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Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

So, I don’t typically read a lot of books with tough subjects. Part of it is by accident (most fantasy YA books don’t deal with a lot of major emotional or mental issues) and part of it is that I read books and watch movies to escape and don’t really seek out those tough subjects of my own volition.

I have enjoyed the occasional ugly cry with books and at movies, but it’s not my favorite. For that reason, the books I listed only deal with some tough-ish issues and aren’t really heavy hitters.

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Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects


1Poison Study– Yelena deals with abuse issues from her past, having been held captive by slavers.

2Daughter of the Forest– This book very boldly deals with rape. It’s a tough scene to read, but I thought the author handled it really well.

3Mercy Thompson series– Something pretty crazy happens to Mercy in one of the middle books (maybe #2 or #3). I don’t want to say exactly what because it’s sort of a spoiler.

4The Picture of Dorian Gray– This book has MAJOR issues all up inside its pages. We’re talking greed and murder all the way.

5The Hunger Games– I would say kids killing each other for sport is a tough subject – especially when Collins spares no one.

6The Sweet Far Thing– This book is really interesting in that it deals with sexuality in a Victorian-era setting. It was definitely a different take on the time period

7A Long, Long Sleep– This book also talks about abuse – but more in the sense of emotional abuse and instability. It is a really moving and powerful book.

8Heart’s Blood– The issue of beauty and disfigurement was handled in Heart’s Blood. It’s a topic that isn’t brought up in a lot of books.

9Darker Still— The main character in Darker Still is deaf and is treated like a lower class citizen in early century New York City.

10The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer— A lot of mental disorders are mentioned and brought up in this novel.

Have you read a lot of books that deal with tough issues? What have been your favorites?

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • I almost put The Hunger Games on my list, but I decided to stick with contemporary fiction and non-fiction for this one. But, you are right, The Hunger Games definitely deals with tough things as do a lot of your choices. Nice take on today’s list!

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  • Ems

    I never even thought of including anything besides contemp on my list. I really should have remembered that any kind of book can have issues. Great list!


    Top Ten

  • Wow, the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a tough book through and through. It has potential to creep you out, completely! Some tough books I’ve read are The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. Both made me cry so hard!

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