Book collage of sensitive-topic books

Recommended Reads, Trends

24 books that help you handle tough topics


Oct 03, 2022

I’m an avid self-help reader. But out in the real world, I don’t need you to know that. I felt this more than ever when I lived in Chicago and rode the L train to work. My 40-minute commute was a chance to pass time, catch up on reading and remain as anonymous as possible to my fellow commuters. Usually, I shout my finished reads from the rooftops, but there are other times I’d prefer to read my books free from any judgment.

While some readers may just be shy about their reading choices, others are grappling with more serious issues, and books can be a guiding light in the storm. Teens, in particular, are learning how to tackle tough topics without embarrassment or judgment. Buying a book or borrowing the physical copy from the library may mean quickly shoving it deep inside a backpack, and then secretly reading when no one is around. The digital nature of ebooks or audiobooks offers the privacy to check out titles without fear, and reading can take place anywhere without the back cover staring the world in the face.

There’s a lot happening in society today, and it’s important to be able to discreetly check out books that are relevant to the issues you're experiencing from the comfort of your own home. This can help readers of all ages see they aren’t alone in their struggles. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you’re just hoping to keep your light reading to yourself, or exploring heavier topics, ebooks offer the outlet to read freely, without judgment.

Here’s a list of titles that may be helpful in learning more about sensitive topics:

Domestic violence & abuse

Domestic violence and abuse

YA Fiction: The Girl Who Fell by S.M. Parker

YA Nonfiction: Girl Up by Laura Bates

Adult Fiction: Goodbye, Sweet Girl by Kelly Sundberg

Adult Nonfiction: No Visible Bruises by Rachel Louise Snyder

LGBTQIA+ issues

LGBTQIA+ issues

YA Fiction: The Loophole by Naz Kutub

YA Nonfiction: Queer by Kathy Belge

Adult Fiction: All the Things We Don’t Talk About by Amy Feltman

Adult Nonfiction: Gender Euphoria by Laura Kate Dale

Mental health

Mental health

YA Fiction: Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

YA Nonfiction: (Don’t) Call Me Crazy by Kelly Jensen

Adult Fiction: Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Adult Nonfiction: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Body image & self esteem

Body image and self esteem

YA Fiction: Hole in the Middle by Kendra Fortmeyer

YA Nonfiction: The Time in Between by Nancy Tucker

Adult Fiction: Dietland by Sarai Walker

Adult Nonfiction: Hunger by Roxane Gay



YA Fiction: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

YA Nonfiction: Dear Bully by Megan Kelley Hall

Adult Fiction: Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood

Adult Nonfiction: Why Good Kids Act Cruel by Carl Pickhardt

Addiction & substance abuse

Addiction and substance abuse

YA Fiction: Twelve Steps to Normal by Farrah Penn

YA Nonfiction: Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Adult Fiction: Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney

Adult Nonfiction: Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

Download the Libby app today to borrow these books and more for free from your library.


About the Author

Annie Suhy has been working in the book industry since 2006. When she’s not working, practicing yoga or petting cats, she’s doing paint-by-numbers or buying more plants. An avid poetry fan, her favorite collection is "The Splinter Factory" by Jeffrey McDaniel.


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