Friday, February 6, 2015

What's With All the Books About Suicide?

I don't know if anyone else has noticed, but there have been a crapload of books dealing with more serious issues recently. It's really become a return of the dark contemporary, and I, for one, am quite liking this shift in YA.

In particular, there seems to be a surge in books dealing with mental health issues, suicide and grief.
It's definitely important that we make these issues more apparent in YA, because so many people suffer from them in real life. It's important we recognise the signs and it's important to get help.

Personally, I think the main reason I like to read books about serious issues is because I actually really like being able to feel something from the book I'm reading. Something that some people don't understand is that I love finding books that make me cry, because that means that I felt deeply enough about the characters and their situations that I was overwhelmed by feels. This doesn't happen often, and I find it's mostly contemporaries that can make me really feel something. Probably because they often depict things that could easily happen to me, or to a friend, or to a family member.

I also quite like how a lot of books dealing with darker issues actually handle the issues very well. A lot of them are twisted through with humour, but it's never to the point where it seems like the issue is being dealt with lightly. Many are beautifully written, and leave you with the sort of quotes that you don't easily forget. They really are just fantastic.

List of some great recent/upcoming darker contemporaries
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Do you like reading "darker" contemporaries? Have you read any books dealing with mental health, or other serious issues, recently? Any that you'd recommend?