Probably most Young Adult readers have heard of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. The movie that played in theaters last fall propelled the book to the top of many "to be read" lists. The book deals with the emotions and strength that can be found through relationships as a person deals with cancer. The book not only deals with death and dying, but it deals with what you leave behind.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher will have every reader reevaluating their relationships. How do our actions and our words affect the people around us? Are we the catalyst in someone's life that causes them to lose every reason for living? Are we the one person that could have reached out to pull a person out of their despair? Thirteen Reasons Why is the story of the message left behind by a young girl who commits suicide. She sent her message in the form of audio tapes to thirteen people who had the chance to help her and didn't.
Suicide is a topic that too often brings young people together. How many young people look at their lives and wonder why they're here? All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is a book about triumph and loss. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the tower, they are both thinking about jumping. But, the need to keep the other one alive gets them off the ledge. Other than their encounter on the ledge, Finch and Violet have very little in common, but they are drawn to each other and a relationship blossoms. All the Bight Places is more than just a book about suicide though, because Finch has much deeper issues and Violet wants to help him.
We don't often think about suicide as a public thing. Most often the person has cut themselves off from others, but Butter by Erin Jade Lange tells a different story. Butter, a nick-name that came out of a bullying incident has never had many friends. He has been teased about his size for as long as he can remember. When he comes to a point where he sees no reason to continue, he creates a website where he plans to publicly eat himself to death. But, his plans draw attention, and all of a sudden, he starts to have friends. What is he going to do now?
There are issues other than just suicide that we see dealt with by Young Adult authors. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness deals with other mental health problems. The premise for this book is that there are those who are chosen to battle the vampires and gods and save the world, and then there are the rest of us. I thought when I started to read this book, that there would be a high dose of humor, but I found real kids dealing with real issues. The ways that the characters dealt with real life may have come across as extreme, but it also provided hope as they found real life answers to their problems. In the end, both the world of the vampires and gods and the world of real life found satisfactory solutions.