Halloween is coming around and we’re all telling scary stories at the moment, shivering from tales of zombies and vampires and ghosts. But what happens when the real monster lives alongside you every day? What happens when the person you’re most afraid of is the one you’re supposed to love?
These 3 books talk about toxic relationships, a thing many young people are aware of, but are rarely given much information about. Yes, we know unhealthy relationships are bad, but how do we know if we’re in one? These YA novels talk about the dark side of relationships and are a must read for teenagers.
1. The Places I’ve Cried in Public
This book follows Amelie, a teenage girl who has just moved to an entirely new area and has therefore broken up with her long-term boyfriend. Soon after she arrives at her new school, she is swept off her feet by notorious “womaniser” Reese. Despite the warnings from newly made friends, Amelie dives headfirst into the new relationship and we follow her as it slowly breaks down.
“The Places I’ve Cried in Public” was a painful book to read, but it was also wonderful. Full of valuable lessons about honesty, friendship, consent and relationships, this book is essential for young women to read to recognise the signs of an abusive relationship, so that other teens won’t have to go through what Amelie did.
2. Rose, Interrupted
Much like “The Places I’ve Cried in Public”, “Rose, Interrupted” follows the story of a young, vulnerable girl, moving to an entirely different place. However, in this case, it wasn’t just moving to a new area. The protagonist, Rose, is moving out of a cult-like environment she has lived in her entire life with her mum and her brother and starting at a new school, she quickly falls prey to a boy who is unreliable and manipulative. Although the main focus of the novel is not the relationship itself, it does portray problems that many girls (and boys) face in modern day relationships, including the pressure of sending nudes to your significant other and the consequences that can have. A very unique portrayal of a young girl trying to hold her own against the world, this one will definitely make you think about it long after you’ve finished.
3. I Hold Your Heart
“I Hold Your Heart” is different from the two other books as it tells the story from both perspectives, the victim and the abuser. This unique portrayal of a toxic relationship allows for not only a thrilling page-turner of a novel, but also a deeper understanding of how these situations occur and how deeply they can affect the victim in the relationship and all the people around them. A must-read novel, both for its depth and how hard it is to put down!