A Serious Look At Teen Books
by Jillian Bietz
Sure, we all love to read entertaining, silly, and lighthearted books, but what about books about trauma, tragedy, and downright depressing issues? Not only do they leave you with a feeling for wanting more answers, you will think about how lucky you are that your only problem today was that you forgot your lunch money.
And whether you need an interesting book to use for your book report or your just looking for a read that really makes you think, any one of these books will change the way you view life forever.
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
In this classic and heart-breaking account, “Alice” starts from a sweet girl into a drug-addict living on the streets. The story is compiled of diary entries written by an anonymous teenage girl. Alice was a normal teen; she felt awkward and lonely at times, but happy when she was around loved ones.
But when one of her friends spikes her drink with drugs at a party, Alice becomes hooked on the effervescent feelings; and suddenly all of her dilemmas disappear. Yet it all goes downhill from there. She gets into harder drugs, and seedy situations that almost end her life. The trials and tribulations of adolescence are shockingly revealed in this book.
Readers feel the pain when Alice runs away with a fellow addicted friend, and later tries to regain her former, drug-free life. The poignant ending is not easily forgotten. For twenty-five years, Go Ask Alice has been a staple on every teenager’s bookshelf. There is no doubt that reading this book has saved teens from making dangerous choices.
Cut by Patricia McCormick
Fifteen-year-old Callie is struggling with the sickness of her younger brother, and feels that she is responsible for his illness. Yet she neglects to tell others that she is silently struggling with problems of her own.
Now a resident of Sea Pines (or “Sick Minds” as the residents call it), a psychiatric hospital designed for troubled teen girls, Callie still does not speak up about her problems, or speak at all for that matter. Told through the pain of Callie’s mind, readers will have an insight to the melancholy feelings Callie experiences, and why she stays isolated.
Confusion arises when a new girl arrives at Sea Pines, and Callie can’t keep her secret any longer. This disturbing, yet touching novel exposes lesser-known teenage issues, and offers readers an insight into the difficulties that some teens face.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Ninth grader Melinda knows that her school year is going to be tough and lonely. A tragic event that happened at the end of the hottest summer party has left her burdened with a depressing secret that nobody would believe.
Melinda freezes every time she tries talk about it, and tries to ignore the fact that she lost all of her friends, the student body is turned against her, and her schoolwork is suffering. Melinda is all alone and has nobody to talk to except her new friend Heather, who later decides to ditch Melinda for a “cooler” crowd.
When she finally gets the courage to tell her former best friend the truth, everything backfires. Melinda feels desperate. Only with the help of a caring art teacher, does Melinda finally begin to heal.
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