YA books dealing with teen struggles

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while: reading books that contain teen struggles. Are they any help when you’re going through any of the mentioned struggles or does is worsen your struggles? From experience, I’d say: both. I’ve read a book that made me feel all better and positive and I’ve read a book that dragged me right back to the bottom of the struggle. My question: how do you guys feel about that? And what books have you read?

I thought it would be useful to make a small list with books that contain teen struggles.

13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher
Contains: suicide, insecurity, guilt, depression
This book is about a girl who commits suicide and tapes her voice explaining the 13 reasons why she killed herself. She sends the tapes to the first person on that list: all the reasons are somehow connected to a person. The story follows a boy who’s at the list too. This book is haunting and it’s slaps you right in the face. You will never ever forget this book once you’ve read it.

The Spectacular Now – Tim Tharp
Contains: insecurity, parental problems, love, alcohol
This book is about a boy who is all popular but does have a small problem with alcohol. When his girlfriend breaks up with him, he doesn’t really know what to do. Then he meets Aimee, who’s all innocent and a social disaster. He makes her his new project and tries to save her. But who’s saving who? And is Sutter doing the right thing? He has the chance to change Aimee’s life in a positive way or ruin it forever.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story – Ned Vizinni
Contains: parental problems, suicide, self harm, insecurity, love, depression, anxiety
Craig has  a father who really wants him to go to summer school so he can look better on his admission application thingy. But Craig really can’t handle things anymore and wants to kill himself. To save himself, he checks in in a psychiatric ward in the hospital nearby. There, he finds out, he’s not the crazy person he thinks he is after all. He meets several disturbed people, including the scared but pretty Noel. During the journey of his recovery, he learns that there’s more than summer school and getting into college’s.

Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson
Contains: depression, eating disorders, friends, self harm, suicide
Lia and Cassie were best friends. But Cassie is killed by the demons that Lia is still struggling with. She’s a wintergirl, frozen in a matchstick body. Their game of being the skinniest girl around turned out to be quite dangerous, but at least Lia got away… well, not so much. She’s still in recovery when her relapses win her over and she starts counting calories again and looses her touch with reality. This story is dangerous, haunting and triggering (if you’re dealing with an eating disorder yourself, don’t read it). Unable to forget, I read it twice.

Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
Contains: depression, anxiety, rape, parental problems, friends, self harm
Melinda doesn’t speak. Not anymore. The events of last summer are hunting her and her life has become a hell since last time she really opened her mouth. Her only outlet is art. Her parents are oblivious about her problems and her friends… she doesn’t really have any. Will Melinda be able to speak up about what really happened during the party last summer?

Two Boys Kissing – David Levitan
Contains: friends, internet, sexuality, love
Two Boys Kissing is about two boys… locking lips. The title says it all. Harry and Craig are trying to break a record and kiss for 32 hours straight. They’re both seventeen and can’t wait to be set in the Guiness World Records Book. They become a focal point in the lives of other boys dealing with their kind of problems, but also have to try to figure out their own feelings towards each other.

Cut – Patricia McCormick
Contains: self harm, depression, anxiety
Callie cuts herself: never too deep to die, but deep enough to feel the pain. It’s even enough to feel the scream inside. She’s depressed and self harming is her only way to survive. Callie has to go into rehab, but she doesn’t to have to do anything with the other girls that are struggling with their own problems. Heck, she doesn’t want to talk, period. But she can’t stay silent forever…

Looking for Alaska – John Green
Contains: depression, death, love, sexuality, drugs, alcohol
Miles is a nobody and his life has been one big nonevent. He craves for the “Great Perhaps” and has an obsession with famous people’s last words. But then he heads of to Culver Creek Boarding School, where he meets Alaska Young. She’s gorgeous and clever, but also disturbed and self-destructive. She steals his heart, but also his innocent. In a world full of drugs, alcohol and teen hormones, they try to find a way into the “Great Perhaps” only Alaska has her own plans.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower  – Stephen Chbosky
love, anxiety, depression, guilt, drugs, family
Charlie is a freshman: not popular but also no geek. He’s kind of a wallflower and doesn’t really know what to do: run from his life or living it? He tries to navigate through dates, girls, school and family dramas. Will he live his life instead of watching it go by from the side lines, or will he give in to the demons that’s been hunting him for a while?

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
Contains: sickness, love, depression
Hazel Grace is sick: she has cancer. She thinks depression ain’t a side effect of cancer, but a side effect of dying. Until she bumps in to Augustus Waters, she doesn’t really do anything beside reading “And Imperal Infliction” by her favorite author. Hazel and Gus fall in the love the way you fall a sleep: slowly and then all at once. Unfortunately, the world is not a wish granting factory and our bodies won’t live forever.


I know I’ve missed some subjects and books, so please add more in a reply 🙂 You can also send me your recommendation in an email: info@dutchbookchick.com 


Geef een antwoord

Het e-mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd. Vereiste velden zijn gemarkeerd met *