I always adore books that deal with situations that can be found in today's society, and those authors that never shy away from the challenge of writing about something that could cause controversy. Some of my favourite books dealing with more difficult-topics are: 'Pretty Girl Thirteen' by Liz Coley, 'Alice Bliss' by Laura Harrington, 'Dear Dylan' by Siobhan Curham and 'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green. That is, admittedly, quite a mixed-list, with 'Pretty Girl Thirteen' dealing with both dissociate identity disorder - which is a mental-illness - and sexual-abuse. 'Alice Bliss' is all about the consequences of war, but for those left behind, and what it's like for a teenager to loose an important figure in their life. 'Dear Dylan', on the other hand, takes on abuse in the home and 'The Fault in Our Stars' deals with cancer - an illness that is only whispered about - and never discussed as openly as it should be.
|Serious topics are treated like they have a caution|
sign next to them.
There is a list of problems and experiences in this world of ours that could be seen as something to be embarrassed about. Even when reading, there are only a very few number of books that dare to write about something that isn't welcome in a normal day-to-day conversation, that, when it is brought out, it's seen as unacceptable for a young person to listen to. Agreeably, I wouldn't hand a book like Coley's to anybody under fourteen(due to some extremely sensitive scenes) - but in YA, when we are growing up and life is becoming more difficult, I feel it is more important to not be scared to write about abuse, whether that is when a family-member is physically-hurting someone or it's a not-so-good relationship, as just seeing it in books means that young people can notice these things happening, and they may just be more willing to report them.
Stereotypes. They may just be the bane of my existence. Anytime I hear such a sentence as, "This is so OCD" or "I am such a retard," I feel disgusted. I know this can't be helped for some people, as they rarely understand what they are saying. They don't realise that they are in fact insulting those with a mental-illness, or a disability. If young people are reading about characters who are mentally-ill, whether that's OCD, depression or schizophrenia, they suddenly realise what it feels like to suffer through them. They suddenly read all the emotions, and find a connection with the characters, and maybe, someone, anyone, will be hit by the realisation that mental-illness is not a joke. In terms of disability, I have not read one book where I have seen this conveyed. There is such a stigma surrounding mental-illness and I have no idea why this is. Books, let's make it vanish! I can briefly remember 'Heidi' from when I was younger, and that story has stuck with me for a long time, but I've never come across a book for teens where the main character has a disability. If you don't look a certain way, or act a certain why in these-times you are mocked and ridiculed. Maybe books are the way to make sure everyone is accepted?
I'm not sure whether I want to start this debate, but I think it may be time to talk about sexuality. I know there are slowly more books being released that deal with LGBT(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) themes, but I have to ask, why can I only think of one author, that is well-known, that has these type of books out? I also have to ask why book covers with two males kissing on the front are banned - David Levithan's 'Two Boys Kissing' has been taken off shelves in the past due to this. What is this teaching young people? That liking the same sex is wrong? It is, isn't it? If two boys kissing cannot be seen in the fictional-world, how can it ever be accepted in the real-world? It needs to be, though, because you still hear comments such as, "He's so gay!" when walking through places such as school corridors. If you have a bisexual character, for example, and the reader can relate to them - as these people are normal too - then will we be creating a generation of people that have absolutely no problem with loving whoever you want to love.
We see suicides all over the news, one's that have been committed by teenagers, and you're always left asking yourself the question, "Why?" I'd love to see a book written about the aftermath of a suicide in a family, as not many people really understand the effect it can have, especially in the situation where you're feeling so low you begin to consider ending your own life. If it's written about, more people can access information that they may need! You feel less embarrassed knowing there is somebody else - even it may be a fictional-character - that has the same 'problems' as you do. Can certain topics no longer be shied away from? I think so.
What do you think?
Do you have any favourite books that deal with hard-hitting topics?
This post was in no way written to offend anyone. If any part of it has, please contact me and I will remove it if I feel it's necessary.