Little Willow [userpic]

Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens

July 25th, 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.
Read more...Collapse )

ABUSE BY OTHERS - physical or emotional abuse; date or acquaintance rape; accusations, secrets and lies
Read more...Collapse )

TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - be they romantic relationships or rumors or no romance, but a definite abuse of power
Read more...Collapse )

POSITIVE & PLATONIC TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - teachers positively influencing and educating their pupils
Read more...Collapse )

PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS - reconnecting with or distancing oneself from absentee parents, dealing with restrictions and expectations
Read more...Collapse )

LONG-LOST SIBLINGS - reconnecting with siblings, or meeting them for the first time
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ORIENTATION AND/OR GENDER ROLES
Read more...Collapse )

VIOLENCE AT SCHOOL
Read more...Collapse )

EATING DISORDERS
Read more...Collapse )

PHYSICAL DISORDERS/INJURIES/SPECIAL NEEDS - protagonist, siblings, friends
Read more...Collapse )

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)
Read more...Collapse )

TEENAGE PREGNANCY - may also deal with adoption and/or abortion
Read more...Collapse )

TEENAGE ALCOHOLISM
Read more...Collapse )

MENTAL ILLNESS OF A PARENT, RELATIVE, OR PEER
Read more...Collapse )

DEPRESSION
Read more...Collapse )

RECOVERY/SUPPORT GROUPS
Read more...Collapse )

CUTTING
Read more...Collapse )

STEALING
Read more...Collapse )

DIVORCE, SEPARATION, AND/OR STEPFAMILIES - parents dating, getting remarried, etc
Read more...Collapse )

LOSS OR PHYSICAL ILLNESS OF A PARENT
Read more...Collapse )

LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A SIBLING
Read more...Collapse )

LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A FRIEND OR PEER
Read more...Collapse )

LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A GRANDPARENT
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LOSS OR ILLNESS OF ANOTHER CLOSE RELATIVE AND/OR ADULT
Read more...Collapse )

PROTAGONIST WITH AN ILLNESS
Read more...Collapse )

DRUG ADDICTION
Read more...Collapse )

CAR ACCIDENTS (and similar accidents)
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ADOPTION - Also foster care, group homes, and counseling
Read more...Collapse )

KIDNAPPING
Read more...Collapse )

CULTURAL IDENTITY
Read more...Collapse )

SUICIDE OR SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
Read more...Collapse )

ACADEMICS - cheating, excelling, or otherwise dealing with academic pressure
Read more...Collapse )

SOCIAL STATUS - at school or otherwise with peers; popularity, bullying, et al.
Read more...Collapse )

PEER PRESSURE
Read more...Collapse )

RELIGION
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POLITICS
Read more...Collapse )

ACTIVISM
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INTERNET SAFETY - and/or cyberbullying
Read more...Collapse )

SEEKING SHELTER - family shelters, homelessness, runaways
Read more...Collapse )

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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(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: March 24th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)

You are welcome, and thank you for commenting!

Daughters of Eve is good, creepy, and good and creepy.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 6th, 2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
oh my word

What an incredible gift!!!!!

THIS is what book blogs are for!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 6th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
Re: oh my word

Thank you so much! That is incredibly flattering. :)

Posted by: coloronline.blogspot.com (coloronline.blogspot.com)
Posted at: April 26th, 2009 06:12 am (UTC)
Re: oh my word

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 26th, 2009 06:22 am (UTC)
Re: oh my word

Posted by: blackeyedsusans.blogspot.com (blackeyedsusans.blogspot.com)
Posted at: April 26th, 2009 10:32 pm (UTC)
Re: oh my word

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 26th, 2009 11:13 pm (UTC)
Re: oh my word

Posted by: Jeannine Garsee (onegrapeshy)
Posted at: June 22nd, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)

Hi, Little Willow! You reviewed BeforeAfterandSomebodyinBetween a couple years ago. I hope you'll consider adding this to your list. :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 22nd, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)

Oh, yes. Thank you.

Posted by: writerjenn (writerjenn)
Posted at: June 26th, 2009 09:31 pm (UTC)

A new one on cutting: WILLOW, by Julia Hoban. (Also loss of parents.)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 26th, 2009 09:58 pm (UTC)

That's on my to-read list!

Posted by: ceceliabedelia.blogspot.com (ceceliabedelia.blogspot.com)
Posted at: June 26th, 2009 10:33 pm (UTC)

PIECES OF ME by Charlotte Gingras is a book that will fit in the parental abuse/neglect (emotional) category, and was one of the ALA's best books for YA in 2008. Just read it myself and loved it.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 27th, 2009 01:31 am (UTC)

I'll have to check that out. Thanks!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 27th, 2009 11:54 am (UTC)

You have some awesome lists there! In July, I'll be holding a Sex in Teen Lit Month (http://inkandpaperspecials.blogspot.com/), and I have a post I keep adding to of further reading. Would it be ok if I used your Orientation and/or Gender Roles and Teenage Pregnancy lists in it please? I would credit and link to this post.

I have so much going on right now, and I am bound to forget the URL to this post, so would you mind emailing me to let me know, please? I'd be so grateful! joannestapley[at]googlemail[dot]com Cheers!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 27th, 2009 03:14 pm (UTC)

Certainly! Thanks!

Posted by: daisywhitney (daisywhitney)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2009 07:14 pm (UTC)

That's a really encouraging story. Sounds like you were in the right place at the right time and really helped her!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: October 22nd, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC)

Thank you. :)

Posted by: daisywhitney (daisywhitney)
Posted at: February 1st, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)

This is a fantastic and comprehensive list! I am going to write about it and link to it on my site, daisywhitney.com/blog this Tues Feb 2!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 1st, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)

Wowza. Thank you, Daisy!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: February 3rd, 2010 01:15 am (UTC)

Great list! Bait by Alex Sanchez is a great Parental Abuse book

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 3rd, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)

Thanks! I've yet to read that title.

Posted by: laurelgarver.blogspot.com (laurelgarver.blogspot.com)
Posted at: February 4th, 2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
great resource --and some additions!

This is a wonderful resource! And it looks like it continues to grow.

A few additions to consider:
Protagonist with illness
Before I Die by Jenny Downham --PG-13 (leukemia)

Loss of other relative
Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson -- PG (aunt)

Religion
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr -- G

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 4th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
Re: great resource --and some additions!
Tink

Thank you! I've read Once Was Lost and 13LBE, both of which I greatly enjoyed, and though I have them on other booklists and reviews like Suggested Sets http://slayground.livejournal.com/153919.html and my spotlight on Maureen Johnson's novels http://slayground.livejournal.com/330290.html but somehow, I forgot to add them to the Tough Issues list! I'll do that straightaway.

Since I haven't read Before I Die, I can't add it to this list yet.

Posted by: laurieab (laurieab)
Posted at: February 5th, 2010 02:02 pm (UTC)

Visiting via Bookstore People, which linked your list this week.

For abuse by parents, I recommend The Boy in the Basement and Black-eyed Suzie by Susan Shaw. Also Bruises by Anke de Vries.

Susan Shaw also wrote Safe, which is about a girl recovering after being kidnapped and raped.

Putting the lists in order (by author or title?) would be very helpful. I don't think the above titles are on your list already.

Thank you.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 5th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)

Thanks for the recommendations! I have read Black-Eyed Susie, but I haven't read Safe yet.

Posted by: writerjenn (writerjenn)
Posted at: February 7th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
More suggestions

I like this list and am going to link to it in an AuthorsNow! post. I have a few more suggestions:

Parental abuse/neglect: AFTER, Amy Efaw
Teacher/student relationships: BOY TOY, Barry Lyga
Gender roles: PARROTFISH, Ellen Wittlinger
Physical disorders/injuries/special needs: THAW, Monica M. Roe
Teenage pregnancy: AFTER, Amy Efaw
Suicide: CRASH INTO ME, Albert Borris
Loass or Illness of Friend/Peer; also Auto Accidents: if I may suggest my own, THE SECRET YEAR, Jennifer R. Hubbard

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 7th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
Re: More suggestions

Thanks, Jennifer! Many of these are on my to-read list. Best wishes with your book!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: February 19th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)

Hi im Gabbie and I absolutely love your great list of books.
No Lifeguard on Duty by Janice Dickinson is an amazing book on parental abuse, abuse by others, and drug addiction. I could not put it down.
White Oleander by Janet Fitch is another favorite of mine, as it focuses on adoption and parent/child relationships.
Smashed : Story of a Drunken Girlhood by Koren Zailckas was an interesting memoir about her early stages of alcoholism.
These are all great books, im sure you would love them as much as i do :)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: February 19th, 2010 05:35 pm (UTC)

Hi Gabbie! Nice to meet you. Thanks for the recommendations! A friend of mine LOVES White Oleander, too.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 13th, 2010 10:48 am (UTC)
Hopeless Endings

I'm doing a uni assignment on realistic young adult fiction titles that end without hope. I'm already focusing on The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne and John Marsden's Letters from the Inside. I have done a great deal of reading, which has included many of the titles on your list, however most of them still end with a glimmer of hope. As the deadline for the assignment is running out I was wondering if you could suggest some titles for me to have a look at.

Thanks

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 13th, 2010 02:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Hopeless Endings

What a sad subject matter! You can try:
Like the Red Panda by Andrea Seigel (though this is shelved in the adult fiction/literature section)
The Girl in the Box by Ouida Sebestyen
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott (depending on how you see the ending)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: August 9th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC)

This is a great list. I remember when I was a teen, reading books like these really helped me realize the problems I was dealing with. When I found myself relating to a character, it was the best form of therapy I could find.

http://thefantaseer.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 9th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)

Excellent. I'm glad that you found the books, and they found you.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: August 31st, 2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
Awesome...

You're such a great writer, I'll really admire the way you write some topics and it's really catch my interest. Hoping that someday I also produce great topics that the readers will love.

From the Philippines,
Imee
ChooseYourOwnAdventureBooks.org for Kids, Adults and Teachers (http://www.ChooseYourOwnAdventureBooks.org)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 31st, 2010 03:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Awesome...

Thanks, Imee! That's very nice of you to say.

Posted by: janieslater (janieslater)
Posted at: August 12th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
2 suggestions

illness of protagonist: A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks (movie with Mandy Moore and Shane West)

depression: It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini (also a movie)

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 12th, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
Re: 2 suggestions

Thanks for the suggestions!

Posted by: Erin (nerdmylife)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2012 03:45 am (UTC)

I'd like to recommend Elizabeth Scott's Stealing Heaven for the stealing category. Her books are awesome for teens.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2012 03:55 am (UTC)

Oh, definitely! Thanks for the comment. :)

Posted by: Shannon Mills (Shannon Mills)
Posted at: January 3rd, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
thank you

Just wanted to thank you for this wonderful list. The summative assignment for my grade 9's next semester is an essay on a "teen issues" novel. I've brainstormed some titles, but I worry that I'm leaving other important ones off my list. You've created a tremendous resource.

Stephen Chbosky's "Perks of Being a Wallflower" is popular with many students - seems to strike a chord with them. I don't know how you'd classify it, but I thought I'd mention it. I thought perhaps it could go under 'Special Needs', but really, it touches on many issues.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 4th, 2012 03:08 am (UTC)
Re: thank you

You are welcome, and thank YOU for your comments and recommendations! :) I didn't much care for Perks, which is why I didn't list it... ;)

(Screened comment)
Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 27th, 2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Abuse by Others

I don't know what book you are describing. Sorry I can't be of more help!

Posted by: Chloe S Goodell (Chloe S Goodell)
Posted at: April 28th, 2012 04:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Abuse by Others

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: April 29th, 2012 12:26 am (UTC)
Re: Abuse by Others

Posted by: Rachael Hartman (Rachael Hartman)
Posted at: August 28th, 2013 04:33 pm (UTC)
another book

This is a great list of resources. I'd like to add another one under the addiction/recovery/street life sections ... It's called Angel: The True Story of an Undeserved Chance. I wrote this book and it published in June of this year (2013). It's the true story of my friend Angel and how she fell into and climbed out of crack addiction and prostitution. It tells the story of several street people she met on her journey. I would love for you to write a review of it too!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: August 28th, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
Re: another book

Congratulations on the publication of your book, and best wishes to your friend.

Posted by: prozrammaxer (prozrammaxer)
Posted at: January 6th, 2014 12:29 am (UTC)
:)

Ничего себе, тот кто писал кошерно накропал.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: January 6th, 2014 12:46 am (UTC)
Re: :)

Hi there! Thanks to Google Translate, I understood a portion of that comment. :)

Posted by: Jazmin Idakaar (Jazmin Idakaar)
Posted at: June 18th, 2014 09:49 pm (UTC)
You are some kind of genius!

I really love this list! This will definitely come in handy in my work as a librarian.

I do have one question for you, though. Would you happen to know which of these titles may feature people of color? I am trying to compile a list of fiction for kids and teens on mental illness, but I've had a terrible time finding any with characters who aren't white. I am putting together a list of titles for Minority Mental Health Month. If that's too much to ask, I will comb through in my spare (hah!) time.

Anyway, thanks again for compiling such a fabulous list of titles!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 18th, 2014 09:58 pm (UTC)
Re: You are some kind of genius!

Hi Jazmin! Thank you for the kind words. :) Bereft by Craig Laurance Gidney, which I have not read, sounds like it might fit the bill:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15814911-bereft
http://craiglaurancegidney.com/bereft-a-ya-novella-tiny-satchel-press/

Posted by: Jazmin Idakaar (Jazmin Idakaar)
Posted at: June 19th, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
Re: You are some kind of genius!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 19th, 2014 07:15 pm (UTC)
Re: You are some kind of genius!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: June 18th, 2014 10:00 pm (UTC)
Re: You are some kind of genius!

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