And the winner is… 11 times YA books got real PLUS win one of these incredible titles

YA tackles tough topics like no one else. Mental health, horrible home lives and tricky relationships are handled with grace, sensitivity and total class.


One of the best of these is the fantastic ‘Elena Vanishing’ by Clare and Elena Dunkleelena-vanishing

‘Elena Vanishing’ is the real-life story of a girl whose armour against anxiety is artillery against herself; a girl battling on both sides of a lose-lose war; a girl struggling with anorexia.

This incredibly powerful novel will blow you away and stay with you for a long, long time.

And don’t go away too fast – we’ve got a very exciting giveaway below for you.

Have a look at a few other of our top picks:

all-the-rage‘All the Rage’ by Courtney Summers

When Romy was raped by the sheriff’s son, no one believed the town’s golden boy could do such a thing and so Romy has given up making herself heard. Until another girl goes missing after a party and Romy must decide the cost of her silence.

It’s a tough read, but an incredibly important one. It’ll make you rage.

the-art-of-being-normal‘The Art of Being Normal’ by Lisa Williamson

David’s parents think he’s gay, but only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. Leo Denton’s own goal is to be invisible, but when he stands up for David things get messy. Secrets don’t stay secret at Eden Park for long.

This book is charming, funny and sweet and tackles transgender issues perfectly.

one‘One’ by Sarah Crossan

Sarah Crossan’s gorgeous verse novel about conjoined twins Tippi and Grace who have to move from private school to public school when their family hits money issues. Can they make real friends? Maybe even find love?

This is absolutely heart-wrenching and one of the most beautiful books ever – perfect for fans of ‘Elena Vanishing’.

paper-butterflies‘Paper Butterflies’ by Lisa Heathfield

June’s story of a painful home life and abusive stepmum is a difficult, emotional and heart-wrenching one, but we couldn’t tear ourselves away. When June meets Blister, she finds hope in the dark and begins to see an end to her torment. Everyone deserves their freedom, but at what price? This book will completely destroy you – have tissues on hand.


‘Under Rose Tainted Skies’ by Louise Gornall

Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother, but a chance encounter with her new neighbour Luke changes everything. Norah is determined to be ‘normal’ – the girl she thinks Luke deserves. But her love and bravery reveals a whole lot more about herself than she imagined possible. It’s completely gorgeous.

junk‘Junk’ by Melvin Burgess

‘Junk’ is one of the classics of YA and if you haven’t read it yet, you must. When Tar and Gemma run away from Tar’s abusive home life, they become embroiled in a life of heroin addiction and prostitution to survive life on the tough streets of Bristol.

This is a book you’ll still find yourself thinking about 10 years later; we think ‘Elena Vanishing’ will be one of those too.

7-days‘7 Days’ by Eve Ainsworth

Eve Ainsworth’s debut is an incredibly important book about bullying. Told through dual perspectives, the bully and the bullied, this is a powerful story about severe bullying and what happens when school is no longer a safe space.

This is the type of book that needs to be in schools.

my-heart‘My Heart and Other Black Holes’ by Jasmine Warga

Aysel and Roman are practically strangers but they plan to commit suicide – together. Aysel is the daughter of a murderer so she’s not quite a well-adjusted teenager. But she can’t figure out why handsome, popular Roman wants to end it all. It seems there might be something to live for, after all – but is Aysel in so deep she can’t turn back?

thirteen-reasons-why‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ by Jay Asher

When Clay comes home to find a box of tapes on his doorstep, he doesn’t expect them to be from Hannah Baker, his classmate and first love who committed suicide. What he hears that night will change everything.

This book will change how you interact will people for ever. Promise.

dreamland‘Dreamland’ by Sarah Dessen

Love can be a very dangerous thing.  After her sister left, Caitlin felt lost until she met Rogerson. When she’s with him, nothing seems real. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

‘Dreamland’ packs a punch as strong as ‘Elena Vanishing’ and isn’t to be missed.

And now…it’s time for the really exciting bit: your chance to take one of these incredible titles home. Yes, that’s right, you could have ‘Elena Vanishing’ posted straight to your door.

How do you enter? It’s real simple.

  1. Follow us @maximumpopbooks
  2. RT the tweet below
  3. Fill in the form at the bottom

This competition is now closed! Congrats to the winners @RandVBooks, @hakunamatatafi, @clareyfairy2506, @JennieLy, @ToniShadows, @jaysmyweakness, @TaylorSwift3x, @LaineyyM, @reader_maria, @mouse555.

Tell us about your favourite YA books that tackle tough topics in the comments below!

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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