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TGIF: Let’s Talk About ISSUES.

June 1, 2012


This means I work a half-day at work.

I love summer Fridays.

And on this Friday, Ginger at GReads! has asked:

Issue Books: Which books have you found to be very rewarding when it comes to tackling tougher issues? 

I’ll be honest, I shy away from books that are marketed as “issue books.”

It’s not that I am an avoider or that I don’t want to live in my own little world where bad things don’t happen, but at the same time, I typically don’t want to choose to read a book that I know will make me a sad red panda.

Not that I don’t read sad books or books that deal with trauma/tragedy/other bad things. But I tend to appreciate these books more when they “issue” is seamlessly inserted into larger themes or plotlines within the book so that there are other things happening.

Take Saving June by Hannah Harrington, for example. Technically the book is about a teenager whose sister randomly commits suicide, but it’s also a road trip book with a lot of humor and a great soundtrack. So while the over-arching theme is dealing with suicide, there are a lot of other things going on, which I really appreciated.

I think another good example of this is Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. This book actually has a lot of issues involved in it—coming to terms with homosexuality, the reality of socio-economics, and bullying. And again, while these things could combine to be really heavy and preachy, the book is funny and smart and clever and uplifting. It doesn’t hurt that the authors are AMAZEBALLS.

I’m sure there are tons of other books that go in this category. LIke John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which I’ve owned since January but haven’t brought myself to read yet. One day, people. One day.

If you have any recommendations on issues books that aren’t too issue-y in presentation, I’d love to know them! Leave ’em in comments and enjoy your Friday!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 1, 2012 2:18 PM

    i loved Will Grayson, and i didn’t think of it as an “issue” book, but you’re completely right. that’s what makes these two authors completely awesome, they tackle issues but make it entertaining, not preachy or angsty. great list! you should totally get on TFiOS, it’s great, as I’m sure you’ve heard. 🙂 ~dixie

  2. June 1, 2012 1:56 PM

    Resounding YES to Saving June! That book was fantastic! I can’t believe I forgot to mention it on my list! *face palm*
    I haven’t read Will Grayson yet, but it sounds really good!
    And you should definitely read The Fault In Our Stars soon! That book was…. amazing beyond words!

    here’s my TGIF

  3. June 1, 2012 12:06 PM

    I just finished reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and I thought it did a fantastic job of showing a family trying to move on after the death of their child. For a book that’s much less well known, The Willow Tree by Hubert Selby Jr. is a great book about a child’s coming of age and the realization that violence isn’t always the answer.

  4. June 1, 2012 11:46 AM

    I don’t do a lot of heavy books either, and preachiness turns me off.

  5. June 1, 2012 10:17 AM

    I think Saving June is a GREAT example of an issue book, but not throwing it in your face all over the pages type of issue book. I adore that book so, so much.

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