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Little Willow [userpic]

Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens

October 2nd, 2017 (09:00 am)
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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INCARCERATION OF A RELATIVE
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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: Jocelyn Pearce aka Teen Book Reviewer (teenbookreview)
Posted at: December 30th, 2006 11:33 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the list! I'll have to add some of those to my wishlist. Have you read Diva by Alex Flinn, the sequel to Breathing Underwater? I haven't read Breathing Underwather, but I really enjoyed Diva. You might want to add that to your list!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 30th, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC)

You are welcome! Happy reading. :) I've read Flinn's other novels and have DIVA on request from the library. I'll add it after I read it.

Posted by: simmone howell (simmone)
Posted at: January 5th, 2007 06:24 am (UTC)
rehab books for teens?

hi,
a friend of mine who works in rehabilitiation was asking me about YA books for a patient of hers a 14 year old boy who is paraplegic - does anyone know of any books that deal in injury through accident? The only book I could think of was Joni by Joni Earickson - but I was hoping for something which didn't have a 'finding god' element ... or Dear Miffy by John Marsden - but that's pretty bleak - something in the middle would be good ...
hope you can help ...
great list by the way - thankyou!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 6th, 2007 03:53 am (UTC)
Re: rehab books for teens?

Hello there!

Good thoughts to her patient.

Recovering from an injury through accident - So often, books seem to barely mention the rehab, just give it more than a passing thought or a few pages. A lot are about the post-accident, post-hospital time, once they get back home. Hmm.

After the Wreck... by Joyce Carol Oates has a touch.

Trigger by Susan Vaught is the time-after, at home, but is about the character shooting himself: Was it attempted suicide? Was it an accident? He can't remember why he did it, because the shooting caused brain damage and he lost about a year's worth of memories.

Rules by Cynthia Lord: The main character befriends a paraplegic boy while in the waiting room during her brother's Occupational Therapy sessions.

Checkers by John Marsden is bleak too.

Keep asking. I'll keep thinking.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: January 8th, 2007 02:22 am (UTC)
Re: rehab books for teens?

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 8th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)
Re: rehab books for teens?

Posted by: janetgurtler (jgurtler)
Posted at: January 20th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
Re: rehab books for teens?

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 20th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
Re: rehab books for teens?

Posted by: snapshotjen (snapshotjen)
Posted at: January 7th, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)
Sexual Abuse?

Other than date rape, what about sexual abuse (from family or non-family)? A friend of mine has foster daughters who have often faced these issues, and she tries to relate with them.

There are two new novels, in the adult market, but in the first the protagonist/victim is about 10, I think, and in the second she's 17, and written from her POV, so they are very readable by a teen audience. I would give them a PG (or maybe PG-13, because of subject matter but it's not explicit) and a 3 or 4 * rating for quality.

They are both by Mary Demuth. One is called Watching the Tree Limbs and the other is Wishing on Dandelions. They are "faith based," but only because the girl explores her faith, not in a preachy way.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 7th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Sexual Abuse?

Yes, I have those subject matters addressed under the headings of PARENTAL ABUSE and PHYSICAL ABUSE BY ADULTS OTHER THAN PARENTS. (That needs a better turn of phrase, but it will do for now.)

Thanks for the recommendations. I'll have to look those two titles up and track them down.

Posted by: Jeannine Garsee (onegrapeshy)
Posted at: May 19th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)

What a great list--thanks!!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: May 19th, 2007 05:04 am (UTC)

Thank YOU for checking it out!

Posted by: capri pants. leather sandals. pregnancy. (37piecesflair)
Posted at: June 12th, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)

Sickened is an excellent memoir of a girl whose mother suffered with Munchuasen Syndrome.


Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 12th, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)

Remind me to look that up.

Posted by: capri pants. leather sandals. pregnancy. (37piecesflair)
Posted at: June 12th, 2007 05:41 am (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 12th, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC)

Posted by: leigh_purtill (leigh_purtill)
Posted at: June 25th, 2007 03:15 pm (UTC)

Great list! I would also recommend QUAD by CG Watson as an excellent examination of bullying and gun violence in a high school.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 26th, 2007 02:06 am (UTC)

Are your ears (or perhaps your eyes) burning? What are the odds that, on the day you posted this, I began your novel? (This is how my life works. Truly. Timing and coincidences.) I'm halfway through LOVE, MEG already and really enjoying it.

In case I forget to ask you at a later date - Did you ever watch the television series NIGHTINGALES? It was shortlived, but one of the storylines reminded me of Lucie and Meg's relationship. (I'll be vague here, because I don't want to spoil anyone idly reading the comments.)

In any event, yes, I plan on reading QUAD. I'm on the waiting list for it at the library. After I read it, I'll add it here. My booklists are populated by titles I've read, and there are others waiting in the wings, somewhat patiently, knowing I'll add them too once I get them.

Posted by: leigh_purtill (leigh_purtill)
Posted at: June 26th, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 27th, 2007 02:09 am (UTC)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: July 3rd, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
Excellent resource!

This is a great compilation, Little Willow! I get a lot of requests for issue books at work - I may have to print this out.

I just read a really good one that deals with mental illness (amnesia for one character, depression for another) - Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin. I really liked it - you might too!

~eisha

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: July 3rd, 2007 03:25 pm (UTC)
Re: Excellent resource!

Thanks!

I really enjoyed Memoirs and have it on my best books of the year (so far) list. I hadn't considered it for this list. Ooh.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: July 13th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
Parental Abuse Book

Little Willow, this is a great list to provide! I had read it previously, but only just now realized I could make a suggestion.
The third book in my series deals with a character trying to overcome parental abuse. (You currently have my fourth book in your reading stack!) "James: The Circle of Friends, Book III" is suited for both male & female readers and would be PG-13. A description can be found here at my website: http://www.thecircleoffriends.net/id3.html I am also a foster parent and have seen many abuse stories.
Thank you very much! I really love this site!
L. Diane Wolfe, author & speaker

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: July 13th, 2007 07:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Parental Abuse Book

You are welcome! Thanks for dropping by.

Posted by: thebadgirl2007 (thebadgirl2007)
Posted at: April 26th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Parental Abuse Book

Posted by: mandabach (mandabach)
Posted at: August 3rd, 2007 05:11 am (UTC)
wow

That is one amazing list.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 3rd, 2007 05:29 am (UTC)
Re: wow

Thanks!

Posted by: Vivian Lee Mahoney (hipwritermama)
Posted at: August 6th, 2007 06:20 pm (UTC)

I love this list. Thanks for putting this together.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 6th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC)

Hey HWM! Thank you for the feedback! :)

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

190 Read Comments
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