Little Willow [userpic]

Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens

September 15th, 2014 (04:30 pm)
hopeful

Current Mood: hopeful
Current Song: Just Enough by Aslyn

One afternoon in the bookstore, a young woman in her late teens approached me and said, "Excuse me. Can you help me? I want some books like . . . " She named a few teen fiction titles that dealt with drug abuse and anorexia. She looked slightly uncomfortable but mostly excited. I told her that I could recommend many good books. Within minutes, she was sitting on the floor in the teen fiction section, a plastic basket full to the brim with books, with additional titles in her hand and next to her knees and her feet.

We had a great discussion. I was happy on any levels: happy that she felt comfortable enough to come to me, happy that she was open-minded, happy that I got some realistic, well-written books in her hand. This urged me to make a list of books dealing tough issues - eating disorders, loss and grieving, addiction, abuse, and so forth.

Due to subject matter, many of these books are recommended for older teens as well as adults, be they parents, teachers, librarians, or simply avid readers.

I've read every title on this list, and have given each book a rating according to the United States movie rating guide - G, PG, PG-13, or R - based on content, and a number of stars - four being the best - based on quality (my personal opinion).



PARENTAL ABUSE OR NEGLECT - Physical or emotional abuse, alcoholism, etc.
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ABUSE BY OTHERS - physical or emotional abuse; date or acquaintance rape; accusations, secrets and lies
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TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - be they romantic relationships or rumors or no romance, but a definite abuse of power
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POSITIVE & PLATONIC TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - teachers positively influencing and educating their pupils
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PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS - reconnecting with or distancing oneself from absentee parents, dealing with restrictions and expectations
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LONG-LOST SIBLINGS - reconnecting with siblings, or meeting them for the first time
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ORIENTATION AND/OR GENDER ROLES
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VIOLENCE AT SCHOOL
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EATING DISORDERS
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PHYSICAL DISORDERS/INJURIES/SPECIAL NEEDS - protagonist, siblings, friends
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BODY CHANGES - growing up and dealing with natural physical changes (as opposed to health, weight, or body image issues; disorders/injuries are in a separate list above this one)
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TEENAGE PREGNANCY - may also deal with adoption and/or abortion
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TEENAGE ALCOHOLISM
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MENTAL ILLNESS OF A PARENT, RELATIVE, OR PEER
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DEPRESSION
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RECOVERY/SUPPORT GROUPS
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CUTTING
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STEALING
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DIVORCE, SEPARATION, AND/OR STEPFAMILIES - parents dating, getting remarried, etc
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LOSS OR PHYSICAL ILLNESS OF A PARENT
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A SIBLING
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A FRIEND OR PEER
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A GRANDPARENT
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF ANOTHER CLOSE RELATIVE AND/OR ADULT
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PROTAGONIST WITH AN ILLNESS
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DRUG ADDICTION
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CAR ACCIDENTS (and similar accidents)
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ADOPTION - Also foster care, group homes, and counseling
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KIDNAPPING
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CULTURAL IDENTITY
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SUICIDE OR SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
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ACADEMICS - cheating, excelling, or otherwise dealing with academic pressure
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SOCIAL STATUS - at school or otherwise with peers; popularity, bullying, et al.
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PEER PRESSURE
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RELIGION
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POLITICS
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ACTIVISM
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INTERNET SAFETY - and/or cyberbullying
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SEEKING SHELTER - family shelters, homelessness, runaways
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I hope that this list helps readers of all ages find books they may be too shy to openly discuss with a bookseller or librarian. I want those readers to know they may leave a comment here and tell me which books they have found valuable. Most of all, I want them to know they can talk to their friends or adults they know in order to get the answers and help they may need.

If you would like for me to add more titles about a certain subject, or if you want more information about any of the books on the list, please leave a comment.

Special thanks to those who have shown their support of this list by offering me links, comments, and compliments, such as Jen Robinson, Bookseller Chick, Robin Brande, Sassymonkey at BlogHer, Daisy Whitney, Caroline, Bookstore People, and Jennifer R. Hubbard.

Comments

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Posted by: geriola (geriola)
Posted at: September 17th, 2007 04:16 pm (UTC)
your fantastic book list

This is a fantastic list. I have run a copy so that I can refer my teens to books on certain topics. Thanks. :)

I do have a few suggested additions:
Teen Pregnancy (from male viewpoint)-
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
Politics, Religion - The Loud Silence of Francine Green by
Karen Cushman (Ithink)
Loss of Parent, friend, Identity -
The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher
Serious Illness/Self, Sibling
Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman
Cruise Control by Terry Trueman
Mental Illness/Self-destruction -
Invisible by Pete Hautman

Geri Dosalua, Youth Services Librarian
Artesia Public Library, Artesia, NM
also a member of middle lit list serv.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: September 18th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
Re: your fantastic book list

Hi Geri! Nice to meet you. Thanks for the additional titles, some of which I have read and will definitely add when time permits.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: September 27th, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
great idea

This is such a useful list! Thank you.

Wendy T

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: September 27th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
Re: great idea

You are welcome! :)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: September 28th, 2007 12:15 am (UTC)

Thank you!
I still have to read that book.
Bonus points for the Tinker Bell icon.

Posted by: keenai (keenai)
Posted at: September 29th, 2007 12:29 am (UTC)
ya lit

Ooh! Also good for school violence is Shooter by Walter Dean Myers.

Teen pregnancy: Don't Think Twice by Ruth Pennebaker, Dancing Naked by Shelley Hrdlitschka

Cultural identity: Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier

Politics: Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: September 29th, 2007 12:39 am (UTC)

Thanks for the recommendations! I have yet to read them, but I am familiar with everything but the Hrdlitschka title. I am reading Does My Head Look Big in This? right now and it's great - definitely getting added to this list when I'm done reading it!

Posted by: keenai (keenai)
Posted at: September 29th, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: September 29th, 2007 05:35 am (UTC)

Posted by: mimagirl (mimagirl)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A GRANDPARENT

Have you read LOOSE THREADS by Lorie Ann Grover?

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2007 05:52 am (UTC)
Re: LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A GRANDPARENT

Oh, of course!! Yes!

Posted by: mimagirl (mimagirl)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
Re: LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A GRANDPARENT

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
Re: LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A GRANDPARENT

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: November 11th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC)
Loss of a Spouse

LOSS OF A SPOUSE - adult fiction
The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst - PG-13 - ****
Good Grief by Lolly Winston - PG-13 - ***
Home Away from Home by Lorna J. Cook - PG-13 - **

Posted by: Joey Marie (joey_marie)
Posted at: December 18th, 2007 02:20 am (UTC)

Thank you so much for posting this list. It's simply amazing. I'm definitely adding it to my memories for a later use as well. I went out today and got quite a few books on the list, too. And now, when someone asks me what I want for Christmas, I can actually give them an idea ;) Thanks again!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 18th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC)

Nice to meet you, Joey Marie! Thank you for the feedback. I appreciate it. I hope that you enjoy the books.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: December 19th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)

I'm glad the young woman found you!

Jules, 7-Imp

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 19th, 2007 07:49 pm (UTC)

Why, thank you, Miss Jules!

Posted by: Shari Green (sharigreen)
Posted at: December 23rd, 2007 06:26 am (UTC)

Awesome list! Thanks for posting. (I've enjoyed browsing through your LJ... hope you don't mind if I friend you!)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 24th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)

Nice to meet you, Shari! Thanks for adding me.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: December 30th, 2007 02:48 pm (UTC)
Wow --

This is an amazing list. Thanks!

Lisa McMann
WAKE 03.04.08

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 30th, 2007 06:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow --

Thanks for the feedback, Lisa!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 31st, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback! That book is in my to-read stack.

Posted by: emohawk9000 (emohawk9000)
Posted at: January 9th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)

Fantastic list!

Sometimes, in my writing group, someone will look at the book they're working on and ask, "Yeah, but has this been done already...?" I like to say, "Probably. So what you need to ask yourself is, 'What do I have to say about this that's new?'" None of us try to write "issue" books but we understand that certain situations are germane to the story. This is pretty comprehensive and will give me something to share with the group where I can say, "So the book you're working on deals with an abusive boy/girlfriend. Check out this list to see what others have already covered."

Thanks much!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 9th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)

Thank you! Glad to hear that you and your group strive to breathe new life into old (or hidden) stories, and that you can use this as a resource!

Posted by: Lisa Schroeder, Author for Kids and Teens (lisa_schroeder)
Posted at: January 15th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)

Wow - you are amazing!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 15th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)

Aw, thank you!

Posted by: emcrane (emcrane)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)

Your list just blew me away. Hands down, it's the most valuable one I've seen.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 7th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)

Wow. Thank you.

Posted by: august7th (august7th)
Posted at: February 10th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
Drug Addiction/Abuse

Wow. This is a great list. So many, many great books to choose from. One book that I would recommend for the Drug Abuse is Crank by Ellen Hopkins. It's written in prose, as all her books are. The sequel Glass, is just as excellent. It's based on the true story of Ellen Hopkin's daughter's struggles with meth.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 10th, 2008 06:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Drug Addiction/Abuse

Thanks for the compliments! Yes, I still have to read her novels...

Posted by: morethanfine (morethanfine06)
Posted at: February 26th, 2008 05:19 am (UTC)

Hey.. this has nothing to do with the subject... but, Im in the middle of "obsession" by will lavender... you should check it out. very who done it/figure it out/ trippy psycho thriller

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 26th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)

Hey you! Thanks for the recommendation. :)

Posted by: suzannecrowley (suzannecrowley)
Posted at: February 26th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)

thanks for including my book! Suzanne Crowley

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 26th, 2008 09:56 pm (UTC)

Hi Suzanne! You are welcome.

Posted by: L.K. Madigan (lkmadigan)
Posted at: March 8th, 2008 05:08 pm (UTC)

Fantastic list. I am adding it to my Memories.

I didn't see BOY TOY there - teacher/student abuse.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 8th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)

Thank you!

I haven't read that title yet, though I'm aware of it. I only list books I've read. :)

Posted by: as_king (as_king)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)

Thank you SO MUCH for this awesome list!
And with ratings! Brilliant!



Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)

You are welcome! Enjoy.

Posted by: k!mberly (ratherwhimsy)
Posted at: May 7th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)

Lovely book list ;D
Check out Impulse by Ellen Hopkins if you're into the whole free-verse poetry fiction thing. It's basically about the thoughts of three teens who are in a Rehab Centre for kids.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 7th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)

Thank you!
Yes, I still have to read Hopkins.

Posted by: mindmadness (mindmadness)
Posted at: May 31st, 2008 03:25 am (UTC)

Does anyone know any good books about cutting/self harm/self injury? or about mental hospitals/clinics?

I have read the book cut and absolutely loved it ... any ideas?
Also read (and loved): It's kind of a funny story, Impulse, Scarred by Monique Polak, The rules of survival, I don't want to be crazy and something girl.


Thanks so much

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 31st, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)

Cut is striking, I agree. If you're looking for a story with similiar situations wherein the protagonist is also hospitalized, I recommend Checkers by John Marsden and Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern. If you'd rather the story be about someone who is dealing with the hospitalization of a loved one, try Letters from Rapunzel by Sara Lewis Holmes.

Posted by: mindmadness (mindmadness)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 2nd, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 30th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
New Teacher/Student Relationship Title

Just read "Prey" by Lurlene McDaniel. Told from the point of view of a male high school student, the teacher he is in a relationship with, and a female student crushing on the protagonist. Not your typical Lurlene McDaniel book.

S.Dixon

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 30th, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
Re: New Teacher/Student Relationship Title

I have read that book.

Posted by: minerva66.myopenid.com (minerva66.myopenid.com)
Posted at: February 27th, 2009 06:38 am (UTC)

Thanks for the heads up on your list. Haven't read many of them. Issues is not my most often read genre. Do have to say that Speak is an incredible book from the standpoint of a rape survivor. It totally disrupts your life as happens in this book. You become a different person. Art therapy or writing have got to be the best ways of recovering.

Madapple by Meldrum touches on religion and teen pregnancy. Beautifully written, but way different from anything else. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan is about rape by a father and others and how the girl protects herself from the world after. Fantasy, so maybe not so helpful, but interesting. Soul Searching ed by Lisa Rowe Fraustino is a good book of short stories with religion or beliefs subjects.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 27th, 2009 07:35 am (UTC)

Thank you!

I have a separate list for stories in which art is key:
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Person

I have read Madapple. Not yet Tender Morsels or Soul Searching.

Posted by: minerva66.myopenid.com (minerva66.myopenid.com)
Posted at: February 27th, 2009 06:48 am (UTC)
platonic teacher and violence at school

Looking through my own lists after seeing yours. Want to mention an older book that I just read recently that blew me away. The Freedom Writers Diary is an incredible book. I especially like the use of the journals to help the students deal with social problems. So many social problems involved. The students grow through the time period - educationally, emotionally, in confidence, etc. So incredible. Nonfiction.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 27th, 2009 07:29 am (UTC)
Re: platonic teacher and violence at school

I have yet to read it, though I've intended to - That, and Three Cups of Tea, among others in that category! Thanks!

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 17th, 2009 01:41 am (UTC)
Re: :D

:) Thank you! I hope you check some of the books out!

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