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Estelle’s Top 10 Tuesday: The Hard Stuff (In Books)

Greetings, friends! Truth? I’ve loved so many of the past Top 10 Tuesday memes but I have been unable to come up with 10 items to list for most of them. TODAY I WILL DO IT.

I definitely don’t shy away from tough subjects in books. They are intense, emotionally-stirring, and, when done well, help you to understand the plights of different types of people.

I hope you’ll discover a few new titles in my list today!

Thanks again to Broke and Bookish for supplying this awesome meme! Don’t forget to check in over there too!

1. Acceptance

Books about Tough Stuff like Acceptance

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children and The Miseducation of Cameron Post are two beautifully written books that not only deal with gaining acceptance from others, but also finding it for themselves. Beautiful Music was one of my top reads last year; Gabe is a vivacious character who just came out as transgender to his parents. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is about a girl who thinks she caused her parents death because she kissed a girl; her aunt soon sends her to a school to get reformed.

2. Divorce

Books about Tough Stuff like Divorce

This isn’t something I’ve gone through myself, but I’ve seen it happen to my friends and I’m always interested in how an author will interpret it. I thought Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight did a nice job of showing how a girl comes to terms with her dad living a brand new life. The newly released Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland depicted a character who avoided the repercussions of divorce in her family until her world blew up all around her. Both very honest accounts.

3. Bullying

Books about Tough Stuff like Bullying

Nothing fires me up more than a mean person. I know these stories are important to tell because this is happening all over the world to so many people but damn, does it rile me up. Case in point: Camp by Elaine Wolf a great setting filled with some of the most heinous characters I’ve ever come in contact with. (I couldn’t put that one down.) While Eleanor and Park is definite a sweet first romance kind of book, Eleanor goes through a lot at her school and doesn’t know who or where to turn.

4. Helplessness associated with a sick parent

Books about Tough Stuff like Helplessnes with it comes to sick parents

The fears associated with this subject really rock me to the core. Two recent examples in my reading are The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler and Sean Griswold’s Head by Lindsay Leavitt; they are completely different books filled with very different circumstances but still the worry, the frustration are very much the same.

5. Murder and consequences

Books about Tough Stuff like Murder and Consequences

I can’t stop singing the praises of Terra Elan McVoy’s Criminal but here I am again. It’s a story filled with so much “gray” as a character is made a true “partner-in-crime” and must make some tough choices regarding her only friend, the love of her life, and her own future. I haven’t reviewed it here but Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood is one of my favorite books of old time. He wrote a book about a murder of a Kansas Family, interviews the killers and the rest of the town, and does his own full investigation. It’s so very interesting and addicting.

6. The power of technology

Books about Tough Stuff like Power of Technology

This really irks me because hello, we are communicating on the internet right now! I use Twitter and Instagram and checking both of these things (and more) takes up so much of my daily life. I love when use of technology is even more exaggerated in books because it makes me reflect on how much I put out there, and how I just need to unplug sometimes. Do check out: Bumped series by Megan McCafferty and The Julian Game by Adele Griffin.

7. Falling for the “wrong” person

Books about Tough Stuff like Falling for the wrong person

There are many ways you can look at this category. Sometimes it’s a terrible thing, and sometimes it’s the best terrible thing to ever happen to someone. Here are two (non-cheating examples): J.H. Trumble’s Where You Are and Natalie Standiford’s How to Say Goodbye in Robot.

8. Not having control in this great big world

Books about Tough Stuff like Events we cannot control

Sometimes there are just bigger things that we cannot stop from handling. A terrorist attack, or a war. Two extremely well-done books, that will forever be highly recommended by me are Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan (9/11) and Endangered by Eliot Schrefer (violence in Africa).

9. Truth

Books about Tough Stuff like Truth

Today I’m thinking in terms of our parents, and realizing that our parents have their own histories and their own feelings and lives. Sometimes uncovering these mysteries is great for us, and other times… not so much. You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis is written so beautifully, about a girl who listens to voicemails left on her deceased mother’s phone and uncovers the truth surrounding her final days. Then there is Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando, an Estelle favorite, who learns about her mother’s childhood when she moves into a house on Coney Island.

10. Following your heart

Books about Tough stuff like following your heart

Big decisions, our decisions may not always have the popular vote but sometimes, we just have to take that leap. It might be a job, a relationship, a friendship; you might have to make some tough decisions or happy ones. Lauren Graham’s Someday, Someday, Maybe made me think of careers and following through on your passions, while Gayle Forman’s Just One Day was about examining friendships, relationships with parents, and even ourselves.

Thanks for stopping in today’s TTT! Can’t wait to hear everyone else’s picks!

May 20, 2013 - 9:02 pm

Hannah @ So Obsessed With - Oh, I love that you included “following your heart” as a tough subject! It’s not one that I’d immediately think of, but it’s really fitting. It also helps that I LOVED both books included with that number 🙂

May 16, 2013 - 1:25 pm

Lauren - What a wonderful list – I haven’t read any of these before, but now I’ve got some more books to add to my never-ending to-read list!

May 15, 2013 - 4:49 pm

Molli - I really want to read both Beautiful Music for Ugly Children, and The Miseducation of Cameron Post. I considered buying the latter, and just haven’t. I love your take on this list, Estelle, because you’ve given so many wide examples.

Have a nice day, ladies!

May 14, 2013 - 11:22 pm

Sash - As you know, I loved Dreamland Social Club. Jane really came into herself through learning about her mother and that’s something tough to do and yet, totally relateable.

May 14, 2013 - 8:35 pm

Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages - Yay, I’m glad you did a TTT post this week! Lots of books I’ve enjoyed on your list. After reading Going Vintage I decided I need to read more by Lindsay Leavitt, now I just need to get on that. Great list!

My TTT list

May 14, 2013 - 7:23 pm

Tara - I’m a big fan of your categories 🙂 I’ve only read a handful of the books you featured but I’m really intrigued by the books under Acceptance and Truth.

May 14, 2013 - 2:14 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - Great list, Estelle. I had a really touch time thinking of ten (and in fact only thought of nine). Although I totally should have included Eleanor & Park! I am kicking myself for that one slipping my mind.

I’m very curious about Someday, Someday, Maybe

May 14, 2013 - 1:45 pm

Lucy - I have to say you have just awesome taste in books. Several of these I’ve read and loved like E&P, Where You Are, Sean Griswold, and Just One Day. So I know I need to check out the other books on your list. Criminal sounds fantastic.

May 14, 2013 - 12:55 pm

Alexa Y. - I love what you did with this post E! The issues/tough stuff you chose to point out are great, and the book suggestions are spot on. Great list!

May 14, 2013 - 12:02 pm

Cecelia - I *loved* SEAN GRISWOLD’S HEAD, and I’m so glad that I’ve seen it on multiple lists today. I haven’t checked out any of your other picks, but I can see that I need to. Thanks for sharing!

If you’d like, you can check out my list here.

May 14, 2013 - 9:38 am

Eve @ Every Flavour Books - Wow, these are great topics you thought of. I’ve only read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight but I’m definitely adding the rest to my TBR if they’re not already there. Tough subjects are hard to read about but I love books that deal with them because they really make us think. Awesome list!

May 14, 2013 - 9:12 am

Kate @ Ex Libris - Oh, MAN. What an awesome list. I see some of my all-time favorites on here and some that I didn’t know about, so thank you for that. I’m so glad that you mentioned Nantucket Blue because I really loved that book. It was very well done.

May 14, 2013 - 8:47 am

Ginger @ GReads! - This is done really well, Estelle. I like how you grouped them. I definitely agree with you about TBoBH since I just recently read it. I considered adding it to my list today, but had already picked my 10 lol.

May 14, 2013 - 8:41 am

Laura @ the Booksmartie - The last two sound so good! I already own Just One Day and thought I’d read it in July, but now I’m thinking I might have to squeeze it in next week – it sounds way to good to wait any longer 🙂

May 14, 2013 - 5:43 am

Lori - I love, love, love your list! There’s still a few on here that I need to read. Cam Post is one of my favorites!

May 14, 2013 - 4:31 am

Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews - Sooo many of these titles are on my TBR right now. I love that you included the dangers of technology. Not a lot of people would consider that a tough subject, but I definitely think it’s relevant in today’s world. Also, I LOVED Bumped & Thumped. Awesome picks!

Pretty Deadly Reviews

May 14, 2013 - 1:13 am

Rebecca - I didn’t even think to include divorce in this topic, but it definitely goes there. I have a hard time reading stuff about bullying, but I really loved Eleanor and Park. Nice post!

May 14, 2013 - 12:38 am

Tabitha S. - Ohhh, I love how you took a different spin on the topic this week! Divorce is definitely a hard one to read about, but it’s something that almost everyone has to deal with in life – so when an author does a good job of portraying it, it’s amazing.

Great list!!

May 14, 2013 - 12:30 am

marissa | Rae Gun Ramblings - I haven’t read any of these but they all sound so good
My Top Ten

May 14, 2013 - 12:12 am

elena - i LOVE how you divided these! ugh i totally agree w you re: bullying. i’ve seen some japanese tv/film on it and it’s awful. it makes me really really sad. i thiiink i have in cold blood somewhere. i need to read it! i really loved the last way you divided in particular because it hits close to home for everyone. i’m so excited to read lauren’s book!

fantastic list, e! xoxo

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