If you're looking for a book that has a darker side, you've come to the right post! Sexual abuse is a major problem that unfortunately still takes place today. Hopefully, some of these books I'll be posting down below have helped someone cope or have opened eyes for people who were ignorant to the issues that occur due to abuse. All of these have trigger warnings, so keep that in mind. These novels listed down below are books that I've read that I found to be truly beautiful and approach abuse in a great way, at least, in my opinion! I will be naming which character has been assaulted in these books, unless it's a spoiler.
1.) Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
Goodreads Rating: 4.4 Stars
My Rating: 4.75 Stars
Hopeless follows a girl, Sky, and her first year in a public school as a senior after being home schooled her whole life. While at first the novel seems as if it's your classic good girl meets bad boy romance, the story delves a lot deeper later on in the book. The reason I liked Hopeless so much was because the characters were so strong, that I could relate to them and support them as well. If you want a dark contemporary that has a passionate and intense romance with a massive plot twist, this is the one for you.
2.) Easy by Tammara Webber
Goodreads Rating: 4.15 Stars
My Rating: 4.8 Stars
I absolutely loved Easy when I read it earlier this year. The novel was the first new adult book I've ever read. Comparing this one to Hopeless, I liked this one just a smidgen more because I liked the romance more in Easy than in Hopeless. The story follows college student Jacqueline who is reeling after breaking up with her long term boyfriend. Soon in the book (no spoilers, I promise! It happens in the first couple of chapters!) Jacqueline is sexually assaulted and almost raped when Lucas, a boy from one of her classes, saves her. Easy not only follows the question of whether to report the rape or not, it also shows how a person deals with being assaulted and how they cope with it and return to physical intimacy. My only problem is that when I read the book, it didn't seem as if Jacqueline struggled to become intimate, it was more along the lines of dealing with the fact that there would always be a threat out there and she didn't know how to protect herself.
3.) Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Goodreads Rating: 4.07 Stars
My Rating: 3.8 Stars
Just Listen is one of the many books by contemporary queen Sarah Dessen. I read this book a while ago, so I don't remember much. What I do remember is that the booked wowed be with its plot centering abuse, I couldn't really sympathize with Annabel, our main character, and the family drama she had in the novel. This, I think, was the very first book I have read that dealt with abuse, and I do remember it handled it very well. I would recommend to have Just Listen to be one of your first Sarah Dessen books if you haven't read anything from her so far, just because at the time I read this, I started seeing a pattern in her works.
4.) Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
Goodreads Rating: 3.8 Stars
My Rating: 4.25 Stars
Twisted is an extremely dark contemporary read. The story focuses on bad boy Tyler Miller. After an eventful night, the next day Tyler is accused of assault by his long time crush Bethany Milbury. The novel focuses on Tyler's struggle of being innocent and being ostracized by his small town. I read this just under a year ago, and I remember being so astounded by this book. It was much darker than I expected, and while it surprised me, I remember loving it! If you're looking for an intense, dark contemporary, then I recommend Twisted.
5.) 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Goodreads Rating: 4.06 Stars
My Rating: 4.25 Stars
13 Reasons Why is the debut novel of Jay Asher. This debut novel follows Clay Baker, and his reaction to the fact that his long time crush, Hannah Baker, has just committed suicide. Soon after receiving the news, he gets tapes from Hannah explaining why she killed herself. She states that if a person receives the tapes, then they are a reason for her killing herself. When Clay listens to the tapes, there are horrific events that Hannah experienced that come out. I really enjoyed this book, but I know I'll never reread this just because it is so dark and took a large toll on me.
The five books above are the ones that come to me at first, but if you're not interested in those, feel free to check out Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz. Hope this list introduced some books you haven't seen before! Enjoy!