Most realistic (ie, not fantasy) YA novels with single-word titles are awesomely depressing. Moreover, they are frequently about hot-button social issues and are not uncommonly in verse.

Sold, by Patricia McCormick. Child prostitution is bad. In verse.

Cut, by Patricia McCormick. Self-mutilation is a serious issue.

Skinny, by Ibi Kaslik. Anorexia is sad.

Massive, by Julia Bell. Anorexia is still sad.

Smack, by Melvin Burgess. Heroin is bad.

Willow, by Julia Hoban. If you kill your entire family in a car crash, you will need lots of therapy.

Shooter, by Walter Dean Myers. Don't shoot up the school.

After, by Amy Efaw. Don't throw your baby in a Dumpster.

Exposed, by Susan Vaught. The internet is evil.

Trigger, by Susan Vaught. Suicide sucks.

Glimpse, by Carol Lynch Williams. Child prostitution is especially bad when your own mother pimps you out.

Crank, by Ellen Hopkins. Crystal meth is bad. In verse.

Glass, by Ellen Hopkins. Crystal meth is still bad. In verse.

Burned, by Ellen Hopkins. Mormons are sexist. In verse.

Identical, by Ellen Hopkins. Incest is wrong and creepy, especially if it involves a father and only one of his identical twin daughters. In verse.

Impulse, by Ellen Hopkins. Suicide, attempted murder, bipolar disorder, abortion, cutting, child abuse, drug addiction, an affair with your high school teacher, and prostitution are all bad, but not bad enough to provide fodder for a single book on each. In verse.

Only counter-example I can think of offhand: Prom, by Laurie Halse Anderson, about the prom.
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potted_music: (Default)

From: [personal profile] potted_music


The summaries are hilarious XD

Addendum: "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson. Rape is bad.
adrian_turtle: (Default)

From: [personal profile] adrian_turtle


(Yes, but Laurie Halse Anderson writes in prose. Does that make it a counterexample?)

If "Speak" counts, so would "Monster" by Walter Dean Myers. Felony murder is bad.
sara: S (Default)

From: [personal profile] sara


Wow. I have kind of bad associations with prom, too, so even that sounds pretty dismal to me.
jonquil: (Default)

From: [personal profile] jonquil

Addendum


Single-world girls' name titles are often safe.
minnaway: (Default)

From: [personal profile] minnaway


Heh. The "in verse" starts being funnier and funnier.
inkstone: Samurai Deeper Kyo's Yuya sighing over a book, caption: reading is money (reading)

From: [personal profile] inkstone

addendums


Purge by Sarah Littman: Eating disorders are bad.
Leftovers by Laura Wiess: Girls are bad. But only because we make them so.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher: ...I actually haven't read this but it's about a girl who gets abducted from the Bangkok airport (I think) and held captive in the Australian outback.
ginny_t: Give me rampant intellectualism as a coping mechanism. (rampant intellectualism)

From: [personal profile] ginny_t


Split by Swati Avasthi: Domestic violence sucks.

Break by Hannah Moskowitz: I haven't read but it sounds depressing.
umadoshi: (WotH: Seiji reading (iconchacha))

From: [personal profile] umadoshi


Totally unsurprisingly, those are the two that came to mind for me too. ^^

Break by Hannah Moskowitz: Miserable home life sucks, and deliberately trying to break every bone in your body is a painful coping mechanism.

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ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)

From: [personal profile] ironed_orchid


Oh man, that's so scary/funny.

I only just learned that (here) some part of health dept. makes lists of issues they want children's/YA writers to address, and that writers can take their pick and sign up for the things they think they can address. I think it's a good idea, but wonder if it contributes to this genre.

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jonquil: (Default)

From: [personal profile] jonquil


Holes, by Louis Sachar. AU foster care is really, really bad. But sometimes the good survive.

From: [personal profile] vito_excalibur


Uglies, Pretties and Specials aren't particularly depressing at all! I thought they were fun.

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azurelunatic: A glittery black pin badge with a blue holographic star in the middle. (Default)

From: [personal profile] azurelunatic


Hmm. Jumper, by Stephen Gould. Teleportation does not solve all your problems. (It's also sf, though.)
sunnyskywalker: Gandalf reads an ancient-looking book (GandalfReading)

From: [personal profile] sunnyskywalker


Laurie Halse Anderson must be experimenting with how one-word titles form reader expectations, because she sure has a lot of them.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. Anorexia and attempted suicide are bad.

Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Slavery is bad. (The main character's life might get less bad in sequels, but their titles are going to be Forge and Ashes, so maybe not.)

Anyone know where her Catalyst and Twisted fall on the spectrum? It looks like they're more toward the depressing end, but you never know. Or maybe Prom is the only funny one, just to mess with us.

From: [identity profile] spectralbovine.livejournal.com


You left out Speak! Which I haven't read, but I presume is awesomely depressing and about a hot-button issue.

Have you read any of those Ellen Hopkins books? I saw them in a bookstore and rolled my eyes a lot. While at the same time being slightly interested in the concept.

From: [identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com


Speak: Rape is bad.

It's quite good - funny! - and about things other than rape, so doesn't qualify as awesomely depressing, albeit in the same genre as books which are.

I have never read an entire Hopkins book. The excerpts I've read in bookshops did not inspire me to read more.

"The Screaming
flashed me back
to a time
when mom and dad
were still together
if you could call
miles apart together."

"crawling up into daddy's lap
when dad was still

DADDY

nodding my head against his chest soaking in the comfort of his heart

LISTENING

to the thump...thump
somewhere beneath muscle
and breastbone I remember his arms
their sublime

ENCIRCLING

and the shadow of his voice
"I love you, little girl.
Put away your bad dreams.
Daddy's here"

I put them away, Until Daddy became my nightmare that one that came

HOME

from work everyday and instead
of picking me up, chased me far
far
away"

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rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)

From: [personal profile] rosefox


Cycler: Boys and girls are really different, even when they're the same person.

(Well, I found it depressing.)
Edited Date: 2010-09-09 04:11 pm (UTC)

From: [identity profile] tool-of-satan.livejournal.com


I think there are some more counterexamples among older books. Rascal, for one, and Blubber (I don't think I read it but the description doesn't make it sound like the ones listed).

From: [identity profile] gaudior.livejournal.com


...I think you could describe those as "Modernization and the coming of adolescence is bad" and "Bullying is bad." They're not entirely depressing, as they both have kind of redemptive endings, but it gets pretty grim in there.

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larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)

From: [personal profile] larryhammer


The trilogy of Wake, Fade, and Gone by Lisa McMann, none of them problem novels nor particularly depressing.

---L.

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ext_14638: (Default)

From: [identity profile] 17catherines.livejournal.com


Ellen Hopkins sounds *spectacularly* avoidable.

From: [identity profile] cicer.livejournal.com


While the book is awesomely depressing, I quite enjoyed After. It makes a really awful act seem understandable. Not justifiable, or good, mind you. But understandable. For that alone, I give the author kudos.

From: [identity profile] coraa.livejournal.com


After, by Amy Efaw. Don't throw your baby in a Dumpster.

This made both the boy and me crack up laughing.

From: [identity profile] lady-ganesh.livejournal.com


Walter Dean Myers has a few more counter-examples and examples:

Game, Slam, and Hoops: Better living through basketball.

Monster: Don't kill a convenience store clerk.

I am not sure about Crystal, which seems to say modeling is hard.

Amusingly, while I was checking my memory of these books, Amazon recommended me Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, mentioned above.

What about the Uglies/Pretties/Specials series? I still haven't finished the first book. Sorry, I also missed 'not fantasy' on first read.
Edited Date: 2010-09-09 02:03 am (UTC)

From: [identity profile] veejane.livejournal.com


Ah, Monster is the one I was going to mention. (I chiefly remember it because trying to laminate that dustjacket for library use was no fun and seemingly pointless. It's still in print, and still with that same irritating dustjacket.)
chomiji: A young girl, wearing a backward baseball cap, enjoys a classic book (Books - sk8r grrl)

From: [personal profile] chomiji


I have not read Carl Hiassen's Flush and Hoot, but given the nature of his adult caper mysteries and the reviews I've read of these two, I expect that they are very funny business wrapped around an ecology message.


From: [identity profile] notemily.livejournal.com


DREAMLAND by Sarah Dessen - Abusive boyfriends are bad!
TYRELL by Coe Booth - Teen parenthood is hard!
WINTERGIRLS by Laurie Halse Anderson - Eating disorders are bad!
LUNA by Julie Anne Peters - Being transgender with parents who believe in traditional gender roles SUCKS.
FOREVER by Judy Blume - Um, first love is hard? I dunno. That one's not too depressing.

From: [identity profile] jonquil.livejournal.com


FOREVER -- "you're going to have premarital sex. That's okay!"

From: [identity profile] lenora-rose.livejournal.com


Drive, by Diana Wieler is fairly positive overall. maybe that's why it wasn't a big seller.

From: [identity profile] gaudior.livejournal.com


What the hell, Ellen Hopkins?

Also, while most of these are self-evident, this one

If you kill your entire family in a car crash, you will need lots of therapy.

seems particularly so!
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