Young Adult Book Readers discussion

Books about teens' struggles

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message 1: by Angela (new)

Angela Avery I am a guidance counselor at a middle school. I am in search of books about adolescents and their issues, concerns, struggles. I'm interested in topics involving drugs and alcohol, dating and relationships, eating disorders, family problems, bullying, depression, etc.

I am trying to compile a list of these books to offer to kids who may experience similar situations. Even when the books are fictious and made up, my students really seem to respond to a book that describes what they have gone through.

message 2: by Jenna (new)

Jenna | 3 comments one book, that has a lot of issues in my opinion is Thirteen Reasons Why. It deals with a girl who kills herself, and the res is up for your students to read.

message 3: by Anna (new)

Anna I facilitate a tween book group (10-11 year olds) and some of the books that they liked were:

Stargirl Jerry Spinelli (addresses conformity has a sequel Love, Stargirl, but the original is better)
Tangerine Edward Bloor (addresses bullying, rascism, elitism, corruption, etc.)
Crash Jerry Spinelli (easy read, but those who don't like to read a good length)
Farewell to Manzanaar (old, but has been reissued and addresses the part of WW2 not discussed in history books)
Wicked Gregory Maguire (really not a tween, but very well written and addresses status quo)
Sloppy Firsts/Second Helpings (two books) Megan Macaffery (first crush)
Longer Letter Later/Snail Mail No More (I think Paula Danzinger)--alcoholism/first loves/parental death

I'll ask my tweens if they have any other suggestions--I am meeting with them in an hour for our annual "Battle of the Books". Tonight I have an orientation meeting for Middle School as a mom. A little nervous as I flashback to Football players, experiments with hair color; kissing at dances, etc. etc!! Not sure I am ready.

message 4: by Morgan (new)

Morgan (mlhiggins84) Cathy Cassidy's Indigo Blue

summary from Fed up with her abusive boyfriend Max, eleven-year-old Indigo's Mum moves her family into a dirty and gloomy basement flat. Once settled, Mum and Indigo enthusiastically refurbish their apartment. But soon Mum is depressed and neglects herself and her children. Indigo is overwhelmed with concern for her Mum, her schoolwork, caring for her toddler sister Misti, and household chores. Sadly, Indigo keeps her emotions bottled up. Desperate for help, Indigo calls Mum's only friend, Jane. One night Indigo overhears Mum tell Jane that she called Max. Mum makes matters worse when she agrees to see Max again and asks Indigo to baby-sit Misti. Hours later the young girls are awakened by police officers who take them to see their bruised and battered Mum in the hospital. After a three-month hiatus with Indigo's Gran, Indigo's family looks forward to a bright future. In this title, author Cassidy writes about several important issues--domestic violence, depression, family bonds, and friendship. This story has social value because it demonstrates to the young reader that even the most difficult problems can be overcome. 2005, Viking, Ages 10 up.

message 5: by Claire (new)

Claire | 1 comments Thirteen Reasons Why is a good one, like Jenna mentioned up above ^^.

Looking for Alaska by John Green, Define Normal by Julie Anne Peters, The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants series by Anne Brashares...Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern, any of Sarah Dessen's books, any of E.Lockhart's. They've all got to do with many typical problems which are just that- typical issues of the YA age group. All of them are great books by themselves too, aside from relating them to problems with students- just reading them was an INSANE experience for me, although not necessarily happy- especially TRW and LfA.

But that's how you get things out of books, by being changed and altered by them- not by being pleased by them, or feeling happy after you've read the last page. The best way to fix problems is to know what the problems really are- and that can be done through reading.

message 6: by Rakisha (new)

Rakisha (rakishabpl) You could try Tyrell by Coe Booth. It deals with homelessness, drug use, single parents, and love relationships. Don't let the cover fool you, it is a really well written Urban lit novel.

You could also try Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff. It is a story about a teenage girl with college aspirations, who babysits for a teenage mother of two. It deals with poverty, homelessness, and single parenthood.

I just started it but you could also try Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr. After an unfortunate tryst in the backseat of a car at 13-years-old, Deanna has spent most of her teenage life known as the school's slut. This story is about how Deanna tries to escape her reputation.

You may also try True confessions of a heartless girl by Martha Brooks. A troubled teenage girl stumbles into a small town, and changes the residents' lives. Deals with teenage pregnancy, child abuse, depression, and death.

message 7: by Kerri (new)

Kerri (queenbooknerd) Skin by Adrienne Vrettos is the most remarkable book I have ever read about anorexia. It starts off with the death of a boy's sister so there is no mistaking that an eating disorder always ends with "happily ever after". I think this is the best book on eating disorders I have ever read.

message 8: by Morgan (new)

Morgan (mlhiggins84) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
A lot of the books posted seem kind of girlish but this is definitely a book boys would like and it has drawings throughout. It deals with alcoholism, death and loss, and just great growing-up-and-becoming-your-own-person-while-dealing-with -high-school-stuff.

message 9: by Shelley (new)

Shelley HW (shelhw) I just recommended a fantastic book about teen struggles. Its called Loose Girl and it focuses on one young girl's walk through life and her experiences with sex. It isn't a dirty book although it covers the topic in depth. It is well done and quite enjoyable.

I highly recommend it.

message 10: by Rakisha (new)

Rakisha (rakishabpl) Sounds great. How is the readability?

message 11: by Dramasister (new)

Dramasister | 1 comments I completely and totally agree with those posts about Thirteen Reasons Why and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. Those are amazing books and pretty readable. Another one that I would recomend is Absolute Brightness. It's a topic that is rarely discussed but needs to be. It is very remenisent of the incident that happened in Laramie Wyoming several years back. It deals with homosexuality and societies reactions to it. You might also consider books like Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl. Even though it is fantasy the story is truly one about discovering one's inner gifts and overcoming lifes misfortunes.

message 12: by Shelley (new)

Shelley HW (shelhw) Oh man! That is all I write about but unfortunately I don't have a book published at this time. My first rough draft chapter is up on my page under the title, Troll Face if you're curious.
Here is the blurb:

"Calvin has been dealt a loser hand and he knows it so, how, when things start going in his favor, does he expect to win the heart of the prettiest girl in school? With a bully who has him in his sights, a face like a Ferengie, and a last name of Dinklage, he isn't exactly prince charming. Thankfully his future princess to be has some issues of her own, only they seem to be getting in the way."

Other than that, I can recommend the ones I've read and enjoyed.
Bad by Jean Ferris, Loose girl by Kerry Cohen, Tell by Nora McClintock to name a few.

message 13: by Shelley (new)

Shelley HW (shelhw) The readability is smooth and for every reader. I'd recommend Kerry Cohen's book to a young female teen who is struggling with peer pressure around sex. Anywhere from age 9-14 really. I'd have benefited from this novel.
Sorry this response was so slow.


message 14: by Amy (new)

Amy Reed (amyreed) | 1 comments I recommend anything by Julie Ann Peters for someone dealing with their sexuality and/or gender identity. She has a great sensitivity as a writer, and very memorable characters. "Luna" is one of my favorite books of all time. "North of Beautiful" by a Justina Chen Headly is a good one for girls in that transitional phase where they must choose between being a good girl or bad girl. Like "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian", "Dark Dude" is an excellent book for boys. It's a bit grittier than Alexie's book, but a really great read. There's sadly little YA out there for boys, even less for boys of color--but these are two excellent choices. (Oh, and definitely my book "Beautiful" when it comes out next October with Simon Pulse!--deals with drugs, sex, class, neglectful parents, and abusive teen friendships. Lots of fun ;)

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