Friday, January 30, 2015

YA Books About Suicide

I've noticed that there's quite the trend with books involving suicide. Especially being published at the beginning of this year.  I've read three of the four books pictured and the fourth is one that I'm really hoping to read soon.  I think that they all say something different about suicide and actually, I really like that this topic is one so prevalent in young adult fiction lately.  I think that a lot of teenagers struggle and that a lot of teens could benefit from reading and exploring the subject of suicide in a safe manner.  Different angles and takes on the subject are always good, I feel, and I'm glad that these books exist.

I Was Here is the latest offering from Gayle Forman, one of my favourite authors.  I didn't know anything about it before I picked it up to read because I requested it from NetGalley based on the author's name alone.  But it's the story of a girl whose best friend has committed suicide and she tries to uncover what happened in her friend's last few months as their friendship sort of drifted apart.  While it didn't reach the same emotional height, for me, as If I Stay or Where She Went, I still thought it was really interesting and emotional.  It kind of showed how messy and complicated things like family and friendships and relationships can be.  Plus, it also touches a bit on suicide support websites which is something that the other books on this list also do. Published 29 January from Simon and Schuster

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is an incredibly beautiful book, one that absolutely broke my heart.  I was pulled instantly into this story and felt incredibly emotionally invested in the two main characters. This story is told from a dual perspective from both Violet and Finch. And as the story begins both characters are on the top of the school's bell tower considering jumping.  One talks the other from jumping and the rest of the story is of their friendship.  Published 8 January from Penguin.

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell is my favourite book from this list. It's set in Japan and tells the story of Sora, a teenager who has a motor neurodegenerative disease that means his quality of life is being slowly compromised by his condition. What I loved about this book so much is how it discusses how suicide rates in Japan is much higher than the rest of the world and some of the reasons for that. This book is very much a book about friendship and family and about finding hope and strength in difficult times. It's a beautifully written debut book and I very highly recommend it. Published 29 January from Random House.

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Varga is the most recent book I've read being published early this year concerning suicide. This book was sent to me unsolicited so I didn't know that's what it was about when I sat down to read it. I was mostly just attracted to the unusual title and interesting cover. But this story is one of a suicide pact between two teenagers who meet via another suicide support website. They set a date in a month's time but then spend that month getting to know each other and finding out each other's stories and what led them both to wanting to commit suicide. It was quite a sweet book and while I wanted the ending to be slightly longer, I did really enjoy the story, the characters and the message portrayed in this book. Published 10 February by Hodder.

Other books involving suicide that you might want to look out for: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, Undone by Cat Clarke, Kite Spirit by Sita Brahmachari, Saving June by Hannah Harrington and Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers.

What do you think about books involving suicide?


  1. As we're talking YA rather than teens, I'd also suggest Long Way Down by Nick Hornby - from your synopsis above I think it has similarities with All The Bright Places - and Matt Haig's The Humans.

    1. I've been interested in both of those for awhile, thanks for the recommendations :)

  2. Good post. I loved All the bright places. That was so wonderfully done. I was crying when I finished it at 2am. Ha. I agree with you about I was here. I just finished that one this week. Yes, it handled the optic of suicide in a very real way. But I thought it lacked the emotional depth of If I Stay.

    1. I think it'd be impossible to read All the Bright Places without crying! x


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