Real life. Compelling. Gritty. Bleak. Heart-wrenching. Thought provoking. Hopeful.
Uses for Boys by Erica Scheidt
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Good Braider by Terry Farish
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Melinda is a high school freshman and already is shunned and left nearly speechless because of what happened over the summer. At a summer party Melinda called the police, which resulted in the arrests of a few of the kids. What Melinda can’t put into words is what really happened to her and the reason she still feels she is in danger.
Last Night I Sang To the Monster by Benjamen
Eighteen-year-old Zach doesn't even remember how he came to be in rehab.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.
Clay Jenson literally hears a voice from the grave. A young woman named Hannah, who he had a crush on, recently committed suicide. She wants thirteen people to listen to a series of recordings so they can understand why she holds them partly responsible for her death. As Clay listens to the message he follows the journey that Hannah set for him and tries to understand his part in this tragedy.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
This is a book of letters from Charlie to a friend detailing the trials, tribulations, and joys he faces in his freshman year in high school. He is friends with two seniors at the school and together they try to survive first loves, drugs, the suicide of a friend and the usual bullying by less intelligent students.
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga.
Fanboy’s only friend is a school jock who doesn’t want to be seen with him. They are both into comics and Fanboy dreams that his own writing will lead to a career as a graphic novelist. Until then, he carries around a bullet and keeps a list of classmates who have bullied him. Then he meets Goth Girl who helps him start standing up for himself.
Stuck In Neutral by Terry Trueman.
Shawn McDaniels is beginning to think his father wants to kill him. Not for any evil reason; in fact his father probably thinks he would be doing his son a favor. Shawn has cerebral palsy, which means he is unable to move or even communicate with his family. However, the fact is that Shawn very much loves life and wants to keep living, if only he can let his father know in time.
Punkzilla by Adam Rapp.
Ex-thief Jamie “Rapzilla” is trying to get to Memphis before his brother dies. As a 14-year-old hitch-hiking and bus riding across the country can be a dangerous venture. Rapzilla tells his story in a series of letters to his brother. When Rapzilla meets his brother’s lover a new world of possibilities opens to him.
Adam by Ariel Schrag.
Adam is not the first man who pretends to be a woman who wants to be a man. This 17-year-old finds himself in New York with his lesbian sister and several characters who help him find himself. It is a funny yet original novel exploring love and sexuality in all of its varieties.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys.
It is the 1950s in New Orleans and Josie wants to leave the Big Easy where her mother works as a prostitute. Then someone is murdered, which looks to make a mess of her plans.
Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton.
In the part of Africa where Chanda lives, AIDS is so feared that its name is rarely spoken. People who are thought to have the disease are shunned and neglected. When Chanda’s mother becomes sick the fear is brought home. Now Chanda wonders if she herself is infected and whether she can escape the disease and save what’s left of her family.
It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini.
Sometimes the desire and effort to get the most out of life can be the worst thing for you. Craig Gilner discovers this when all his work to get into a prestigious high school pays off and he finds that he has put himself into a whole new world of stress. He ends up in a psychiatric ward where he meets people with as many or more problems than himself, which may be the best thing for him.