Millions of books get published each year. Some make their way to the top of the best sellers list. Some are just not worth reading and others make their way to the banned books list. Why do books make this list? What keeps them from getting the spotlight that all books deserve?
While these “banned” books get a bad rap, they cover many real life issues like suicide, sex, drugs addiction, eating disorders, and many others. Some people feel that spotlighting these issues could make these topics bigger. There are many who feel that the spotlight helps the ones who are struggling find their way and to get the help they need.
Here are two “banned” books that you can decided for yourself if they are worth reading.
Looking for Alaska by John Green Why it’s banned: Take one page of sexually explicit content, throw in a little offensive language, and you have the most challenged book of 2015. Synopsis: Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher Why it’s banned: This book was banned for references to suicide, sex, drugs, and alcohol. Synopsis: You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past. The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.
Both of these books are among many bestselling young adult novels. While the topics are serious and should not be taken lightly, they need to be talked about so that people will know how to find help or resources if they are ever in any of these situations. I agree that making these topics seem “popular” or “cool” is a bad idea in the making. I do agree that if the subjects are discussed then more people many be willing to seek help and ask questions.