I love a funny, uplifting book as much as the next person, but life isn’t always funny and uplifting. Sometimes it is hard and heartbreaking. Sometimes it is agony and unfair, but it is overcoming that makes life so sweet. Here are 9 of my favorites books that deal with hard subject matter. Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish.
The Picture of Dorian Gray– Would you sell your soul for youth? This classic by Oscar Wilde touches on the innocence and the evils of the soul. I love this commentary on human decision.
Dark Triumph– Some people have stories so tragic, you wonder how they can keep moving. The heroine of Dark Triumph, Sybella, is that way. She has suffered tremendously and still finds love and friendship and the strength to face her demons. This sequel to Grave Mercy is one of my favorite books and even with its dark subject matter it is beautiful.
The Fault In Our Stars– The life and love of Hazel and Augustus, both teenage cancer survivors. I cried through the last half of this book, but I often laughed through the tears. It was healing and beautiful.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer– Mara Dyer has just been in a terrible accident. She may have walked away, but her best friend did not. Now Mara faces PTSD and other psychological traumas. This series is one of my absolute favorites. It is so different from anything I have ever read.
I am Regina – Regina’s life changes forever when her family’s cabin is burned to the ground and she is taken captive by Native Americans. This story based in the 1700s, is about Regina adjusting to her new life, in a new culture, mourning her family and wondering if any of them are still alive. This historical fiction book is perfect for the middle grades and older.
The Upstairs Room– Annie is 10 years old when she and her sister must go into hiding from the Nazis. The Upstairs Room tells the story of growing up when your aren’t allowed to leave a small room or even take a chance for a little fresh air. It is a juvenile fiction book that I read when I was younger and still love now.
The Glass Castle– This is a story of family dysfunction and children having to fend for themselves. It is a story of a sometimes drunk father and flighty mother, but it is also a story of family love, determination and overcoming obstacles.
The Secret Life of Bees– After accidentally killing her mother as a child, Lily deals with an emotionally abusive father until she decides to run away. She makes her way to the May Sisters, good friends of her mother who keep a large hive of bees. This coming of age book, is difficult in some moments and hopeful and enlightening in others.
Okay for Now– An emotionally abusive father, a brother who’s a bully, a new school and another brother seriously injured in the Vietnam War. This middle grade book by Gary Schmidt, is sad and frustrating but uplifting and hopeful. The main character goes through more in one year than some do in their whole life, but he grows and learns and strives to be better. This is a pretty fast read and worth the time.