Tuesday post. Top Ten Tuesday was created and is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. I'm really excited about this topic because it means that I get to feature a wide range of books, from those that have held a place in my heart (and on my shelves) for years, to more recent reads. I've tried to pick books that deal with a variety of issues, but couldn't resist including three that deal with food and body issues, all read as part of the Body Image and Self-Perception Month that I participated in. As always, click the links in the book titles to read my full reviews.

Top Ten Books Dealing with Tough Subjects

1. Pushing the Limits, by Katie McGarry - Yes, this novel has a romance at its heart, but Echo and Noah also have to deal with the social care system, betrayal, amnesia, and mental illness, and the characterisation throughout is outstanding.

2. Noughts & Crosses, by Malorie Blackman - A thriller set in an alternate version of the UK where the dark-skinned Crosses are in charge of everything, whilst the light-skinned Crosses struggle to gain access to decent education, healthcare, and justice. As best friends Callum and Sephy, a Nought and a Cross, head towards adulthood, they have to deal with the harsh realities of their world and their growing feelings for each other. It's a heartbreaking and fascinating story, and the first in a four-part series of novels.

3. Candy, by Kevin Brooks - A compulsively readable novel about Joe, who falls in love with Candy, a heroin addict, and despite his denial, slowly and inevitably learns about the terrible world she lives in.

4. Nobody's Family Is Going To Change, by Louise Fitzhugh - The eldest of the protagonists is only eleven, but this story, about learning to cope with parents that disapprove of your dreams, is immensely powerful.

5. Massive, by Julia Bell - A haunting snapshot of the life of Carmen, a teenage girl heavily influenced by the disordered eating of those around her, especially her mother Maria, who is obsessed with dieting.

6. Fat Kid Rules The World, by K. L. Going - Troy, the titular 'fat kid', is befriended by Curt, a popular, skinny, punk boy, in this short book with an unusual plot. Troy finds himself following Curt around, and eventually being encouraged to play the drums in Curt's band. This book deals with family problems as well as the food and body image issues that you would expect from the title.

7. Girl Overboard, by Justina Chen Headley - Billionnaire's daughter Syrah Cheng has to deal with the body issues her mother has passed onto her while recovering from a snowboarding accident and heartbreak.

8. Leader of the Pack, by Kate Cann - As their relationship develops, Gem and Jack have to deal with the laddish, hyper-masculine culture that goes hand-in-hand with his beloved rugby team.

9. Saving June, by Hannah Harrington - Recently bereaved Harper sets out on a road trip to scatter her sister's ashes in California, along with her best friend Laney and the mysterious Jake.

10. Dancing Through the Shadows, by Teresa Tomlinson - A tiny little book about a teenage girl called Ellen whose mum is diagnosed with breast cancer, and how she deals with her feelings though dance and helping to clean an ancient well.

Would any of these make your top ten? What are your favourite 'tough subjects' for books to tackle?

14 comments:

  1. Oh I am glad to see you choosing books like Fat Kid Rules the World and Girl Overboard. I don't see enough people talking about those books :)

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    1. They are both such fantastic, unique books that deserve to be more widely read!

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  2. Great list! I thought Saving June was brilliant. I also enjoyed Pushing The Limits which features on my list this week too.

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  3. Love to see Candy on there, and Noughts and Crosses, I hadn't even thought of those!

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    1. I read them both in the last couple of years, so they were on my mind :)

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  4. So, I actually haven't read ANY of these (shame on me!), but I love that you talk about body/self-image issues because I think that even if we don't immediately think of them as "issues," they're probably the most common ones of all! I'll have to check out the ones you mentioned.

    Happy TTT!

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    1. Thanks! I agree, they are so common, and it's important to talk about them and discuss how to deal with them.

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  5. Im currently reading Room by Emma Donoghue, and i havent finished it yet but its brilliant in the way it handles rape and imprisonment, especially because its all through the eyes of a five-year-old. The perspective is unique and skilfully handled. Loved noughts and crosses when i read it a couple of years ago!! It shattered me!

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    1. I've heard lots of positive things about Room but I'm not sure it's the kind of book I'd enjoy. Might have to give it a try for that reason! Shattered is definitely the word to describe how I felt after finishing Noughts and Crosses, I barely slept that night!

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  6. It seems that I tend to read books with "tough subjects" when they are more applicable to something I'm going through or an issue I've heard about recently. Sometimes it make things easier when you can read about others experiences with a similar difficult situation even if it is a fictional character. I have had cancer hit my family recently and I found that solace was hard to find. You hear about cancer constantly but it doesn’t really impact you until you are dealing with it firsthand. I found that reading about it, researching it, and finding forums about it were helpful and inspirational. A tough subject book I read recently that really touched me deeply is a biography about a young revolutionary teacher, Jhumki Basu, who battled breast cancer and fought for change in the inner city school systems written by her father, Dipak Basu. The book is called “Mission to Teach” (http://missiontoteach.org/). A quote about young Jhumki Basu from renowned British anthropologist Jane Goodall says it all, “Once she was diagnosed with cancer, it seems she gained additional funds of energy and determination with the knowledge that she had to achieve her life’s goals in a short period of time “… I think this book helped with my healing and motivated me. I really hope you will give it a read :)

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation! :)

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