Top Ten Tuesday

YA Books Dealing With Tough Topics {Top Ten Tuesday}

180515 YA Books Dealing With Tough Topics

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Welcome to a new Top Ten Tuesday!

Today’s topic should have been ‘books I disliked/hated but am glad I read anyway’. And truthfully, I was having a lot of trouble with that topic since the only books I can think of that I actually hated were the Fifty Shades of Grey books and I AM NOT glad I read them anyway… So I twisted the topic a bit to ‘books that were tough but I’m glad I read anyway’. But then that shifted a bit to ‘books with tough topics I want to read’ and in the end I mixed it all up anyway and made a post on ‘YA books dealing with tough topics’. So let’s just go with that, shall we? 🙂

Basically, these are all young adult books that deal with some pretty heavy, dark topics such as death, racism, rape culture, mental illness and so on. Pretty much all important topics to talk about and discuss, because even if they are tough to read they still deserve to have people be aware of them. Some of these I have read and adored despite the heavy topic. Others I unfortunately still have to read but have heard lots of praise about already.

Here we go!

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera


“I was in love and love died and the pain you’ve left isn’t pain I can see myself having the strength to face again.” 

History Is All You Left Me deals with mourning, as we follow Griffin, whose ex-boyfriend just passed away.

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

“It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.” 

All The Bright Places deals with depression and suicide and starts when our two main characters meet on top of the school bell tower.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” 

The Hate U Give deals with racism and police brutality.

The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

“I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That’s why I’m trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.” 

The Perks of Being A Wallflower deals with traumas, depression, abuse and anxiety as we follow our wallflower Charlie.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

“You can close your eyes to the things you do not want to see, but you cannot close your heart to the things you do not want to feel.” 

Forbidden deals with forbidden love and incest when a brother and sister end up falling in love.

This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

“Everyone has a reason to fear the boy with the gun” 

This Is Where It Ends deals with a school shooting and is told over the span of 54 terrible minutes.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

“I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” 

The Fault in Our Stars deals with human mortality and two kids with cancer.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

“Yeah, there are no more “colored” water fountains, and it’s supposed to be illegal to discriminate, but if I can be forced to sit on the concrete in too-tight cuffs when I’ve done nothing wrong, it’s clear there’s an issue. That things aren’t as equal as folks say they are.” 

Dear Martin deals with racism and police brutality.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

“Believing something existed and then finding out it didn’t was like reaching the top of the stairs and thinking there was one more step.” 

Made You Up deals with schizofrenia and features Alex, a girl who can’t tell the difference between reality and delusion.

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

“But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.”

The Female of the Species deals with rape culture.

WHAT ARE SOME BOOKS with tough topics on your tbr?
Any suggestions for me?


  1. Nice topic! I need to read some of these too, I tend to avoid heavy real world stuff sometimes and go for the escapism, but I have to admit it’s also nice sometimes to educate myself and/ or just think about real stuff too, and other perspectives. All the Bright Places and The Hate U Give both sound excellent.

    1. Yes, I’m exactly the same way! I can read the tough topics, as longs as there is some escapism in between them 🙂

  2. I’ve heard really good things about ‘Bright Places’ but haven’t read that one. Or any of Jennifer’s actually! I did like TFIOS more than anticipated, but I also feel like that one is probably a one-time only read.

    Great spin on today’s topic, Lindsey! 🙂

    1. I really loved All The Bright Places, but I have heard some mixed reviews. Hope you’ll love it though! Yeah, TFIOS is definitely one of those one-time only reads – can’t take that heartbreak twice.

  3. I still want to read The Hate U Give as well as I think that is just so important in this day and age. 🙂

    1. Yes, exactly! It’s such an important book! (I still need to read it too 🙂 )

  4. I love your twist on this week’s topic! Great list! I wasn’t a big fan of All the Bright Places, personally, but the rest of these are either ones I loved, or have on my TBR. I’m reading History is All You Left Me next week for Sob-a-thon and I’m nervous, lol!

    1. Thanks! Oh, History Is All You Left Me sounds perfect for a sob-a-thon because I sobbed almost throughout the entire book (and I adored it also, so I hope you will too!)

  5. I kind of did the same thing with my list — I found it easier to come up with some good ones that way! I know some of these titles, and some I don’t, and Forbidden woah, that’s one I hadn’t heard of before!

    1. Haha, great minds think alike, right? 😉 I haven’t read Forbidden yet myself, but I only heard good reviews, so it’s high up on my list.

  6. Great topic! I didnt read any of these books but I really want to read The hate u give.

    My TTT:

    1. Thanks! Yes, it’s one of those I still need to read too, but I hope to get to really soon.

  7. Oh, I love The Perks of Being a Wallflower and History is All You Left Me. A few here I also need to read like The Hate U Give and The Female of the Species. I love books that focus on tough topics – they are so important, and a lot of my favorite books are these type of titles.


    1. I still need to get to The Hate U Give and The Female of the Species too, but they are high up on my list. Tough topics are so important indeed, I love them though I need a little light-hearted fantasy or romance in between too 🙂

  8. Great spin on the topic! I love it when people take the prompt and make it their own – that’s the best part of the book blogging community! Here’s my TTT:

    1. Thanks! Yeah, the prompts are more like guidelines, right? 😀

  9. I’ve not read any of these books, but a lot of them are on my TBR and I am very excited to read them!

    I’d recommend you read The Color Purple! Don’t let the fact that it’s a classic put you off – the book is really, really great!

    1. Oh, I’ll check it out. Thanks for the recommendation!

  10. Of these, I’ve only read TFIOS and Perks, TFIOS I hated, Perks I didn’t mind, but preferred the movie, since I’m not a massive fan of books written in epistolary format. I really want to read THUG, This Is Where It Ends and Made You Up.

    1. Sorry to hear you hated TFIOS! The Perks movie is definitely ne of the best movie adaptations out there I think. And THUG, This Is Where It Ends and Made You Up are all on my TBR as well 🙂

  11. This Is Where It Ends was such a tough read for me. I almost couldn’t breath while I was reading it. I don’t read a lot of books with tough topics but one that’s always stuck by me was The Shock of the Fall.

    1. I need to read This Is Where It Ends for sure. I didn’t know The Shock of the Fall, so I’ll have to check it out, thanks for the rec!

  12. Just added The Female of the Species to my TBR…sounds difficult but important.

    1. Yes, it’s on my TBR still too!

  13. I like your spin on the topic. I’ve read almost all of these, and the rest are on my TBR list. I guess I like punishing myself with difficult books!

    1. The tough topics are definitely needed sometimes 🙂

  14. I like the way you spun this week’s topic. I struggled to figure out what to do with it, lol.

    1. This was definitely not an easy topic!

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