Sometimes I read books that I really like and I want to post about, but since they're books that deal with tough issues, I don't always feel like I can universally recommend them. So I thought that today I'd post about my favorites of these books, because I really do love them even though they require quite a bit out of you emotionally.
"Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson
This book is about Melinda, who is raped at a party and calls the cops. However her friends don't know why she called the police, so they exclude her socially. Melinda withdraws into herself, and since she doesn't tell anyone about the rape, her family and those around her don't understand her behavior. But throughout the school year, she begins to come to terms with what happened.
One of the reasons I love this book is because the part where Melinda confronts the guy who attacked her is so well constructed. I don't want to ruin it for you, but it's such a powerful scene, and I really just wanted to stand up and cheer for Melinda when I read it.
"Story of a Girl" by Sara Zarr
When Deanna is 13, her father catches her having sex with her brother's 17-year-old friend Tommy. Her relationship with her dad is ruined, and the boy spreads the story around the school, so that by the time Deanna makes it to high school, she is known as a slut. The story takes place the summer after her sophomore year, when Deanna deals with her issues: her reputation, her dysfunctional family, meeting Tommy again, and falling for her best friend's boyfriend.
I love how Deanna comes into her own in this story, and how she takes control of her life.
"Such a Pretty Girl" by Laura Wiess
In this book, 15-year-old Meredith's father, who sexually abused her throughout her childhood, is released from prison early. Her mother refuses to acknowledge what happened in the past and provides no protection for Meredith, trying to push her into "being a family" again and leaving her alone with her father even though it's against the law. Meredith's father hasn't changed, and Meredith has to deal with his increasingly inappropriate behavior.
I love Meredith. She is so strong and so brave. She refuses to let her father's abuse cripple her or stop her from being in control of her life. She knows the odds are against her in terms of having a successful life, but she doesn't let that stop her. Plus, the ending of the book is so wonderful.
"This Gorgeous Game" by Donna Freitas
This book is about Olivia, who wins a writing contest, and as a prize gets personal tutoring from a famous author/priest. At first Olivia is flattered, but as the man's intentions get more and more intense, Olivia gets more and more scared. She doesn't tell anyone that the author is stalking her, because he hasn't done anything physically to her and everyone admires him, but Olivia eventually reaches her breaking point.
I love the author's writing style and Olivia's narrative voice. I really, really love it. I also love how her friends and family rally around her once they find out. It's so awesome to see that after feeling increasingly isolated, Olivia is surrounded by people who care about her.
Do you have any books that you love but feel like you can't necessarily recommend them to everyone?