I write about sexuality. Female sexuality in particular and the constant abuse of females when they express their sexuality. It is this abuse which can lead to a number of mental health problems along the way and I am obsessed by sex, our expression of it and our mental health as a result of our sexual expression. Hence my choice of reading when it comes to young adults is generally around the subjects of depression, shagging and slut shaming.
Here are my 3 top books:
1) Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
This book is utterly devastating. The horror in this story lies in the sad truth that this goes on each and every day. The author accurately illustrates the blame the rape victim has to swallow, for not only being horrifically raped, but also for ruining the lives of the boys who did it. Having read a number of criticisms about this book, that the scenes are too graphic, I disagree, the scenes are hard to read and they challenge you to place yourself at the heart and soul of the victim. Only then, can the reader reflect on shaming and blaming they may have done in their lives. I think this is a great book to give readers a kick up a backside, especially as it is almost a mirror image of the news we have today about teenagers navigating ‘rape culture’ and social media.
2) Mind Your Head by Juno Dawson
This isn’t a piece of fiction, but it is most definitely a book which should be included in a YA reading list. It is an easy read and it perfectly illustrates examples of problems which affect our teens today. It talks the readers through finding help, and I wish this kind of book had been around when I was a teenager. It doesn’t claim to have the answers, it is not a self-help book, the author simply shares real life experiences which will likely resonate with some readers. This is a book to leave on the coffee table at home!
3) My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
This is a dark and beautiful book which presents interesting questions about the variable causes of teenage depression. Our protagonist wants to end to her life but she is afraid to end it alone and embarks on a quest to find a suicide partner. The first half of the book is bleak and at times upsetting to read, but as her relationship develops with her suicide partner, the book evolves into more of a romance. Ordinarily I would be cross that yet again the saviour for the female is always a male. Yet in this reflection on depression I think the author articulates nicely that sometimes our own families can’t help us heal because they are at the root of the depression and instead a connection with a stranger can trigger numbed feelings of joy.
BIO: Cristina Palmer Romerro is a producer and writer. She has recently completed her 1st book, Secret Diaries of a Teenage … Nymphomaniac?. She produced and edited the bestselling short stories: Twisted50 & Evil Little Sister, contemporary horror stories, with the London Screenwriters’ Festival. She writes for SeenLondon magazine and is currently developing creative writing workshops for children and young adults. She has production managed & coordinated a number of prime time TV shows, and has created & devised creative learning workshops for vulnerable adults. LIKE Cristina’s Facebook page.