Books about Tough Issues
Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher: When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing 13 cassette tapes recorded by his Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends the night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah's voice recounting the events leading up to her death.
Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell: Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits--smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky: A haunting coming of age novel told in a series of letters to an unknown correspondent reveals the life of Charlie, a freshman in high school who is a wallflower, shy and introspective, and very intelligent. It's a story of what it's like to grow up in high school, tracing a course into the world of first dates, family dramas and new friends.
Hold Still, by Nina Lacour: Ingrid didn't leave a note. Three months after her best friend's suicide, Caitlin finds what she left instead: a journal, hidden under Caitlin's bed.
Looking for Alaska, by John Green: Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash.
Somebody up There Hates You, by Hollis Seamon: Dying of cancer in a hospice, seventeen-year-old prankster Richard has big plans for his final day.
If You Find Me, by Emily Murdoch: Fifteen year-old Carey lives in a broken down camper hidden in woods and cares for her younger sister, Jenessa. Their mother comes and goes until she disappears and two strangers arrive taking the girls into a new world of high school, clothes and boys.
How to Save a Life, by Sara Zarr: Told from their own viewpoints, 17-year-old Jill, grieving her father, and Mandy, nearly 19, are thrown together when Jill's mother agrees to adopt Mandy's unborn child.
What Can(t) Wait, by Ashely Hope Perez : Marooned in a broken-down Houston neighborhood--and in a Mexican immigrant family where making ends meet matters much more than making it to college--smart, talented Marissa seeks comfort elsewhere when her home life becomes unbearable.
Everybody Sees the Ants, by A.S. King: Overburdened by his parents' bickering and a bully's attacks, 15-year-old Lucky Linderman dreams of being with his grandfather, who went missing in the Vietnam War. A visit to Arizona, his aunt and uncle and their beautiful neighbor, Ginny, help him find new perspective.
Lock and Key, by Sarah Dessen: When she is abandoned by her alcoholic mother, high school senior Ruby winds up living with Cora, the sister she has not seen for 10 years. She learns about Cora's new life, what makes a family, how to let people help her, and that she too has something to offer.
Stay With Me, by Paul Griffin: Mack is 15, a high school drop-out and a genius with dogs. At the restaurant he works in, he meets and falls in love with Céce. But when Mack lands in prison he pushes Céce away and only a 1-eared pit-bull can keep them together.