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MG with "tough" issues

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Can you all help me brainstorm some contemporary MG books that deal with some "tough" issues, i.e alcoholism, abuse, etc.

I'm thinking along the lines of "TRUE...sort of" by Katherine Hannigan.

All titles are appreciated.

Jody
#1 - April 14, 2012, 03:46 PM
MOSTLY THE HONEST TRUTH (HarperCollins 3/12/2019)
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Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt deals with an abusive father.
#2 - April 14, 2012, 05:02 PM

I was going to name that one, but it's historical.  Did you mean contemporary is in "set now" or as in "published recently"?

Been trying to think of a contemporary (set now) MG with one of those tough issues.  Most of the stuff of that sort that I admire ends up falling into that historical category where you might not even think of it as taking place in the past.
#3 - April 14, 2012, 05:20 PM

Yes, I inserted "recent" when you asked for contemporary... sorry. How about The Year the Swallows Came Early by Kathryn Fitzmorris? The father's in jail and the MC deals with a lot of tough issues.

And a different type of tough issue, but how about Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper?
#4 - April 14, 2012, 07:01 PM

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LOVE, AUBREY fits this description.  (father, sister killed, mother abandons daughter).  Also DRUMS, GIRLS, and DANGEROUS PIE by Jordan Sonnenblick (brother with cancer). 

Jenny Hahn's SHUG has an alcoholic mother. 

The MIXED UP FILES of MG Writers' blog might have a list of books like this....Elissa and the blog team have compiled great lists of various MG books.
#5 - April 14, 2012, 07:11 PM
You're never too old to become younger. - Mae West

Here's a book list from the Mixed-Up Files on MG fiction and mental illness:

http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/2011/04/shining-a-light-on-mental-illness/
#6 - April 14, 2012, 07:13 PM
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Mitali Perkins's BAMBOO PEOPLE is about child soldiers in contemporary Burma. OPERATION YES by Sara Lewis Holmes has families contending with the consequences of war. WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER is a wonderful (if heartbreaking) book about children with terminal illnesses.
#7 - April 14, 2012, 08:10 PM

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NOWHERE GIRL by A.J. Paquette is fantastic, about an American girl born and raised in a Thai prison and set free when her mother dies. SPARROW ROAD by Sheila O'Connor might also fit the bill, about a girl who learns about her estranged father while she spends the summer at an artist's retreat where her mother works. There are also themes of elderly/dementia touched on. And BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu deals with mental illness and many other tough issues in a very compelling way.

And this seems like one you would have already considered since it's a Newbery but I'll throw it out there anyway--THE POWER OF LUCKY.
#8 - April 14, 2012, 08:21 PM
BOOK SCAVENGER, Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt 
THE UNBREAKABLE CODE, April 2017
UNLOCK THE ROCK, 2018
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The Whole Story of Half a Girl deals with depression, unemployment and prejudice. Here's a review on it. http://www.magickware.com/mg-book-review-the-whole-story-of-half-a-girl-by-veera-hiranandani/
#9 - April 14, 2012, 08:28 PM
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Maniac Magee--Classic.
#10 - April 14, 2012, 09:19 PM

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HUGGING THE ROCK by Susan Taylor Brown deals with a bipolar mother.
#11 - April 15, 2012, 07:52 AM
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Great suggestions so far!

Thanks everyone.

Let me know if you think of more. I'll be checking out the Mixed-up files blog next.
#12 - April 15, 2012, 11:37 AM
MOSTLY THE HONEST TRUTH (HarperCollins 3/12/2019)
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Escaping the Tiger by Blueboarder Laura Manivong. Life in a Thai refugee camp is almost as bad as what the family was escapting in the first place.
#13 - April 15, 2012, 11:39 AM

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I was going to name that one, but it's historical.  Did you mean contemporary is in "set now" or as in "published recently"?

Been trying to think of a contemporary (set now) MG with one of those tough issues.  Most of the stuff of that sort that I admire ends up falling into that historical category where you might not even think of it as taking place in the past.

I was thinking "set now" when I said contemporary, but honestly, I'm just trying to get a sense of how overtly some of these issues have been handled for the MG reader, so if they are set in the past (as in OKAY FOR NOW) that's fine.
#14 - April 15, 2012, 11:45 AM
MOSTLY THE HONEST TRUTH (HarperCollins 3/12/2019)
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THE TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON by Blueboarder Danette Vigilante is about child neglect and hunger (of a supporting character) and what life is like in a NYC housing project. Opens with a gunshot being fired into a door. It's a lovely and powerful book.
#15 - April 15, 2012, 11:47 AM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
Caroline Grade Mysteries
The Journey of Emilie
Anne Bradstreet: America's Puritan Poet
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Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine is a beautifully written book written from the first-person POV of a girl with Asperger's who has lost her brother in a school shooting.
#16 - April 15, 2012, 01:25 PM

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Waiting For Normal by Leslie Connor
#17 - April 15, 2012, 01:58 PM
BLACKOUT -- available now
DESERTED -- available now
SISTERS DON'T TELL -- available now
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Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine is a beautifully written book written from the first-person POV of a girl with Asperger's who has lost her brother in a school shooting.

Definitely on my top 10 favorite books of all time, children or adult. I love this book!
#18 - April 15, 2012, 05:37 PM
MOSTLY THE HONEST TRUTH (HarperCollins 3/12/2019)
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How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O'Connor (homelessness).

All The Things You Are by Courtney Sheinmel (mother sent to prison for embezzlement).
#19 - April 15, 2012, 09:52 PM

It won't be out until May 15, but my Sway is about a girl and her father dealing with a mom who has left for another family. (And they deal with it in very unconventional ways.)
#20 - April 16, 2012, 06:52 AM
SWAY, 2012 from Disney-Hyperion
CIRCA NOW, 2014 from Disney-Hyperion
http://www.ambermcreeturner.com
https://www.facebook.com/SwayByAmberMcReeTurner

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I love Ann Dee Ellis's books - I think she is amazing -
  THIS IS WHAT I DID (bullying, abuse, guilt)
   EVERYTHING IS FINE (sibling death, parental depression, abandonment...)

my most favorite serious subject MG book is WHAT JAMIE SAW

I also love some books that were already mentioned TROUBLE WITH HALF A MOON and WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER

TALL STORY by Candy Gourlay is on the surface about a girl who wants to join the basketball team and who is embarrassed by her older half brother with who has a medical condition -but it is also about immigration, identity and family.

OLIVE'S OCEAN by Kevin Henkes (death)

LOVE RUBY LAVENDER  by Deborah Wiles (other books by her too)

Maybe a reference could be www.SeriousSubjects.com - it is out of date (sorry) but has books from YA to pb, fiction and nonfiction arranged by subjects

Also, my debut THE END OF THE LINE is about a boy coping with his role in the death of his friend and his uncle is serving in Iraq.


#21 - April 16, 2012, 11:08 AM
The Safest Lie in stores now
The End of the Line - VOYA Top Shelf & YALSA Quick Pick
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It won't be out until May 15, but my Sway is about a girl and her father dealing with a mom who has left for another family. (And they deal with it in very unconventional ways.)

Amber, I cannot tell you how excited I am to read your book. I've been intrigued since you first posted the cover, and your blurb on your website made me even more excited. Don't worry, I'm not stalking you!

Thanks for all the suggestions, Blue Boarders. Feel free to keep them coming!

You are all so wonderful!

Jody
#22 - April 16, 2012, 11:34 AM
MOSTLY THE HONEST TRUTH (HarperCollins 3/12/2019)
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Waiting for Normal...struck quite a note in my heart having worked with abused/neglected children. The main character is such a survivor. 
#23 - April 16, 2012, 02:43 PM

Aw, thanks Jody! Made my day!

#24 - April 17, 2012, 08:44 AM
SWAY, 2012 from Disney-Hyperion
CIRCA NOW, 2014 from Disney-Hyperion
http://www.ambermcreeturner.com
https://www.facebook.com/SwayByAmberMcReeTurner

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Some of the books in the Sammy Keyes series by Wendelin Van Draanen deal with "tough" issues while still remaining safely in the upper-MG camp: a homeless girl, teen pregnancy, gangs, teen drug use, major bullying, mothers running off to Hollywood and leaving you to live illegally with your grandmother....also, RUNAWAY by the same author is about the homeless kid who makes an appearance in the SAMMY series.
#25 - April 17, 2012, 01:05 PM
« Last Edit: April 17, 2012, 01:27 PM by Laurenwrites »

CaroleB

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What Jamie Saw by Carolyn Coman. I haven't read it, but it fits your request.
#26 - April 17, 2012, 01:32 PM

So B. It  by Sarah Weeks
#27 - April 17, 2012, 02:28 PM
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Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan. . .

Maybe this has been mentioned, but Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.

Pip, the Story of Olive. . .by Kim Kane (love this book!)

The Slightly True Story of Cedar B. Hartley by Martine Murray.
#28 - April 17, 2012, 05:09 PM
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Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper--from the point of view of an extremely bright girl who has cerebral palsy and is nonverbal and can only use her thumbs--her struggles to communicate and fit in
#29 - April 17, 2012, 05:20 PM

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A Door Near Here by Heather Quarles is about kids trying to survive while their mother is incapacitated by alcoholism.
#30 - April 18, 2012, 10:36 AM
FIVE SHORT SECONDS
SAYA AT SPEED
RULES OF THE GAME
TEST CASES
TWISTER RESISTERS
CRASH COURSE
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