Over the last few months, like you, I’ve heard the news reports about teen suicide as a result of bullying and other causes. At the same time, I’ve watched a number of the heart-felt, “It Gets Better” messages of hope by celebrities and YA authors and have read several books featuring teens suffering from depression, considering suicide, and/or dealing with the loss of someone they really cared about to suicide. With all of these elements coming together in my life, I knew that I had to break the silence about this taboo subject matter, so I took the It Gets Better Pledge and today and for the next week or so, I’m going to bring you a series of reviews, commentaries, guest posts, and giveaways of related YA books for Suicide Awareness Week on YABookShelf.com.
Some teens face bullying for any number of reasons from the way they dress, their sexuality, or their reputations, as Hannah Baker from Jay Asher‘s page turner, Thirteen Reasons Why, did. Other teens have experienced a nearly life long battle with depression, like Ingrid from Nina LaCour‘s brilliant novel, Hold Still. Still others find that their lives have become overwhelmingly dark and stressful, like Steven from Last December by Matt Beam and Melissa from Something Wicked by Lesley Anne Cowan. Whether these characters find a way through their depression over the course of the novel or take their own life before the story even begins, these novels – and others I’m sure – all have one major thing in common, they speak to what it is like for depressed and suicidal teens as well as for the families and friends who are affected by the suicide of someone else.
So why have a Suicide Awareness Week here on YABookShelf.com? There are several reasons. I hope that by spreading the word about books like these ones, someone will read them and find the courage to get the help they need. Perhaps someone will use the knowledge they learn from them to help their friends or family members before it’s too late. Finally, I know that there are people out there, who have had the unfortunate experience of losing their friend, their sister, their brother, their mother, their father, their favorite aunt, or anyone else to whom they were close to suicide. And for those in this latter situation, I hope that books I mention or the theme-related articles that I post will help them get through the terrible loss that they’ve suffered.
While I already have a number of guest posts and other articles planned for the coming week, if you would like to write something in conjunction to this theme, then I’m certainly open to all ideas. Leave me a comment on my site, send me an email from my About YA Book Shelf page, or a message on Twitter between now and Friday, December 3, 2010, and I’ll see what I can do to fit you in as well. Also, feel free to use the Hashtag: #suicideawareness. Thanks in advance for everyone who participates – you’re help is invaluable!