Skip to main content

My Safe Space Books (Part 2)


If you missed Friday's post, I talked about why we need books that aren't afraid to ask tough questions and dive into realities that aren't always pretty. I also told a quick story about teen's reading choices being censored, and how that makes me sad because books are a safe place to work through trauma or understand another person's situation better. It's also a trial run for life as you question character's choices and decide what you might have done differently.
Anyway, I promise a list of books that have been important to me because of their honestly. Originally, the book was filled with all super dark, gritty, morbid books (which I do love), but I also realized that there are many books that would fit that are more warm and fuzzy than midnight tears, so I decided to give this list its own post so that I could dive into why I chose each book. Also, I'm giving the main trigger warning I can remember under each title. So, in no particular order, I give you my list:

Sexual Assault/Drug Use
Laura Sibson has written a beautiful, healing story. While it's intense and deals with difficult themes and has lots of anger, it's an amazing book that focus on the aftermath, the family rifts, and on healing and finding love with someone you trust after trauma. She doesn't shy away from dealing with the self destructive behaviors that can come from not being believed or heard as a child. Skye is an unapologetic character, and one that's not difficult to understand. 
Interview with Laura: interview

Grief, Loss of a Parent
I read a lot of heavy, intense books, but this might be the only one I've had to repeatedly put down and pick up as I read. This I in no way anything against this book; actually, it's a testament to how realistic Glasgow's writing is. The grief paired with the truly terrifying idea of losing your best friend-mom hit a note in my heart for everyone who's ever had to experience the loss of a parent or enter the foster system. 
Interview with Kathleen: interview

Describes OCD Compulsions
This is not a sad book. It's actually a really beautiful love story that I found at exactly the right time in my life. Kyler and Lennon's relationship gave me so much hope, and, being able to relate to a lot of Lennon's struggles, while swooning through a love story, was a wonderful experience. 
Interview with L.D.: interview

Self Harm
This was the first book I ever read that went unabashedly into the reality of living with mental illness. This particular book deals with self harm quite a bit, and, with all of Glasgow's books, is unflinching. This book completely changed my views as a person who hadn't really been exposed to ideas of mental health and mental illness, and I started questioning why I felt weird or ashamed to want to read the book. I credit Girl In Pieces with a lot of the self awareness I've built and with my dedication to promoting, sharing, and loving books that tackle mental illness head on. 

Sexual Assault
This is another hard read that is also beautiful and sensitive in how it's handled. I read it in a single, emotional day, and, at the end, I was crying sad/happy tears for all the girls in the book. This book is full of characters that have layer after layer, and their connections and relationships only deepen as the story goes on. It's a good reminder, too, that you never know what those around you have gone through. 

Drug Abuse/Addiction
I've never read a book that so directly confronts the reality of addiction. It's a topic I'm not super familiar with, and something that's normally talked about with a lot of stigma and in a school assembly way. There's a real lack of empathy for people struggling with addiction. Which is why I love this book and all books. They're the great equalizer. 
You're forced to go down Micky's spiral, and it's clear why she makes the choices she does. It's the farthest thing from glorified, but her actions are understandable, and you realize how quickly it could happen to anyone. This book certainly requires a person to be in the right headspace, but it's definitely a powerful experience. 
I also give this book a million rounds of applause for its perfect trigger warnings at the start.

Description of OCD Compulsions
John Green's latest was the first book about OCD that really went there with dragging you through the uncomfortable, messy side of OCD. It doesn't cut to black or fade away when the compulsions progress and get truly ugly. I appreciate the lack of candy coating on the issue in an otherwise fun mystery/adventure type story with friends and love interests. 

OCD/Agoraphobia/Self Harm
This was another book I read early into seeking out books that dealt with mental illness. As painful as the situation is, the character growth and writing in this story is spectacular. 

Stress/Depression/Anxiety
This book just gets it. I think everyone needs to be reading it, regardless of where you're at in life. As a teen applying to colleges, my heart connects with Ariel's as he struggles with the reality of not knowing what his future will hold and having no control of it despite his best efforts. For younger high schoolers, it's a window into what's to come and a good reminder of the self care that is needed throughout the process, and, for adults, I think it is the most important. It's hard to conceptualize what a monster the high school to college education system has become and what the expectations/processes/realities do to students. School is about anything but learning at this point. 

Toxic Friendship
Infatuation is at the core of this book. It's an amazing expiration of the dangers of falling hard and fast for a person-significant other or best friend- who is manipulative, whether they realize it or not. This fast paced thriller is more a look into the intensity that we all feel things and the roads that can lead down. 
Interview with Sarah: interview

They Both Die At The End
Adam Silvera is the master of sad books, and this one earns a place on this list for exploring what it means to fall in love against impossible odds. In this one, it's made obvious and tangible by the fact that Mateo and Rufus both literally know they're gonna die at the end of the day, but it's a beautiful love story that's almost like a dark The Sun Is Also A Star with no chance of a happy ending. 

Kidnapping/Loss of a Sibling
These two books both deal with abduction/losing a sibling. The world is full of terrifying realities, and these books both humanize events that we all hope to only experience on the evening news. Both of these books are compulsively real. 

Suicide/Mental Illness
This is the first book I ever read that dealt with mental illness and talked about suicide as more than a statistic. While Finch's bipolar disorder is never explicitly stated, its effects are seen through the book. It's a terribly sad story that left me balling my eyes out,  but it was a book that broke down a lot of stigma walls for me about what was okay to read and offered a glimpse into the very real realities others experience. Niven's highly relatable characters turn an issue that is often viewed insensitively as a warning and tragedy about the importance of getting the help and treatment one need for their mental health. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

All Our Worst Ideas YA Book Review

All Our Worst Ideas by Vicky SkinnerOverview: Amy has her life all laid out. She's going to be valedictorian, get the Keller Scholarship, and go to Stanford. Easy. Oliver doesn't quite know where he's headed yet. Taking his gap year has just confirmed that he doesn't want to go to college. No one in his life knows that yet. Amy and Oliver are thrust together when Amy gets a job at Spirits, the record store where Oliver works. They both live and breathe music, and that connects them even though their lives couldn't be more different. Amy and Oliver are a true example of the power of music to unite people. Overall: 4.5Characters: 5 I loved Amy and Oliver. I related to Amy so much. She loves music and uses it to get her through her intense academics and the heavy expectations from her family. She feels pressure to do well that mostly comes from herself, and her drive keeps her pushing to win valedictorian. While everyone knows how smart Amy is, her mom always talks ab…

Badlands Book Tag (from Antari Reads)

School has been so stressful that I just wanted to have fun for today's post. I stumbled upon the Badlands Book Tag on Twitter made by Alison from Antari Reads and knew I had to do it. I get so excited every time I meet another Halsey fan/YA book lover. Halsey has been at the top of my mind lately, so this tag felt like bringing this Badlands era revival full circle. If you really want to get into the music with me, I made a reaction to Badlands for the 5th anniversary of the album. You can click the link here or watch it embedded down below. I'll also leave links to all my recent Halsey related posts so you can read about my Manic book pairings, Halsey's new role in a YA book adaption TV series, and her life Badlands album. I've also included links to Bookshop in this post. Just click Get a Copy to visit the book's affiliate page and grab one. Shopping these links means I might get a small commission, and part of the sale goes to benefit indie bookstores. It's…

Spotify Book Tag

Today, I'm doing a book tag. I haven't done a ton of these yet, but I came across this one on Twitter when Santana shared their version of it, and I got inspired to do the tag! Santana found the tag from the original creator, Sarah @ Book Hooked Nook. Here's the original tag and here's Santana's take on it. I borrowed Sanata's twist and added music choices along with books that fit the prompt, and at the bottom, I complied all the songs into a Spotify playlist so you can listen to that while you read! I also made a special list on my Bookshop featuring all the books if you want to get any of them! Find that here. I hope you discover more books and music to love! If you want more music content, check out my music blog, Music, Musings, and Me. Also, make sure you don't miss Friday's YouTube video that perfectly fits with this tag: Spotlighting Books With Musical Main Characters.

1. Hit Rewind: a book you go back to again and again? 
I don't tend to rere…

Spotlight New Releases: Sunshine Is Forever

Hello, everyone! Today's is a very special post for me as I am reviewing my first ARC (more on that at the bottom). I was intrigued by the summary of Sunshine Is Forever from the second I read it, and I am now so excited to get to share my review of this amazing view into depression and the motives behind self harm and suicide. The impactful story is one I place up with many of my favorite books that tackle mental illness. It also features a male protagonist with a great voice, which we honestly don't see enough of in YA. Anyway, without further ado, to celebrate Sunshine Is Forever's publication, I am bringing you my full review of this new YA mental health fiction novel from a new author to the world of YA.



Sunshine Is Forever by Kyle T. Cowan
*Trigger warning specifically for self harm and suicide*
Overview: Hunter suffers from depression. While he's dealt with it his whole life through ineffective therapy and medication, his condition is worsened by the Incident which…

Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands From NKOTB to BTS Book Review

Larger Than Life by Maria Sherman
Get a Copy!
Overall:  5
I don't think I've ever anticipated a book longer than Larger Than Life. I'd heard Maria on a couple music criticism podcasts whenever they'd launched into the confusing world of the boy band, and she always mentioned the book would be coming soon. Well, it's finally out, and it makes me incredibly happy.
As I already knew, Maria is a boy band expert as well as a true fan. Her joy and enthusiasm really does make the book. I also love that boy bands are finally getting their full and comprehensive due. I wouldn't say that I'm particularly a boy band fan (outside of the Jonas Brothers and One Direction (though I guess those are just the boy bands of my generation so many I am)), but I find how they're looked at culturally to be fascinating. Boy bands tie back to feminism and how society constructs their views around things liked by teens/girls/women/LGBTQIA people. Maria doesn't shy away from tha…

Into YA with Laura Silverman: Part 2

Today, I'm chatting with Laura Silverman again to celebrate the upcoming release of her book, RecommendedFor You as part of the blog tour! If you haven't heard about this swoony, holiday set romance in a bookstore, you can scroll to the bottom of the page to read the book's official description and Laura's bio. Otherwise, you can check out my review here. I'm so happy to support Laura's new book, and if you want to hear about her past books, I'll link to my review below. If you're excited about Recommended For You, you're in luck because it is out in the world today! If you want to order a copy while supporting indie bookstores and the blog, you can purchase the book here with my link*. Thank you to Laura for taking the time to talk with me!

1. Recommended For You is mostly set in an indie bookstore during the holiday rush. What made you decide on that setting? I spent a year working at a bookstore and fielded many of the same strange requests Shosh…

August Wrap Up 2020- Reflecting and Getting Excited For What's To Come

I didn't think I would ever say this, but August does not seem like it's been nearly long enough! I feel like the end of summer came in the blink of an eye, and now I'm writing this on my second day as a college student. Considering I started this blog as the 8th grader, I've come a really long way. This school year is extra weird. I wasn't prepared to start school online like I had been in years past. I was anticipating moving to New York. I had an entire New York City themed visuals flip for the blog to honor the new era of my life. Alas, I'm still in the mountains and those plans are on hold. At least August is the last of the losing. I didn't have many plans beyond this month, so all the new days should get less painful. They just are instead of being a "should have been". If you're starting a major milestone this year (especially if you're starting college like I am), my heart goes out to you. We're in this together, and I think …

The Summer of Everything YA Book Review

The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters Want a Copy Right Now? Use my Bookshop link to support the blog! Here.Overview: Wes doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He has an acceptance letter to UCLA, but he's not sure what he wants to do with that. He loves working at Once Upon a Page, the indie bookstore he's worked at for a number of years. It's the perfect chill job where he's surrounded by comic books and all his friends. When it seems like Once Upon is going to close and his best friend/crush Nico is getting ready to move all the way to Stanford, Wes feels like his entire life is falling apart. He doesn't know what the next step is, but he's going to fight to keep the bookstore (and a bit of his childhood) alive for as long as possible. Overall: 4Characters: 4 Wes isn't totally lost. He loves what he's doing right now, but he's realizing that can't be forever. He's scared of making the wrong move for his future, so he fi…

War and Speech YA Book Review

War and Speech by Don Zolidis 
Overview: Sydney's life is a bit like a tornado. After her dad heading to prison wrecked her first semester of Junior year, she transfers schools with her walls up high and her tongue extra sharp. Sydney is deeply sarcastic, speaks her mind maybe too often, and is happy to join conspiracies to take down the school. She finds them in a group of outcasts tormented by the speech and debate team. She ends up joining down with an eye towards taking them all down and getting the coach fired. While she goes in with one mission, she finds a lot more than she bargained for on the team. Overall: 4.5 

Characters: 5 I love, love, love Sydney. She's so cynical and sarcastic and completely hilarious. She says a lot of the things that I think, so it was a joy to see the world through her eyes. It's nice to see a YA character in high school who plays into it as a complete outsider in the sense that she doesn't even want to play the game or be a part of tho…

Harry Styles Book Tag (Inspired by Bookish Bits)

As you can probably tell, I've started doing a lot of tags since I've started school. Honestly, I haven't been in the most creative space lately, and school has been making me really tired, so tags have been calling my name. Since I found ones for Taylor Swift and Halsey, I thought I'd go looking for a tag for another of my favorite artist, Harry Styles. I was excited to discover that one does already exist, created by Lainy at Bookish Bits. You can read her version of the tag here. If you also like Harry Styles and books, consider yourself tagged. Also, if you're curious about any of the books mentioned below, just click the title to get to my review. 1. Kiwi: Abookwithatitlethathasnothingtodowiththebook.I feel like every title has some connection to the book. Some are just more obvious than others. I'll go with The Way You Make Me Feel here since it's one of the most abstract titles 2. Signofthetimes: Asad/emotionalbookwithahappy/hopefulending.Clap When Y…