Today is #SpiritDay, an annual event created by Glaad to draw awareness to bullying, specifically bullying of LGBT+ youth. Given the recent anniversary of Matthew Shepard's death, this day of purple-wearing solidarity against all forms of bullying seems apropos of everything.
Bullying has long been a topic in YA novels, be it the more traditional physical bullying typical amongst boys or the emotional and verbal bullying more often associated with girls. In recent times, cyber-bullying has become a thing and is in no way limited to teens. People are bullied for any number of reasons, but it usually boils down to the fact that the victim is different in some way: different race, religion, gender identity, socio-economic background, physical appearance or even for having interests that might run counter to the supposed 'norm'. Having been on the receiving end of both physical and verbal/emotional bullying during my school years, this is a topic close to my heart, one that I find difficult to read about, but extremely necessary.
There are tons of YA novels across genres with a bullying theme, but here are just a few that are on my radar: