fly, look up

Poetry Friday: Words are Birds by Francisco X. Alarcón

words
are birds
that arrive
with books
and spring

they
love
clouds
the wind
and trees

some words
are messengers
that come
from far away
from distant lands

for them
there are
no borders
only stars
moon and sun

some words
are familiar
like canaries
others are exotic
like the quetzal bird

some can stand
the cold
others migrate
with the sun
to the south

some words
die
caged -
they're difficult
to translate

and others
build nests
have chicks
warm them
feed them

teach them
how to fly
and one day
they go away
in flocks

the letters
on this page
are the prints
they leave
by the sea

- Words are Birds by Francisco X. Alarcón

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View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

books

Poetry Friday: White-Eyes by Mary Oliver

In winter
    all the singing is in
         the tops of the trees
             where the wind-bird

with its white eyes
    shoves and pushes
         among the branches.
             Like any of us

he wants to go to sleep,
    but he's restless-
         he has an idea,
             and slowly it unfolds

from under his beating wings
    as long as he stays awake.
         But his big, round music, after all,
             is too breathy to last.

So, it's over.
    In the pine-crown
         he makes his nest,
             he's done all he can.

I don't know the name of this bird,
    I only imagine his glittering beak
         tucked in a white wing
             while the clouds-

which he has summoned
    from the north-
         which he has taught
             to be mild, and silent-

thicken, and begin to fall
    into the world below
         like stars, or the feathers
               of some unimaginable bird

that loves us,
    that is asleep now, and silent-
         that has turned itself
             into snow.

- White-Eyes by Mary Oliver

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

books

Booklist: Tough Issues for Teens

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.
A Room on Lorelei Street by Mary E. Pearson - PG - ****
The Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti - PG-13 - ****
Wild Roses by Deb Caletti - PG - ****
Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen - PG-13 - ****
Margaux with an X by Ron Koertge - PG - ****
Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas - PG - ****
Circle the Soul Softly by Davida Wills Hurwin - PG-13 - ****
The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin - PG-13 - ****
Beauty Shop for Rent by Laura Bowers - PG - ****
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr - PG - ****
The Good Lie by Robin Brande - PG-13/R - ****
Tallahassee Higgins by Mary Downing Hahn - G - ****
Hershey Herself by Cecilia Galante - G - ****
The Lovely Shoes by Susan Shreve - G - ****
Itch by Michelle D. Kwasney - G - ****
Lush by Natasha Friend - PG - ****
Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott - PG - ***
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher - PG - ***
Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess - R - ***
Leftovers by Laura Wiess - R - ***
The Sweet, Terrible, Glorious Year I Truly, Completely Lost It (originally titled My Big Birkett) by Lisa Shanahan - PG - ***
Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney - PG-13/R - ***
Call Me Hope by Gretchen Olson - PG (due to language) - ***
Tall Tales by Karen Day - G - ***
Nothing to Lose by Alex Flinn - PG - ***
In the Garage by Alma Fullerton - PG - ***
Hold Me Tight by Lorie Ann Grover - PG - ***
Stealing Henry by Carolyn MacCullough PG - ***
Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix - PG - ***
Something Girl by Beth Goobie - PG-13 - ***
Not Like You by Deborah Davis - PG-13 - **
Claiming Georgia Tate by Gigi Amateau - PG - **
Looking for Normal by Betty Monthei - PG-13 - **
When Dad Killed Mom by Julius Lester - PG-13 - **
Vanishing by Bruce Brooks - PG - **
When She Hollers by Cynthia Voigt - PG - **

ABUSE BY OTHERS - physical or emotional abuse; date or acquaintance rape; accusations, secrets and lies
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston - PG-13 - ****
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott - PG-13 - ****
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - PG-13 - ****
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers - PG-13 - ****
All the Rage by Courtney Summers - PG-13 - ****
Stay by Deb Caletti - PG-13 - ****
Replay by Robin Brande - PG-13 - ****
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen - PG-13 - ****
Sha-la-la by Sarah Dessen - PG-13 - ****
- Short story published in the anthology Twice Told: Original Stories Inspired by Original Art by Scott Hunt
Burn for Burn trilogy by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian - PG-13 - ***
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen - PG-13/R - ***
Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala - PG-13 - ***
Lush by Natasha Friend - PG - ***
Leftovers by Laura Wiess - R - ***
Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles - PG-13 - ***
Sandpiper by Ellen Wittlinger - PG-13 - ***
Sold by Patricia McCormick - PG-13 - ***
Stained by Jennifer Richard Jacobson - PG-13 - ***
Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney - PG-13/R - ***
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr - PG - ***
Bunny Boy by Alex Flinn - PG-13 - ***
- Short story published in the anthology Twice Told: Original Stories Inspired by Original Art by Scott Hunt
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins - PG-13 - ***
Fault Line by Janet Tashjian - PG-13 - **
Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn - PG-13 - **
- Companion book: Diva by Alex Flinn - PG - ***
Inexcusable by Chris Lynch - PG-13 - **
Rundown by Michael Cadnum - PG-13 - **

TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - an abuse of power, involvement (or rumors), etc
This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas - PG - ****
We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt - PG-13 - ****
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby - PG - ****
Teach Me by R.A. Nelson - PG-13/R - ****
Friction by E.R. Frank - PG-13 - ****
Everything Beautiful in the World by Lisa Levchuk - PG-13 - ****
How It's Done by Christine Kole Maclean - R - ***
What Mr. Mattero Did by Priscilla Cummings - PG - **

POSITIVE AND PLATONIC TEACHER/STUDENT RELATIONSHIPS - teachers positively influencing and educating their pupils
Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande - G - ****
Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller - G - ****
Looks by Madeleine George - PG - ****
Peace is a Four-Letter Word by Janet Nichols Lynch - PG - ***
The Summer of May by Cecilia Galante - PG - ***

PARENT/CHILD RELATIONSHIPS - reconnecting with or distancing oneself from absentee parents, dealing with restrictions and expectations
Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson - PG - ****
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen - PG-13 - ****
Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti - PG-13 - ****
Nothing but the Truth (and a few White Lies) by Justina Chen Headley - PG - ****
Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley - PG/PG-13 - ****
Return to Me by Justina Chen - PG - ****
A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian - PG - ****
The Shape of Water by Anne Spollen - PG - ****
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter - PG - ****
Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks - PG-13 - ****
Many Stones by Carolyn Coman - PG - ****
The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti - PG - ****
Stay by Deb Caletti - PG-13 - ****
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen - PG - ****
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen - PG - ****
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando - PG-13 - ****
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour - PG - ****
Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney - PG-13/R - ***
Fact of Life # 31 by Denise Vega - PG-13 - ***
Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones - PG - ***
Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott - PG-13 - ***
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen - PG-13 - ***
Light Beneath Ferns by Anne Spollen - PG - ***
Stray by Stacey Goldblatt - PG/PG-13 - ***
Infinite Sky by C.J. Flood - PG - ***
For Keeps by Natasha Friend - PG - ***
Notes from the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell - PG - ***
How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles - PG-13 - ***
According to Kit by Eugenie Doyle - PG/PG-13 - ***
Play Me by Laura Ruby - PG/PG-13 - ***
Willowood by Cecilia Galante - G - ***
Beige by Cecil Castellucci - PG-13 - ***
Born to Rock by Gordon Korman - PG-13 - ***
Lucy the Giant by Sherri L. Smith - PG - ***
Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland - G - ***
Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough - G - ***

LONG-LOST SIBLINGS - reconnecting with siblings, or meeting them for the first time
My So-Called Family by Courtney Sheinmel - G - ****
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter - PG - ****
The Sweetness of Salt by Cecilia Galante - PG - ****
Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer - PG - ***
Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee - PG-13 - ***
Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers - G - ***

ORIENTATION AND/OR GENDER IDENTITY
The Letter Q edited by Sarah Moon - PG - ****
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour - PG - ****
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour - PG - ****
What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci - PG-13 - ****
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan - PG - ****
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan - PG-13 - ****
The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson - PG-13 - ****
Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters - PG-13 - ****
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden - PG-13 - ****
Empress of the World by Sara Ryan - PG-13 - ****
Dramarama by E. Lockhart - PG - ****
The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George - PG/PG-13 - ****
Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones - PG-13 - ****
- Sequel: Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape) by Carrie Jones - PG-13 - ****
Drama by Raina Telgemeier - G - ****
Purge by Sarah Darer Littman - PG-13 - ****
Band Geeked Out by Josie Bloss - PG - **** (sequel to Band Geek Love)
See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles - G - **** (sibling of protagonist)
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston - PG-13 - **** (friends of protagonist)
Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles - PG-13 - ***
Alex As Well by Alyssa Brugman - PG - ***
Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn - R - ***
You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan - PG - ***
How They Met, and Other Stories by David Levithan - PG-13 - ***
Wide Awake by David Levithan - PG-13 - ***
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan - PG-13 - ***
I'll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip. by John Donovan - G/PG - ***
Luna by Julie Anne Peters - PG - ***
Totally Joe by James Howe - PG - ***
- Sequel to The Misfits by James Howe - G - ***
Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee - PG-13 - ***
M or F? by Lisa Papademetriou and Chris Tibbetts - PG - ***
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger - PG - ***
My Life: The Musical by Maryrose Wood - PG - ***
Secrets of Truth and Beauty by Megan Frazer - PG - ***
The Question: A Play in One Act by Brent Hartinger - PG - *** #
In the Garage by Alma Fullerton - PG - ***
Naomi and Ely's No-Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - PG-13 - ***
Far from Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters - PG-13 - ***
Between Mom and Jo by Julie Anne Peters - PG-13 - ***
Gravel Queen by Tea Benduhn - PG - ***
Absolutely, Positively Not by David LaRochelle - PG - **
The Hookup Artist by Tucker Shaw - PG - **
So Hard to Say by Alex Sanchez - PG - **
What's in a Name by Ellen Wittlinger - PG-13 - **
Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger - PG-13 - **

# = Short story; available in the anthology 21 Proms edited by David Levithan and Daniel Ehrenhaft

VIOLENCE AT SCHOOL
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser - PG-13 - ****
Leap of Faith by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - PG - ****
The Life Before Her Eyes by Laura Kasischke - PG-13/R - ****
Freak by Marcella Pixley - PG - ***
After by Francine Prose - PG-13 - ***
Shattering Glass by Gail Giles - PG-13 - **
Silent Alarm by Jennifer Banash - PG-13 - **

EATING DISORDERS
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen - PG-13 - **** - older sister
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr - PG - ****
On Pointe by Lorie Ann Grover - PG - ****
Looks by Madeleine George - PG - ****
Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian - PG - *****
Purge by Sarah Darer Littman - PG-13 - ****
Nothing by Robin Friedman - PG - ****
The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel - R - ***
Perfect by Natasha Friend - PG - ***
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - PG - ***
Leaving Jetty Road by Rebecca Burton - PG-13 - ***
Second Star to the Right by Deborah Hautzig - PG-13 - ***
A Dance of Sisters by Tracey Porter - G - ***
The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart - PG - ***
Broken by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry - PG - ***
Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos - PG-13 - **
Vanishing by Bruce Brooks - PG - **
LoveSick by Jake Coburn - PG-13 - **

For additional information about eating disorder awareness, please consult this post.

PHYSICAL DISORDERS/INJURIES/SPECIAL NEEDS - protagonist, siblings, friends
The Nature of Jade by Deb Caletti - PG - **** - panic disorder
Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer - G - **** - cerebral palsy (verse novel)
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten - G/PG - **** - obsessive-compulsive disorder
Falling Boy by Alison McGhee - PG - **** - paralysis
Finding Grace by Alyssa Brugman - PG - **** - brain injury
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin - PG - **** - accident leads to amnesia
Tru Confessions by Janet Tashjian - G - **** - Asperger's syndrome
Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman - G/PG - **** - Asperger's syndrome
Rules by Cynthia Lord - G - **** - autism
A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass - G - **** - synesthesia
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen - PG - **** - accident leads to below-the-knee leg amputation
Shark Girl by Kelly Bingham - G - **** - accident leads to arm amputation (verse novel)
Replay by Robin Brande - PG-13 - **** - injury and near-death experience
Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend by Carrie Jones - PG-13 - **** - epilepsy
- Sequel: Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape) by Carrie Jones - PG-13 - ****
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley - PG - **** - port-wine stain
The Decoding of Lana Morris by Laura & Tom McNeal - PG - **** - various conditions
The Lovely Shoes by Susan Shreve - G - **** - deformed feet (birth defect)
Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin - G - **** - autism
The Encyclopedia of Me by Karen Rivers - G - **** - autistic brother
You Are My Only by Beth Kephart - PG - **** - breakdown
How to Speak Dolphin by Ginny Rorby - G - *** - autistic little brother; blind best friend
Read My Lips by Teri Brown - PG - *** - hearing impairment
The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous by Suzanne Crowley - G - *** - protagonist with Asperger's syndrome, friend with fetal alcohol syndrome
Snap by Alison McGhee - G - *** - repetitive routines
The Heart is Not a Size by Beth Kephart - PG - *** - panic attacks
Lovely, Dark, and Deep by Justina Chen - PG/PG-13 - *** - photosensitivity
Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel - PG - *** - face transplant after being burned in a fire
The Middle of Somewhere by J.B. Cheaney - G - *** - ADHD
Total Constant Order by Crissa-Jean Chappell - PG - *** - obsessive-compulsive disorder
Kissing Doorknobs by Terry Spencer Hesser - PG - *** - obsessive-compulsive disorder
Quit It by Marcia Byalick - G - *** - Tourette's Syndrome
The Phoenix Dance by Dia Calhoun - G - *** - bipolar disorder
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher - PG - *** - burns
Accidents of Nature by Harriet McBryde Johnson - PG - *** - cerebral palsy
Willowood by Cecilia Galante - G - Down syndrome
The Queen of Cool by Cecil Castellucci - PG-13 - *** - dwarfism
The Thing about Georgie by Lisa Graff - G - *** - dwarfism
Funny Little Monkey by Andrew Auseon - PG-13 - *** - Growth Hormone Deficiency Syndrome
Lisa, Bright and Dark by John Neufeld - PG - *** - mental illness
Not As Crazy As I Seem by George Harrar - PG - ** - obsessive-compulsive disorder

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)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart - PG - ****
Peace, Love & Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle - PG-13 - ****
Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott - PG - ***
Me, In Between by Lauren Baratz-Logsted - PG - ***

TEENAGE PREGNANCY - may also deal with adoption and/or abortion
Borrowed Light by Anna Fienberg - PG-13 - ****
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen - PG-13 - ****
Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape) by Carrie Jones - PG-13 - ****
Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles - PG - ****
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr - PG - ***
Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - ***
-- Sequel: Shrimp by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - ***
-- Then: Cupcake by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - ****
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston - PG-13 - ****
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala - PG - ****
A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd - PG - ***
Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney - PG-13/R - ***
Angel's Choice by Lauren Baratz-Logsted - PG-13 - ***
Making the Run by Heather Henson - PG-13 - ***
Fact of Life # 31 by Denise Vega - PG-13 - ***
Almost Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - PG-13 - ***
Kendra by Coe Booth - PG-13 - ***
After by Amy Efaw - PG - **

TEENAGE ALCOHOLISM
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen - PG-13/R - ****
LoveSick by Jake Coburn - PG-13 - **

MENTAL ILLNESS OF A PARENT, RELATIVE, OR PEER
Rabble Starkey by Lois Lowry - G - ****
So B. It by Sarah Weeks - G - ****
The Shape of Water by Anne Spollen - PG - ****
Pictures of Hollis Wood by Patricia Reilly Griff - G - ****
Hugging the Rock by Susan Taylor Brown - G - ****
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern - G - ****
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher - PG - ****
The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas - PG-13 - ***
An Egg on Three Sticks by Jackie Fischer - PG - ***
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - PG - ***
A Corner of the Universe by Ann M. Martin - G - ***
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt - PG - ***
- the first in the Tillerman cycle; seven books total
Breathe My Name by R.A. Nelson - PG-13 - ***

DEPRESSION
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - PG - **** - mother
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter - PG - **** - mother
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - PG-13 - **** - father
Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti - PG-13 - **** - multiple characters
Black Box by Julie Schumacher - PG - **** - older sister
Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman - G/PG - **** - father
Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern - PG-13 - *** - protagonist
You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - *** - protagonist
Letters From Rapunzel by Sara Lewis Holmes - PG - *** - father
The Phoenix Dance by Dia Calhoun - G - *** - protagonist
The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani - G - *** - father
The Summer of May by Cecilia Galante - PG - *** - mother
What I Believe by Norma Fox Mazer - PG - *** - father
The Opposite of Music by Janet Ruth Young - G - *** - father
Checkers by John Marsden - PG - ** - protagonist

RECOVERY/SUPPORT GROUPS
Purge by Sarah Darer Littman - PG-13 - ****
Perfect by Natasha Friend - PG - ***
Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern - PG-13 - ***
Cut by Patricia McCormick - PG - ***
Checkers by John Marsden - PG - ***
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins - PG-13 - ***

CUTTING
Cut by Patricia McCormick - PG - ***
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins - PG-13 - ***

STEALING
The Good Girl by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann - PG - **** - protagonist steals
All the Things You Are by Courtney Sheinmel - PG - **** - mother steals
Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott - PG - *** - protagonist steals
Lifted by Wendy Toliver - PG - *** - protagonist steals, friends steal

DIVORCE, SEPARATION, AND/OR STEPFAMILIES - parents dating, getting remarried, etc
The Steps by Rachel Cohn - G - ****
- Sequel: Two Steps Forward by Rachel Cohn - PG - ***
Gingerbread trilogy by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - ****
- Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - ****
- Shrimp by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - ****
- Cupcake by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - ****
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen - PG-13 - ****
Wild Roses by Deb Caletti - PG - ****
The Story of Us by Deb Caletti - PG - ****
Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr - PG-13 - ****
Bloom by Elizabeth Scott - PG-13 - ****
A Little Friendly Advice by Siobhan Vivian - PG - ****
Albatross by Josie Bloss - PG - ****
Return to Me by Justina Chen - PG - ****
The Poison Apples by Lily Archer - PG - ****
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby - PG - ****
The Wedding Planner's Daughter series by Coleen Murtagh Paratore - G-PG - ****
- The Wedding Planner's Daughter
- The Cupid Chronicles
- Willa at Heart
- Forget-Me-Not
- Wish I Might
The Alice McKinley series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - 20 books in the series, ranging from G to PG-13, each *** or ****
- Start with: The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor - G - ****
Wish You Were Here by Catherine Clark - PG - ****
The Shape of Water by Anne Spollen - PG - ****
Looks by Madeleine George - PG - ****
My So-Called Family by Courtney Sheinmel - G - ****
The Good Girl by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann - PG - ****
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen - PG/PG-13 - ****
Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess - PG-13 - ***
Boys are Dogs by Leslie Margolis - G - ***
- Girls Acting Catty by Leslie Margolis - G - ***
- Everybody Bugs Out by Leslie Margolis - G - ***
How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt - PG-13 - ***
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen - PG-13 - ***
Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones - PG - ***
Bounce by Natasha Friend - PG - ***
Broken by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry - PG - ***
Seeing Sky-Blue Pink by Candice Ransom - G - ***
So Totally Emily Ebers by Lisa Yee - G - ***
The Friskative Dog by Susan Straight - G - ***
The Julian Game by Adele Griffin - PG - ***
What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows by Nora Raleigh Baskin - G - ***
The Latent Powers of Dylan Fontaine by April Lurie - PG-13 - ***
Just Another Day in My Insanely Real Life by Barbara Dee - PG - **

LOSS OR PHYSICAL ILLNESS OF A PARENT
The Alison Rules by Catherine Clark - PG - **** - mother
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter - PG - **** - mother
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson - PG - **** - father
The Pursuit of Happiness by Tara Altebrando - PG-13 - **** - mother
Dreamland Social Club by Tara Altebrando - PG - **** - mother
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen - PG - **** - father
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen - PG - **** - mother
Positively by Courtney Sheinmel - G - **** - mother
The Shape of Water by Anne Spollen - PG - **** - mother
Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti - PG-13 - **** - mother
With You and Without You by Ann M. Martin - G - **** - father
Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers - PG-13 - **** - father
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - PG - **** - mother
Stay by Deb Caletti - PG-13 - **** - mother
The Language Inside by Holly Thompson - G - **** - mother ill
Brushing Mom's Hair by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Nicole Wong (verse novel) - G - **** - mother ill
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - PG - **** - mothers and fathers
Pieces of Georgia by Jennifer Bryant - G - **** - mother ill
High Dive by Tammar Stein - PG - **** - father
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones - PG - **** - mother
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt - PG - **** - biological mother
The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George - PG/PG-13 - **** - two of the mother characters had cancer, one survived, one did not
The Maggie Valley Trilogy by Kerry Madden - G - **** - father ill
- Gentle's Holler
- Louisiana's Song
- Jessie's Mountain
You Shouldn't Have to Say Goodbye by Patricia Hermes - G - **** - mother
Like the Red Panda by Andrea Seigel - PG-13 - **** - both parents
Nothing by Robin Friedman - PG - **** - father
Nothing but Ghosts by Beth Kephart - PG - **** - mother
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour - PG - **** - mother
Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman - G/PG - **** - father of protagonist's friend
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr - PG - *** - father
Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess - PG-13 - *** - mother
The Life of Glass by Jillian Cantor - PG - *** - father
The Summer of May by Cecilia Galante - PG - *** - mother
If I Stay by Gayle Forman - PG - *** - both parents
A Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen - PG - *** - father going blind
Burn for Burn trilogy by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian - PG-13 - *** - mother
A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler - PG - *** - mother ill
A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd - PG - *** - mother
Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones - PG - *** - stepfather
Very LeFreak by Rachel Cohn - R - *** - mother
Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee - PG-13 - *** - mother
Bounce by Natasha Friend - PG - *** - mother
Runaround by Helen Hemphill - G - *** - mother
After by Kristin Harmel - PG - *** - father
Broken by Alyxandra Harvey-Fitzhenry - PG - *** - mother
Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy - G - *** - mother
All About Vee by C. Leigh Purtill - PG - *** - mother
Sparrow by Sherri L. Smith - PG - *** - both parents
Perfect by Natasha Friend - PG - *** - father
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass - G - *** - father
Shelter by Beth Cooley - PG - *** - father
Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab - PG - *** - father ill
Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott - PG - *** - mother ill
Cures for Heartbreak by Margo Rabb - PG-13 - *** - mother
A Dance of Sisters by Tracey Porter - G - *** - mother
The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer - G - *** - father passed away before protagonist was born; mother passes away when protag is 12
Amalee by Dar Williams - G - *** - mother
- Sequel: Lights, Camera, Amalee - G - ***
Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen - PG - *** - mother
Not Anything by Carmen Rodrigues - PG-13 - *** - mother
Brushing Mom's Hair by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Nicole Wong - G - *** - mother ill
The Julian Game by Adele Griffin - PG - **** - mother
After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away by Joyce Carol Oates - PG-13 - ** - mother

Adults looking for fiction about the loss of a spouse: Please see my note in the comments thread below.

LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A SIBLING
Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr - PG-13 - **** - older half-sister
Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff - G - **** - older brother
Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick - G - **** - little brother ill
- The follow-up, After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick, is from the younger brother's POV
See You at Harry's by Jo Knowles - G - **** - plot point I don't want to spoil
A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry - G - **** - older sister ill
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - PG - **** - various siblings
Many Stones by Carolyn Coman - PG - **** - older sister
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala - PG - **** - older sister
All Rivers Flow to the Sea by Alison McGhee - PG-13 - **** - older sister ill
The Maggie Valley Trilogy by Kerry Madden - G - **** - older sister
- Gentle's Holler
- Louisiana's Song
- Jessie's Mountain
A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell - G - **** - older brother
The Good Girl by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann - PG - **** - older brother
Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson - PG - **** - younger sister ill
- Sequel: Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson - PG - ****
The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith - PG - **** - brother
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby - PG - **** - older sister ill
After Iris by Natasha Farrant - G - *** - twin sister
You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - *** - technically cousins, raised almost like sisters
If I Stay by Gayle Forman - PG - *** - little brother
Wish by Joseph Monninger - PG - *** - younger brother ill
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - PG - *** - older sister ill
The Good Girl by Kerry Cohen Hoffmann - PG - *** - older brother
When I Was Older by Garret Freymann-Weyr - PG - *** - younger sister
Dead Girls Don't Write Letters by Gail Giles - PG - *** - older sister
The Second Virginity of Suzy Green by Sara Hantz - PG-13 - *** - older sister
Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones - G - ***
Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner - PG - *** - little sister
Breathless by Jessica Warman - R - *** - older brother
Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo - G - *** - older sister
Saving Zoë by Alyson Noel - PG - *** - older sister
Sparrow by Sherri L. Smith - PG - *** - little brother
Just One Wish by Janette Rallison - G - *** - little brother ill
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodriguez - PG-13 - **

LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A FRIEND OR PEER
Hold Still by Nina LaCour - PG/PG-13 - ****
Just Like That by Marsha Qualey - PG-13 - ****
The Beautiful Between by Alyssa B. Sheinmel - PG - ****
Swollen by Melissa Lion - PG - ****
Upstream by Melissa Lion - PG - ****
Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes - PG - ****
Feathered by Laura Kasischke - PG - ****
What Happens Here by Tara Altebrando - PG - ****
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson - PG - ****
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - G - ****
Say Goodnight, Gracie by Julie Reece Deaver - PG - ****
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - PG-13 - ****
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - PG - ****
You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz - PG - ****
A Time for Dancing by Davida Wills Hurwin - PG - ****
- Sequel: The Farther You Run - PG - ****
Once and For All by Sarah Dessen - PG-13 - ****
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen - PG - ****
Light Years by Tammar Stein - PG - ****
A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti - PG/PG-13 - ****
The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith - PG - ****
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen - PG/PG-13 - ****
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - PG - ***
You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - ***
The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks - PG - ***
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - PG-13 - ***
The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith - G - ***
Because of Anya by Margaret Peterson Haddix - G - ***
Rain is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith - G - ***
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - PG - ***
Kiss Me, Kill Me trilogy by Lauren Henderson - PG - ***
(Read them in order: Kiss Me, Kill Me; Kisses and Lies; Kissing in the Dark)
Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen - G - ***
Skin Deep by E.R. Crane - G - ***
Undone by Brooke Taylor - PG-13 - ***
Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara - PG - ***
Marly's Ghost by David Levithan - PG - ***
Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo - G - ***
All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab - PG-13 - **
In the Company of Crazies by Nora Raleigh Baskin - PG - **
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodriguez - PG-13 - **

LOSS OR ILLNESS OF A GRANDPARENT
Snap by Alison McGhee - G - ****
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour - PG - ****
Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer - G - ****
Loose Threads by Lorie Ann Grover - G - ****
The Summer I Saved the World...in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz - G - ****
Itch by Michelle D. Kwasney - G - ****
Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick - G - ****
The Life of Glass by Jillian Canton - PG - ***
House of Dance by Beth Kephart - G - ***
Sparrow by Sherri L. Smith - PG - ***
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter - PG - ****
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby - PG - ****
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - PG - ***
Blind Faith by Ellen Wittlinger - PG - ***
Lights, Camera, Amalee by Dar Williams - G - ***
- Sequel to Amalee - G - ***
A Million Ways Home by Dianna Dorisi Winget - G - ***
Remember This by S.T. Underdahl - G - ***

LOSS OR ILLNESS OF ANOTHER CLOSE RELATIVE AND/OR ADULT
Riding the Universe by Gaby Triana - PG/PG-13 - **** - uncle
Stay With Me by Garret Freymann-Weyr - PG-13 - **** - father's first wife
Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman - G/PG - **** - aunt
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson - PG - *** - aunt

PROTAGONIST WITH AN ILLNESS
Nearly every book by Lurlene McDaniel revolves around a young character facing illness or a tragedy. Most of her stories are PG - *** My favorite McDaniel stories are those about Dawn Rochelle, who has leukemia:
- Six Months to Live
- I Want to Live
- So Much to Live For
- No Time to Cry
- To Live Again
Forever Changes by Brendan Halpin - PG-13 - **** - cystic fibrosis
The Doll Hospital by James Duffy - G - ****
After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick - G - **** - cancer
- This book is the follow-up to Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick, which is from his older brother's POV. After Ever After is from the younger brother's POV, years later.
Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers - G - *** - heart transplant
What Happened to Lani Garver by Carol Plum-Ucci - PG-13 - **** - leukemia
In a Heartbeat by Loretta Ellsworth - PG - *** - heart transplant
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - PG-13 - *** - cancer
Side Effects by Amy Goldman Koss - PG - **** - lymphoma
Breathing by Cheryl Renée Herbsman - PG - **** - asthma
Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala - PG-13 - *** - asthma
Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank - PG/PG-13 - *** - Crohn's disease
Guts by Raina Telgemeier - PG - *** - stomach troubles - irritable bowel syndrome
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - PG - *** - post-traumatic headaches and memory loss

DRUG ADDICTION
Candy by Kevin Brooks - R - ****

CAR ACCIDENTS (and similar accidents)
Say Goodnight, Gracie by Julie Reece Deaver - PG - ****
On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - PG - ****
Looking for Alaska by John Green - PG-13 - ****
Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks - PG-13 - ****
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson - PG - ****
The Maggie Valley Trilogy by Kerry Madden - G - ****
- Gentle's Holler
- Louisiana's Song
- Jessie's Mountain
A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell - G - ****
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - PG/PG-13 - ***
The Pretty One by Cheryl Klam - PG - ***
Sparrow by Sherri L. Smith - PG - ***
Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles - PG-13 - ***
Wrecked by E.R. Frank - PG-13 - ***
Making the Run by Heather Henson - PG-13 - ***
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass - G - ***
Undone by Brooke Taylor - PG-13 - ***
Lovely, Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara - PG - ***
After the Wreck, I Picked Myself Up, Spread My Wings, and Flew Away by Joyce Carol Oates - PG-13 - **

INCARCERATION OF A RELATIVE
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen - PG - **** - older brother
Such a Pretty Girl by Laura Wiess - R - *** - father
Black Taxi by James Moloney - PG - *** - father

ADOPTION - Also foster care, group homes, and counseling
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin - PG - ****
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt - PG - ****
Where I'd Like to Be by Frances O'Roark Dowell - G - ****
Pictures of Hollis Wood by Patricia Reilly Giff - G - ****
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley - PG - ****
The Decoding of Lana Morris by Laura & Tom McNeal - PG - ****
The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau - PG - ****
Riding the Universe by Gaby Triana - PG/PG-13 - ****
The Snowball Effect by Holly Nicole Hoxter - PG - ****
The Janie series by Caroline B. Cooney - PG - ***
- The Face on the Milk Carton
- Whatever Happened to Janie?
- The Voice on the Radio
- What Janie Found
They Never Came Back by Caroline B. Cooney - G - ***
The Other Sister by S.T. Underdahl - G - ***
The Lucky Kind by Alyssa B. Sheinmel - PG-13 - ***
Blackthorn Winter by Kathryn Reiss - PG - ***
Returnable Girl by Pamela Lowell - PG-13 - ***
The Other Half of Me by Emily Franklin - PG - ***
Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen - PG - ***
The Last Chance Texaco by Brent Hartinger - PG - ***
Find a Stranger, Say Goodbye by Lois Lowry - PG - ***
First Daughter books by Mitali Perkins - PG - ***
- Extreme American Makeover
- White House Rules
Red Glass by Laura Resau - PG - ***
Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers - G - ***
A Million Ways Home by Dianna Dorisi Winget - G - ***

For more titles, check out my adoption booklist.

KIDNAPPING
The Girl in the Box by Ouida Sebestyen - PG - ****
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott - PG-13 - ****
You Are My Only by Beth Kephart - PG - ****
Long Live the Queen by Ellen Emerson White - PG-13 - ****
(Note: This is the third book in The President's Daughter series. Scroll down to the POLITICS list to see all of the titles in this line.)
Missing Since Monday by Ann M. Martin - G - ***
Jump the Cracks by Stacy DeKeyser - PG - ***
The Janie series by Carolyn B. Cooney - PG - ***
- The Face on the Milk Carton
- Whatever Happened to Janie?
- The Voice on the Radio
- What Janie Found

CULTURAL IDENTITY
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta - PG-13 - ****
Nothing but the Truth (and a few White Lies) by Justina Chen Headley - PG - ****
Girl Overboard by Justina Chen Headley - PG/PG-13 - ****
Light Years by Tammar Stein - PG - ****
Adios to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrar - PG-13 - ****
It's Not About the Accent by Caridad Ferrar - PG-13 - ****
Good Enough by Paula Yoo - PG - ****
Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim - PG - ****
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah - PG - ****
Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah - PG - ****
The Language Inside by Holly Thompson - G - ****
Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell - PG - ****
The Indigo Notebook by Laura Resau - PG - ****
Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa by Micol Ostow - PG - ***
Seeing Emily by Joyce Lee Wong - G - *** (verse novel)
Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger - PG/PG-13 - ***
Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth - PG - ***
Cubanita by Gaby Triana - PG-13 - ***
Estrella's Quinceanera by Malin Alegria - PG - ***
Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins - PG - ***
First Daughter books by Mitali Perkins - PG - ***
- Extreme American Makeover
- White House Rules
Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins - G - ***
The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani - G - ***
Rain is Not My Indian Name by Cynthia Leitich Smith - G - ***
Kimchi & Calamari by Rose Kent - G - ***
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (graphic novel) - PG - ***
Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Sherri L. Smith - G - ***
What I Meant... by Marie Lamba - PG - ***
Orchards by Holly Thompson - PG - ***
If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko - PG - ***
No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia - G - **
Chloe Leiberman (Sometimes Wong) by Carrie Rosten - PG - **
Off-Color by Janet McDonald - PG - **
Mismatch by Lensey Namioka - PG - **

SUICIDE OR SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
Hold Still by Nina LaCour - PG/PG-13 - ****
Like the Red Panda by Andrea Seigel - PG-13 - ****
Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers - PG-13 - ****
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - PG-13 - ****
Essential Maps for the Lost by Deb Caletti - PG-13 - ****
You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn - PG-13 - ***
This is What I Want to Tell You by Heather Duffy Stone - PG-13 - ***
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman - PG - ***
Orchards by Holly Thompson - PG - ***
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - PG - ***
Drowning Anna (also published as Blue) by Sue Mayfield - PG - ***
Burn for Burn trilogy by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian - PG-13 - ***
Aimee by Mary Beth Miller - PG-13 - ***
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins - PG-13 - ***
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - PG-13 - ***
34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodriguez - PG-13 - **
Trigger by Susan Vaught - PG-13 - **

ACADEMICS - cheating, excelling, or otherwise dealing with academic pressure
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers - PG-13 - ****
Multiple Choice by Janet Tashjian - G - **** - decision-making, perfectionism
Good Enough by Paula Yoo - PG - ****
The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower by Lisa Graff - G - ****
Hacking Harvard by Robin Wasserman - PG/PG-13 - ***
She's So Money by Cherry Cheva - PG - ***
DupliKate by Cherry Cheva - PG - ***
Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks - PG - ***
The Taker by J.M. Steele - PG - ***
Cheating Lessons by Nan Willard Cappo - G - ***
The Cheat by Amy Goldman Koss - G - ***
Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell - PG - **

SOCIAL STATUS - at school or otherwise with peers; popularity, bullying, et al.
Define "Normal" by Julie Anne Peters - G - ****
Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr - PG-13 - ****
Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers - PG-13 - ****
Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers - PG-13 - ****
The Girls by Amy Goldman Koss - G - ****
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby - PG - ****
Looks by Madeleine George - PG - ****
Season of the Witch by Mariah Fredericks - PG/PG-13 - ****
Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee - G - ****
Paisley Hanover Acts Out by Cameron Tuttle - PG - ****
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman - PG - ***
The Julian Game by Adele Griffin - PG - ***
Read My Lips by Teri Brown - PG - ***
Good Girls by Laura Ruby - PG-13/R - ***
Walking Naked by Alyssa Brugman - PG - ***
Burn for Burn (first book in the Signs Trilogy) by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian - PG-13 - ***
The Queen of Cool by Cecil Castellucci - PG-13 - ***
How Not to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler - PG - ***
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone (verse novel) - PG-13 - ***
Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson - PG-13 - ***
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli - PG - ***
Drowning Anna (also published as Blue) by Sue Mayfield - PG - ***
The Misfits by James Howe - G - ***
Fringe Girl by Valerie Frankel - PG - *** (Note: First in a series)
Before, After, and Somebody In Between by Jeannine Garsee - PG - ***

PEER PRESSURE
Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan - PG-13 - ****
Crimes of the Sarahs by Kristen Tracy - PG-13 - ****
Read My Lips by Teri Brown - PG - ***
Playing in Traffic by Gail Giles - PG-13 - ***
Amadine by Adele Griffin - PG - ***
Cheating Lessons by Nan Willard Cappo - G - ***
Leaving Fishers by Margaret Peterson Haddix - PG - ***
Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard - PG-13 - ***
Harmless by Dana Reinhardt - PG-13 - ***
Shattering Glass by Gail Giles - PG-13 - **
Breaking Point by Alex Flinn - PG-13 - **

RELIGION
Evolution, Me & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande - G - ****
Leap of Faith by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - G - ****
The Patron Saint of Butterflies by Cecilia Galante - PG - ****
This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas - PG - ****
Glory quartet by Jodi Lynn - PG - ****
- Glory
- Shadow Tree
- Blue Girl
- Forget-Me-Not
Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Darer Littman - G - ****
Goy Crazy by Melissa Schorr - PG - ****
OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy - G - ****
Intentions by Deborah Heiligman - PG-13 - ****
The Good Lie by Robin Brande - PG-13/R - ****
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala - PG - ****
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt - PG - ****
Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati - PG - ****
Never Mind the Goldbergs by Matthue Roth - PG-13 - ****
The Way He Lived by Emily Wing Smith - PG - ****
Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr - PG - ****
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams - PG - ***
Leaving Fishers by Margaret Peterson Haddix - PG - ***
Godless by Pete Hautman - PG - ***

POLITICS
Too Big a Storm by Marsha Qualey - PG - ***
Wide Awake by David Levithan - PG-13 - ***
The President's Daughter series by Ellen Emerson White
- The President's Daughter - PG-13 - ***
- White House Autumn - PG-13 - ****
- Long Live the Queen - PG-13 - ****
- Long May She Reign - PG-13 - ***
Popular Vote by Micol Ostow - PG - ***
Total Knockout: Tale of an Ex-Class President by Taylor Morris - G - ***
Standing for Socks by Elissa Brent Weissman - G - ***
The First Daughter books by Mitali Perkins - PG - ***
- Extreme American Makeover
- White House Rules
Born to Rock by Gordon Korman - PG-13 - **
Vote for Larry by Janet Tashjian - PG - **
- sequel to The Gospel According to Larry - PG - ***

ACTIVISM
A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt - PG - ****
The Difference Between You and Me by Madeleine George - PG/PG-13 - ****
How to Build a House by Dana Reinhardt - PG - ***
That Girl Lucy Moon by Amy Timberlake - G - ***

INTERNET SAFETY - and/or cyberbullying
Bad Apple by Laura Ruby - PG - ****
Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman - PG - ***
Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman - PG-13 - ***
The Julian Game by Adele Griffin - PG - ***
Saving Zoë by Alyson Noel - PG - ***
Dear Jo by Christina Kilbourne - PG - ***
Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner - PG - ***

SEEKING SHELTER - family shelters, homelessness, runaways
Hershey Herself by Cecelia Galante - G - ****
Glory quartet by Jodi Lynn - PG - ****
- Glory
- Shadow Tree
- Blue Girl
- Forget-Me-Not
Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess - PG-13 - ***
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr - PG - ***
Runaway by Wendelin Van Draanen - G - ***
Shelter by Beth Cooley - PG - ***
Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland - G - ***
Wonders of the World by Brian Yansky - PG-13 - **


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.
books

Poetry Friday: That New by Susan Rothbard

At the market today, I look for Piñata
apples, their soft-blush-yellow. My husband
brought them home last week, made me guess at
the name of this new strain, held one in his hand
like a gift and laughed as I tried all
the names I knew: Gala, Fuji, Honey
Crisp - watched his face for clues - what to call
something new? It's winter, only tawny
hues and frozen ground, but that apple bride
was sweet, and I want to bring it back to him,
that new. When he cut it, the star inside
held seeds of other stars, the way within
a life are all the lives you might live,
each unnamed, until you name it.

- That New by Susan Rothbard

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

wings, believe

Booklist: Sleuths and Spies

One of my regular teen customers requested a booklist of super sleuths and sassy spies. I could have listed many, many spy-tastic books, but I decided to create a shorter list which focused on my absolute favorites and those which I most highly recommend as well as some recent releases.

Super Sleuths: Classic Realistic Mystery Series - rated G - for ages 7 and up

Nancy Drew - The original series and spinoffs were written by various authors and are published under the collective pseudonym Carolyn Keene. I read the original series. I also liked The Nancy Drew Casefiles and The Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys crossovers. I have not read The Nancy Drew Notebooks, and I'm not a big fan of the graphic novels. I didn't see the first TV series, but I watched the second. I was entertained by the original movies starring Bonita Granville, and I really liked the movie starring Maggie Lawson as a college-aged Nancy. I have yet to see the feature film starring Emma Roberts. For more, please check out my please check out my article about Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys.

The Hardy Boys - The original series and spinoffs were written by various authors and are published under the collective pseudonym Franklin W. Dixon. I read the original book series as well as the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys crossovers. I watched the TV show in the 1990s. See above article link for more.

Encyclopedia Brown - Written by Donald J. Sobol. I read the books and, later, watched the short-lived TV show.

The Bobbsey Twins - This series was written by various authors under the collective pseudonym Laura Lee Hope.

The Boxcar Children - The first nineteen books were written by Gertrude Chandler Warner; the 100+ additional titles were written by various authors.

Cherry Ames - The first eight books were written by Helen Wells; Julie Tatham wrote the books after World War II.

Trixie Belden - The first six books were written by Julie Campbell Tatham, while the remaining 32 books were written by various ghostwriters under the name Kathryn Kenny

Meg - 6 books by Holly Beth Walker, a pseudonym for Gladys Baker Bond.

Gumshoe Series: Kid Detectives

Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat (and sometimes Mitchell Sharmat) and illustrations by Martha Weston
- For ages 5 and up. Easy to read, easy to follow. Great for kids making the transition from picture books to chapter books.

Chet Gecko by Bruce Hale
- For ages 7 and up. This fourth grade gecko wears a trenchcoat and a fedora. Most of his detective work takes place at his elementary school, which is populated by various species. The titles spoof those of classic mysteries. For example, The Postman Always Rings Twice becomes The Possum Always Rings Twice. This series is numbered but can be read out of order without causing any confusion.

The Baby-Sitters Club Mysteries by Ann M. Martin (and ghostwriters)
- For ages 8 and up. The baby-sitters solve crimes in their spare time. I love the BSC.

Judy Moody, Girl Detective by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter Reynolds
- For ages 7 and up. In the ninth volume in the Judy Moody series, spunky young Judy discovers Nancy Drew books and decides to follow in her new idol's footsteps. It's so nice to read a book about a character who loves to read!

Live and Let Spy

Spy Mice by Heather Vogel Frederick, illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
- For ages 7 and up. Two kids become friends with mice that are spies. They are also skateboarders and gymnasts! (The gymnast mice tumble and flip on human-sized keyboards in order to type messages.) Some evil rats try to thwart the mice, but with the help of their human friends and some friendly pigeons, the mice always save the day. NIMH fans will dig these books.

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
- For ages 8 and up. No spy list is complete without Harriet M. Welsh! To this day, I associate composition books with Harriet. Fitzhugh's next two books, The Long Secret and Sport, are also set in Harriet's world but aren't as spy-oriented. I have yet to read the Harriet books written by Helen Ericson.

Maggie Brooklyn mysteries by Leslie Margolis
- For ages 8 and up. Maggie: student by day, dog-walker (and mystery solver) after school. Very sweet, upbeat stories, and an ode to the city. These books would make a perfect family film, be it a feature or a Disney Channel Original Movie - and I'd be happy to adapt the screenplay (and cast it!) if Leslie needs someone to do so! :) The series so far:
-- A Girl's Best Friend
-- Vanishing Acts

The Gallagher Girls books by Ally Carter
- For ages 10 and up. Gallagher Academy is a private school for girls who are educated and trained to become spies. These stories are cute, clean, and funny. The series contains six books:
-- I'd Tell You I'd Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You
-- Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
-- Don't Judge a Girl By Her Cover
-- Only the Good Spy Young
-- Out of Sight, Out of Time
-- United We Spy
Read more about the books.

Also by Ally Carter: Follow a 15-year-old thief, Kat, as she leads her group in dangerous heists and cons all around the world in the Heist Society novels. For ages 12 and up. The series so far:
-- Heist Society
-- Uncommon Criminals
-- Perfect Scoundrels

Ally Carter also wrote a novella called Double Crossed which is a crossover between Gallagher Girls and Heist Society.

The Specialists series by Shannon Greenland
- For ages 12 and up. Teens with impressive smarts and strengths are recruited by a secret organization to work together and take down the bad guys. There are four books in the series:
-- Model Spy
-- Down to the Wire
-- The Winning Element
-- Native Tongue

The Squad by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
- For ages 12 and up. The last thing Toby Klein ever wanted to be was a cheerleader, but she suddenly finds herself as a squad recruit. She's just as shocked to see herself in the uniform as she is to discover the squad is actually a team of spies. These high school girls cheer their team one moment and help the government fight evil figures the next. If the cheerleaders from Bring It On were made into government agents, they would be Toby and her teammates. Fans of the original Charlie's Angels TV series who also like pop culture and high school spirit will like this series. There are two books in the series:
-- Perfect Cover
-- Killer Spirit

Fingerprints by Melinda Metz
- For ages 12 and up. This series blends intrigue, family secrets, and a supernatural power. Rae hears voices in her head. After a breakdown and hospitalization, she realizes that she has these voices are the thoughts of others, and that she hears them only when she touches an object that the original thinker (for lack of a better term) touched at an earlier time. This is a unique twist on psychic ability, incorporating the transfer of memories and the senses. There are seven books in the Fingerprints series. Read them in order:
-- #1 Gifted Touch
-- #2 Haunted
-- #3 Trust Me
-- #4 Secrets
-- #5 Betrayed
-- #6 Revelations
-- #7 Payback (the final book)
Read more about this series and other characters with psychic abilities.

Also Known As by Robin Benway
- For ages 12 and up. Maggie, the daughter of spies, has been a safecracker since she was a little kid. She loves living the life of a spy, working with her parents for a super-secret organization that rights wrongs and moving from location to location all over the world for different jobs. Now 16 years old, she finally gets a solo operation, and it's a doozy: attend school with kids her age (which she's never done) and pretend to be an average girl while befriending a guy whose father may be writing an article that will blow the organization's cover. Think of I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter crossed with a touch of True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet by Lola Douglas. If you like rom-coms, you'll like the AKA series. Read them in order:
-- #1 Also Known As
-- #2 Going Rogue
-- Additional titles to come

The Kiki Strike books by Kirsten Miller
- For ages 12 and up. The simply-titled Kiki Strike introduces The Irregulars, six teenage girls who discover an underground city in New York. Each girl has an unusual hobby or interesting interest, with one girl skilled in chemistry, another an inventor, another a master of disguise, and so on. Though they are led by the seemingly fearless Kiki, the novels are narrated by Ananka Fishbein, arguably the most regular of the Irregulars. Read them in order:
-- #1 Inside the Shadow City
-- #2 The Empress's Tomb
-- #3 The Darkness Dwellers

How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller
- For ages 14 and up. Unrelated to the Kiki Strike series but also located in New York, this novel shows readers what really happens at Mandel Academy. Formerly known as the Grand Street School, it's a cutthroat institution, filled with students who are learning how to be criminals.

Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce
Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce
- For teens. Called a "duology" and referred to as The Daughter of the Lioness series or the Tricksters series, these two novels take place in Pierce's land of Tortall, where knights, spies, and many others use magic to their benefit. Alianne (aka Aly) wants nothing more than to be a spy. She gets her wish, but not under the best of circumstances: while on a solo voyage, she is captured and enslaved, then contacted by a trickster god named Kyprioth and commanded to serve and protect a family with royal lineage. Pierce's loyal readers will enjoy seeing Aly, for she is the daughter of Alanna, the heroine of Pierce's first series.

Who Done It?: Meaningful Murder Mysteries

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Read this book if you haven't already. Read it again if you have read it before.
- For ages 8 and up. I had to put this title in a category of its own. I recommend it to adults as often as I recommend it to kids. If I had a nickel for every time I read this Newbery Award winning book, I would be rich. Not quite as rich as Samuel W. Westing, though. Sixteen people are gathered at the reading of Westing's will and split into eight pairs. The pair that solves the mystery will become heirs to the Westing fortune. This book is filled with intelligent twists and turns, and every single character is memorable. Turtle Wexler is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters. That girl rocks.

FBI Candidates: Tracking Down Serial Killers

Body of Evidence series by Christopher Golden
Read them. Read them now.
- For ages 12 and up. Jenna Blake is a pathology assistant who also happens to be a college student. The books detail autopsies, crime scenes, serial killers and detectives as well as Jenna's dorm life, her family life, and her studies. They are incredibly well-written and well-researched. If you watch(ed) CSI or Profiler, then you need to read these books right now. The first book, Body Bags, has one of my favorite opening lines: "Amanda Green died for a cigarette." Within a matter of pages, Amanda is a goner, having been at the wrong place at the wrong time. The first chapter introduces us to Jenna, beginning with the line: "It was a beautiful day to grow up." You'll see this quote at the Bildungsroman website as well as in the sidebar of this blog. There are ten paperback mysteries about Jenna. Reading them in order is highly recommended, so start with Body Bags. Read more about the series.

The Sleeper Conspiracy by Tom Sniegoski
- Ages 12 and up. Government conspiracies, assassins, action, adventure, and narcolepsy. What's not to love? Packed with action, The Sleeper Conspiracy is essentially one book split into two volumes: Book One: Sleeper Code and Book Two: Sleeper Agenda. Bad guys and spies await you! Read my review.

Acceleration by Graham McNamee
- Ages 12 and up. When a teenage boy finds the diary of a would-be stalker and murderer, he feels compelled to track the criminal down before another woman is harmed. This quest becomes personal because the protagonist was unable to save a drowing victim the summer before. A high-octane ending.

The Creek by Jennifer L. Holm
- Ages 10 and up. This is a psychological thriller as well as a coming-of-age story set in a sleepy suburban town. Read my review.

Don't Spook Until You Are Spooken To: Ghostly Tales

The Doll in the Garden by Mary Downing Hahn
- Ages 8 and up. Hahn has written many books wherein a human child befriends a ghost child. The Doll in the Garden includes two girls, a white cat, a beloved doll, and a time-travel hedge. This is the book that taught me all about consumption.

The Ghost Wore Gray by Bruce Coville
- Ages 8 and up. Nina Tanleven (Nine) and her best friend Chris encounter a Confederate soldier who helped slaves escape using the Underground Railroad. This is the second of the three mysteries with featuring Nine and Chris, and I felt it is the best of the three.

The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
- Ages 8 and up. The epitome of dollhouse mysteries. Good and creepy. Mwah ha ha.

Personal Notes

I have always felt as though I would make an excellent spy or undercover agent. I like solving problems. I like solving mysteries. I really like justice. I would be a detective or FBI agent if those careers didn't require the handling of firearms. So, instead, I will settle for playing those roles on TV or in films.

In elementary school, I co-founded The Clue Club with two of my school friends. Our classmates would come to us with tales of missing lunchpails and damaged schoolbooks. We would charge ten cents per case. We even had a flyer promoting our investigation services posted in the school library. Around that time, I read every classic mystery that my mom had at home as well as those I found at the public library.

Did I mention that I think Turtle Wexler rocks?

Related Booklist: Teen Mystery and Horror

books

Poetry Friday: Winter Love by Linda Gregg

I would like to decorate this silence,
but my house grows only cleaner
and more plain. The glass chimes I hung
over the register ring a little
when the heat goes on.
I waited too long to drink my tea.
It was not hot. It was only warm.

- Winter Love by Linda Gregg

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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Poetry Friday: Do Not Make Things Too Easy by Martha Baird

Do not make things too easy.
There are rocks and abysses in the mind
As well as meadows.
There are things knotty and hard: intractable.
Do not talk to me of love and understanding.
I am sick of blandishments.
I want the rock to be met by a rock.
If I am vile, and behave hideously,
Do not tell me it was just a misunderstanding.

- Do Not Make Things Too Easy by Martha Baird

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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Red Hands by Christopher Golden

A new Christopher Golden book is here, and I can't wait to get my hands on it! Here's the jacket flap summary for Red Hands:

In bestselling author Christopher Golden's supernatural thriller Red Hands, sometimes a story is a warning. Sometimes the warning comes too late.

When a mysterious and devastating bioweapon causes its victims to develop Red Hands, the touch of death, weird science expert Ben Walker is called to investigate.

A car plows through the crowd at a July 4th parade. The driver climbs out, sick and stumbling, reaching out...and everyone he touches drops dead within seconds. Maeve Sinclair watches in horror as people she loves begin to die and she knows she must take action. But in the aftermath of this terror, it’s Maeve Sinclair who possessed that killing touch. Fleeing into the mountains around Jericho Falls, New Hampshire, pursued by police, her own loved ones, and private security employed by the secretive Garland Mountain Laboratories, Maeve is struggling with her own grief, confusion, and the dawning realization that she will never be able to touch another human being again.

Sidelined by his employers for breaking the rules, "weird s*** expert" Ben Walker is surprised to get a call from Alena Boudreau, director of the newly restructured Global Science Research Coalition. There's an upheaval in the organization and she needs to send someone she can trust to Jericho Falls. Whoever finds Maeve Sinclair first will unravel the mystery of her death touch, and many are willing to kill her for that secret. Walker’s assignment is to get her off the mountain alive. But as Maeve searches for a safe hiding place, hunted and growing sicker by the moments, she begins to hear an insidious voice in her head, and the yearning, the need...the hunger to touch another human being continues to grow. When Walker and Maeve meet at last, they will unravel a stunning legacy of death and betrayal, and a malignant secret as old as history.

Red Hands is connected to two of Golden's previous novels, Ararat and The Pandora Room, but each book may be read separately. I recommend reading all three!

Learn more: https://www.christophergolden.com/

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