Please Don’t Hurt Me (Stories of Abuse)
YA FIC ADI Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi Purple Hibiscus
From the outside, fifteen-year-old Kambili has the perfect life. She lives in a beautiful house, has
a caring family, and attends an exclusive missionary school. She's completely shielded from the
troubles of the world. Yet, as Kambili reveals in her tender-voiced account, things are less than
perfect in her wealthy Nigerian home. Although her papa is generous and well respected, he is
fanatically religious and tyrannical at home. He looms over his family's every move, severely
punishes Kambili and her older brother, Jaja, if they're not the best in their classes, and hits their
mama if she disagrees with him. Home is silent and suffocating. But everything changes once
Kambili and Jaja visit Aunty Ifeoma outside the city. For the first time they experience freedom
from their papa. Jaja learns to garden and work with his hands, and Kambili secretly falls in love
with a young, charismatic priest. As the country begins to fall apart under a military coup, tension
within the family escalates. And shy Kambili must find the strength to keep her family together
after her mother commits a desperate act.
YA FIC ADO Adoff, Jaime The Death of Jayson Porter
Sixteen-year-old Jayson Porter wants to believe things will get better. But the harsh realities of his
life never seem to change. Living in the inland-Florida projects with his abusive mother, he tries
unsuccessfully to fit in at his predominately white school, while struggling to maintain even a
thread of a relationship with his drug-addicted father. As the pressure mounts, there¹s only one
thing Jayson feels he has control over -- the choice of whether to live or die.
YA FIC ALM Almond, David The Savage
Blue Baker is writing a story — not all that stuff about wizards and fairies and happily ever after —
a real story, about blood and guts and adventures, because that's what life's really like. At least it
is for Blue, since his dad died and Hopper, the town bully, started knocking him and the other kids
around. But Blue's story has a life of its own — weird and wild and magic and dark — and when
the savage pays a nighttime visit to Hopper, Blue starts to wonder where he ends and his
YA MYS ALP Alphin, Elaine Marie Counterfeit Son
When serial killer Hank Miller is killed in a shoot-out with police, his abused son Cameron adopts
the identity of one of his father's victims in order to find a better life.
YA FIC AMA Amateau, Gigi Claiming Georgia Tate
Twelve-year-old Georgia Tate wishes she could stay home forever with her no-nonsense nana,
her preacher granddaddy, and her sassy friend Ginger, celebrating church revivals and the
Fourth of July with icy cold watermelon and all the deep-fried fish she can eat. She wishes her
deadbeat daddy had never reappeared on the scene, and that Ginger hadn't blurted out the awful
truth about Mama. But most of all, when Georgia Tate loses her nana to a sudden heart attack,
she desperately wishes she could find a way to tell Granddaddy why she can't possibly leave
Mississippi to move in with Daddy — about the things he does that make her feel so ashamed her
mind takes her off to a faraway, made-up place.
YA FIC AND Anderson, Laurie Twisted
High school senior Tyler Miller used to be the kind of guy who faded into the background-average
student, average looks, average dysfunctional family. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on
the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you
wouldn't believe. His new physique attracts the attention of queen bee Bethany Milbury, who just
so happens to be his father's boss's daughter, the sister of his biggest enemy-and Tyler's secret
crush. And that sets off a string of events and changes that have Tyler questioning his place in
the school, in his family, and in the world.
YA FIC AVA Avasthi, Swati Split
Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian
with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father's fist), $3.84, and a secret. He tries to move on,
going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can't make him forget
what he left behind--his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is
keeping his secret. At least so far. Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move
forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back.
YA FIC BRA Braff, Joshua The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob
Pity Jacob Green: He worships his rebellious artist older brother, Asher. He lusts in his heart (and
loins) for his shiksa goddess nanny, Megan. And he stews in a volatile marinade of fear,
adoration, and resentment of his alternately loving and tyrannical father, Abram, whose constant
demands for perfection in all matters-from personal appearance to the crafting of thank-you notes
for Bar Mitzvah presents-cause his family to implode. Each episode of Jacob's mortifyingly funny
struggles to find the correct responses to Abram's commands, while following his own internal
compass, explodes with hilarity even as it brings a lump to the throat.
YA FIC BRO Brooks, Kevin Dawn
Fifteen-year old Dawn Bundy wants to kill God. Her home life makes the reasons for her
disillusionment clear. Two years ago, her drug-dealer and ex-con father abruptly abandoned the
family after falling under the twin sway of religious fanaticism and substance abuse, and Dawn
now serves as caregiver for her mother, who has turned to alcohol and prescription pills to cope
with her pain. Dawn seems to have mostly numbed herself to the trauma of her father's
disappearance and the events that led up to it, spending her time walking her dogs, Jesus and
Mary, and obsessively listening to the band The Jesus and Mary Chain. And somehow Dawn and
her mother have held on financially, living on cash left behind by her father. When two tough,
popular girls unexpectedly befriend her, she finds herself unavoidably swept up in their efforts to
make her over into a "cool girl" like them. She knows they're using her somehow, but she has no
idea how sinister their motives really are.
YA FIC BRU Bruchac, Joseph Hidden Roots
As hard as 11-year-old sonny and his Mother try, they can't predict his Father's sudden rages,
which can turn physical in an instant. Jake's anger only gets worse after long days laboring at the
local paper mill, and when Uncle Louis Appears. Louis seems to show up when Sonny and his
Mother need help most, but there is something about him and his quiet, wise ways that only fuels
Jake's rage. The love of Sonny's fragile Mother, the support and protection of his Uncle Louis,
and an unexpected friendship with a librarian help Sonny gain the confidence to stand up to his
YA FIC BUS Bustin, Pam Mostly Happy
Bean E. Fallwell has been collecting important keepsakes like rocks, marbles, and feathers in her
red Samsonite suitcase since she was three. Each keepsake has a story, such as the hospital
bracelet her father received after he stabbed himself in the stomach while Bean watched, making
Bean's mementos seem more like rites of passage than childhood nostalgia. Bean continues her
collection as her mother Prissy moves them from town to town in search of a new job or a new
man, such as abusive Jack. Prissy marries Jack and has a baby with him. After a childhood of
sexual abuse, the added pressure of protecting her baby sister from Jack threatens Bean's
already fragile self-control. Bean narrates her heart-wrenching story through the thirty-plus
mementos that become symbolic tokens of a girl forced to grow up too fast while teetering on the
edge of self-destruction.
YA FIC CAL Caletti, Deb Wild Roses
Seventeen-year-old amateur astronomer Cassie Morgan wants a "normal" life, but that possibility
flew out the window three years earlier when her musician mother, divorced five days, married
famous violinist Dino Cavalli. Living with arrogant Dino is like walking on eggshells, and the
usually competent, clearheaded teen believes he has the unique ability to make her feel
"incapable to the point of needing to be institutionalized." Any little thing sets him off, and the
problem only gets worse when he stops taking his depression medication while he prepares for
his huge comeback concert. When Ian Waters, a promising-and poverty-stricken-young violinist,
shows up for lessons with the maestro, Cassie falls in love at first sight despite her belief that
passion only brings about pain. Dino demands that the two stay away from one another to avoid
compromising the young man's focus, but that is impossible. And as Dino's concert and Ian's
scholarship audition draw closer, even Cassie's loving mother can't protect her from Cavalli's
escalating bizarre and paranoid behavior.
YA FIC CAL Caletti, Deb Stay
Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever
experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too
late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is--and what he’s willing to do to make her
stay.Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where
she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that
easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....
YA FIC CAR Cart, Michael My Father’s Scar
Andy Logan grows from the lonely son of an abusive alcoholic father to a strong and independent
man who can enter into a relationship with another man.
YA FIC CHA Chaltas, Thalia Because I Am Furniture
Anke's father is abusive. But not to her. He attacks her brother and sister, but she's just an
invisible witness in a house of horrors, on the brink of disappearing altogether. Until she makes
the volleyball team at school. At first just being exhausted after practice feels good, but as Anke
becomes part of the team, her confidence builds. When she learns to yell "Mine!" to call a ball,
she finds a voice she didn't know existed. For the first time, Anke is seen and heard. Soon, she's
imagining a day that her voice will be loud enough to rescue everyone at home—including
YA FIC CHA Chayil, Eishes Hush
Inside the closed community of Borough Park, where most Chassidim live, the rules of life are
very clear, determined by an ancient script written thousands of years before down to the last
detail—and abuse has never been a part of it. But when thirteen-year-old Gittel learns of the
abuse her best friend has suffered at the hands of her own family member, the adults in her
community try to persuade Gittel, and themselves, that nothing happened. Forced to remain
silent, Gittel begins to question everything she was raised to believe.
YA FIC COH Cohen, Joshua Leverage
The football field is a battlefield
There's an extraordinary price for victory at Oregrove High. It is paid on–and off–the football field.
And it claims its victims without mercy–including the most innocent bystanders.
When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an
unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising
gymnast might hold the key to a school’s salvation. Told in alternating voices and with
unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism
of two young athletes.
YA FIC CON Connor, Leslie Waiting for Normal
Addie is waiting for normal. But Addie's mom has an all-or-nothing approach to life: a food fiesta
or an empty pantry, jubilation or gloom, her way or no way. All or nothing never adds up to
normal. All or nothing can't bring you all home, which is exactly where Addie longs to be, with her
half sisters, every day. In spite of life's twists and turns, Addie remains optimistic. Someday,
maybe, she'll find normal.
YA FIC CRU Crutcher, Chris Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
An obese boy and a disfigured girl suffer the emotional scars of years of mockery at the hands of
their peers. They share a hard-boiled view of the world until events in their senior year hurl them
in very different directions. A story about a friendship with staying power, written with pathos and
YA FIC CUM Cumbie, Patricia Where People Like Us Live
I want to shake Rita. She thinks all the screwed-up things in the world are happening somewhere
else. But bad things are happening right here. It's a routine Libby's used to by now: pack up,
move, start over, repeat. This time it's to Rubberville–population: faces, names, a few factories,
and Angie, a girl who nearly-but-not-quite gets Libby killed the first day they meet. Angie is
everything Libby wishes she were: outspoken, fearless, and happy to risk it all to have a little fun.
But one day Libby learns that behind Angie's attitude is a frightening secret. Libby faces an
impossible choice: Does she protect her friendship or her friend?
YA FIC DEE Deem, James 3 NBs of Julian Drew
Trapped in a nightmarish existence of indifference and abuse, 15-year-old Julian carries on a
correspondence with his deceased mother.
YA FIC DES Dessen, Sarah Dreamland
After her older sister runs away, sixteen-year-old Caitlin decides that she needs to make a major
change in her own life and begins an abusive relationship with a boy who is mysterious, brilliant,
YA FIC DES Dessen, Sarah Lock and Key
"Ruby, where is your mother?"
Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow
house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.
That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's
husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded
the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new
wardrobe, the promise of college and a future-it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a
reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some
secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?
YA FIC DOM Dominque, Paul Possibility of Fireflies
Ellie Roma's father left them a year ago. Her verbally and physically abusive, alcoholic mother
stays out every night, many times locking Ellie out of the house. Her rebellious older sister, Gwen,
yells back at her mother and takes her beatings stoically. She hangs out with friends, smoking
and drinking. Ellie is the "good" child, trying to preserve a nonexistent family. The mother
convinces her children that their father hates them as much as she does. Ellie's outlet is
fantasizing about her friend Celia's perfect family or unattainable love, such as with Elvis Presley
or her teacher. When a cute older guy-aged twenty to Ellie's fourteen-moves in across the street,
she imagines that they are in love. Ellie's need for attention occasionally outwardly manifests
itself. In one instance, she shoplifts cosmetics. But mostly, she is the submissive child, until the
denouement when Gwen runs away and Ellie realizes that she must leave too. But where will she
YA FIC DRA Draper, Sharon Forged by Fire
Gerald has worked his whole life to survive in spite of a mother who is drug addicted, and now he
must protect his half-sister from an abusive stepfather.
YA FIC FEH Fehlbaum, Beth Hope in Patience
Fifteen-year-old Ashley Asher has spent half of her life living in fear. Her stepfather sexually
abused her for years, but her mother didn’t believe her. After Child Protective Services finally
removes Ashley from their home, she goes to live with the father she barely remembers. Her new
life in Patience, Texas, is much better. She’s in therapy to deal with Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder; she’s getting used to living with her father, stepmother, and stepbrother; and she’s
made some friends at her new high school. But Ashley is so traumatized by her past that she
sometimes scratches herself until she bleeds. When her stepfather is finally put on trial for hurting
her, she learns that truth and justice don’t always go together. Will Ashley adjust to a better life?
YA FIC FEL Felin, M. Sindy Touching Snow
The best way to avoid being picked on by high school bullies is to kill someone."
Karina has plenty to worry about on the last day of seventh grade: finding three Ds and a C on
her report card again, getting laughed at by everyone again, being sent to the principal -- again.
She'd like this to change, but with her and her sisters dodging their stepfather's fists every day
after school, she doesn't have time to do much self-reflecting. Finally her stepfather is taken away
on child abuse charges, and Karina thinks things might turn into something resembling normal.
The problem is, he's not gone for good. And as Karina becomes closer with a girl at the
community center where her stepfather is not showing up for his parenting classes, she starts to
realize a couple things. First, for all the problems her family had tried to escape by immigrating
from Haiti, they brought most of them along to upstate New York. And second, if anything is going
to change for this family, it is going to be up to Karina and her sisters to make it happen.
YA FIC FLA Flake, Sharon Bang!
Mann is only thirteen, yet he has already had to deal with more than most go through in a lifetime.
His family is still reeling from the tragic shooting death of his little brother, Jason, each person
coping with grief in his or her own way. Mann's mother has stopped eating and is obsessed with
preserving Jason's memory, while his father is certain that presenting a hard edge is the only way
to keep his remaining son from becoming a statistic. Mann used to paint and ride horseback, but
now he's doing everything he can to escape his emotions: getting involved in fights at school,
joyriding at midnight, and much worse. His father, at his wit's end, does the only thing he thinks
will teach his son how to be a man he abandons him and his friend Kee Lee in the woods, leaving
them to navigate their way home, alone.
YA FIC FLI Flinn, Alex Breathing Underwater
Sent to counseling for hitting his girlfriend, Caitlin, and ordered to keep a journal, sixteen-year-old
Nick recounts his relationship with Caitlin, examines his controlling behavior and anger, and
describes living with his abusive father.
YA MYS FLI Flinn, Alex Nothing to Lose
Michael Daye has been living under an assumed name and traveling with a carnival for the past
year, but he returns with the carnival to Miami just as his mother is about to stand trial for
murdering her abusive older husband, supposedly right after Michael left. Sickened at media
depictions of his mother as a scheming, ruthless golddigger, Michael decides to help her, but
when he asks a lawyer to prepare him to testify, he slowly reveals pieces of a chilling secret.
YA FIC FOR Forman, Gayle Sisters in Sanity
For sixteen-year-old Brit Hemphill, the out-of-control dream comes true when her dad enrolls her
at Red Rock, a bogus treatment center that claims to cure rebellious teen girls. At Red Rock, Brit
is forced into therapy, and her only hope of getting her life back is in the hands of an
underqualified staff of counselors. Brit's dad thinks Red Rock can save her, but the truth is it's
doing more harm than good.
YA FIC FRE Freitas, Donna This Gorgeous Game
Olivia Peters is over the moon when her literary idol, the celebrated novelist and much adored
local priest Mark D. Brendan, offers to become her personal writing mentor. But when Father
Mark’s enthusiasm for Olivia’s prose develops into something more, Olivia’s emotions quickly
shift from wonder to confusion to despair. Exactly what game is Father Mark playing, and how on
earth can she get out of it?
YA FIC FRI Friedman, Carl Nightfather
Her father "has camp," but the young narrator does not know how or why he has it. Everything
this loving family does leads to a concentration camp story told by Ephraim, the father. Because
the horrifying details are so much a part of the children's lives, the narrator buries her toys so the
SS won't find them, brother Max tries to freeze his feet, and Simon hides toothpaste used to
prevent thirst. The children struggle to understand their father, wish he'd play soccer instead of
talking about camp, and worry when he is in a tuberculosis sanitarium. By the end of this short
novel, details about the death march completely replace accounts of family events.
YA FIC FRI Fritz, April Young Praying at the Sweetwater Motel
When Sarah Jane's alcoholic father hits her, her long-abused mother has finally had enough; she
takes the 12-year-old and her 4-year-old sister and runs off. After a road trip filled with fear,
hunger, and frustration, they find a haven at a motel in Dublin, OH, where the elderly owner, Mrs.
Sweetwater, makes an offer of housing in exchange for chores. Before long, the girl is faced with
the problem of starting a new school and trying to hide the fact that she lives in a motel. She also
wishes that her parents would get back together-after all, her father can change, can't he? Sarah
Jane is a sympathetic child with a refreshing honesty. At one point she thinks, "At least with two
parents you have a spare in case something happens to one of them." Her mix of exasperation
with and protectiveness toward her little sister adds to the tone of authenticity. Each chapter is
prefaced by a short prayer that reveals Sarah Jane's thoughts about what she thinks will make
YA FIC GAR Garse, Jeannine Before, After, and Somebody In Between.
It is the eleventh place they have lived in six years, when Martha and Momma move in with
Wayne, the new boyfriend Momma discovered in rehab. A sophomore at fourteen due to her
intelligence, Martha has only attended rural schools and, in spite of her mother's history of
chemical dependence and depression, Martha's first day at Jefferson High proves she is
completely unprepared for the hostility, violence, and gritty reality of life for a white girl in
Cleveland's impoverished inner city. Threatened constantly at school and at home, Martha has no
respite until a calamitous series of events culminates in a wealthy lawyer's family taking her in.
While she no longer has to fear physical abuse, hunger, or gang-related violence, Martha
encounters a different set of problems as she masquerades as Gina, a persona she creates to
keep the ugly truth of her past from her new-found upper class friends. Throughout her harrowing
struggles, Martha/Gina turns to music and her desire to play the cello for solace.
YA FIC GOO Goobie, Beth Something Girl
Sophie, 15, comes from an abusive family. Her mother is a depressive alcoholic. Her father
appears to be an upstanding member of the community, but in reality he is a savagely violent
man. Without any provocation, he has beaten Sophie many times. She has no real friends, her
boyfriend has just dumped her, and she is on probation for petty theft. Her only ally is 12-year-old
JuJube, her former babysitting charge. After a particularly brutal attack, Sophie is hospitalized
and it is JuJube who forces her to tell the truth.
YA FIC GRA Grant, Cynthia Uncle Vampire
Carolyn, 16, lives a true-life horror story. Her descriptive term ``vampire'' for Uncle Toddy is a
metaphor. Like all vampires, he makes nocturnal visits, but his lust is not for blood. The novel is
her journal of vented anger and distress, with hallucinatory descriptions of people and bad
dreams thrown in for good measure. Carolyn shares the pain and horror of incest with Honey, her
twin sister and fellow victim. Amazingly, both girls lead successful academic and social lives.
When their parents plan a two-week trip, leaving them in the care of Uncle Toddy, nonverbal cries
for help escalate. No one reacts or notices. Their parents don't want to see. The mother,
emotionally unstable, and the father, struggling to ``keep up with the Joneses,'' only want to hear
good news. Carolyn's older brother knows what is happening but is powerless to help. Relief
comes with a holiday visit to an older sister away at college and a meeting with a guidance
counselor. In a shocking conference with the counselor, Honey is revealed as imaginary, an alter-
ego created as a coping mechanism. With the secret out, Carolyn races toward recovery.
YA FIC GRA Grant, Vicki Dead End Job
Frances is hoping to save some money for art school. To do this she works the late shift at a
convenience store on the edge of town. There, she meets loner/artist/new guy Devin.
Unfortunately, he is severely disturbed and begins an imaginary romance with her that threatens
her relationship with her boyfriend, her job, and her personal safety.
YA FIC GRE Greenburg, Dan Claws
When Cody is 14, he runs away from home, leaving behind his abusive mother, and flees across
the country. He doesn't stop until he hits Texas and the Sam Houston Tiger Ranch. Under the
guidance of Sunny, the ranch's owner, he cares for the animals in ways he never imagined. He
feeds them a diet of raw, bloody meat. He cleans out their cages. He takes them for exercise. He
finds out how to get a tiger to back down, and when he should back down himself. But there is
another lesson Cody has to learn--sometimes people are harder to handle than tigers.
YA FIC GUO Guo, Xiaolu Village of Stone
Coral and her frisbee-obsessed boyfriend, Red, live in a cramped tower block in the megalopolis
that is modern-day Beijing. The epitome of disaffected youth, their already fragile existence is
shattered by the arrival of a mysterious fishy package. As the smells of the sea wash over her,
Coral is transported back to a traumatic childhood dominated by solitude, fear and shame. Coral
was raised by silent grandparents among the stern and superstitious fishermen of the remote
village of Stone. Shunned from birth as a bringer of ill fortune, and exposed to the malevolent
forces of a closed-off society, she immersed herself in the minutiae of the landscape around her.
At fifteen, she escaped to the big city and shut the door on the darkness of her past. As the
narrative darts between the forbidding sprawl of Beijing and the rhythms of a tiny coastal village,
our narrator struggles to navigate a path through painful and hidden memories of a time spent
helpless, cold and alone. But when a sick old man appears on Coral's doorstep, the past and
present shockingly converge, and she is forced to confront the secrets of her history in order to
realize her dreams for the future.
YA FIC HAD Haddix, Margaret Peterson Don’t You Dare Read This
In the journal she is keeping for English class, sixteen-year-old Tish chronicles the changes in her
life when her abusive father returns home after a two-year absence.
YA FIC HAR Harmon, Michael Last Exit to Normal
It’s true: After 17-year-old Ben’s father announces he’s gay and the family splits apart, Ben does
everything he can to tick him off: skip school, smoke pot, skateboard nonstop, get arrested. But
he never thinks he’ll end up yanked out of his city life and plunked down into a small Montana
town with his dad and Edward, The Boyfriend. As if it’s not painful enough living in a hick town
with spiked hair, a skateboard habit, and two dads, he soon realizes something’s not quite right
with Billy, the boy next door. He’s hiding a secret about his family, and Ben is determined to
uncover it and set things right.
YA FIC HAR Hartry, Nancy Watching Jimmy
With shocking candor, young Carolyn relates the truth about what really happened to her best
friend, Jimmy, when his Uncle Ted chose the perfect time to teach him a lesson he'd never forget.
The truth is, Jimmy didn't fall from a swing like Uncle Ted claims — Carolyn knows, because she
saw everything. According to her, "Uncle Ted just didn't count on me, Carolyn, [being] perched in
a tree where the park and the parking lot meet." With the dreadful secret locked away, Carolyn
walks an emotional tightrope. No matter what else is happening in this post-war era, she must
keep an eye on poor, brain-damaged Jimmy: making sure he behaves, keeping him clean, and
keeping him safe — especially from Uncle Ted. But when Uncle Ted threatens his beleaguered
family with even more abuse and the loss of their home, Carolyn must find the courage to match
wits with him and to speak out, using the truth as her only weapon. But perhaps her biggest
challenge will lie in finding a way to get Jimmy the expensive operation he needs to relieve the
pressure on his brain, because: "As I told you, our Jimmy is not a mental defective like people
say. Our Jimmy is in there. He's in there. This I know."
YA FIC HAR Harvey, Sarah N Bull’s Eye
Imagine you wake up one morning to find out that the person you've been calling your mom,
really isn't your mom. Instead, she's your aunt, and your real mom is dead. In the book BULL'S
EYE, that is exactly what happens, and it sends Emily on a journey to find out who her real dad
is, and find out who her mom was. To keep her from being in the court system for drawing graffiti,
the school gave her a buddy to talk to. Her name is April. Emily could tell there was something
wrong with April, but she wasn't sure what. She soon learns that April's dad abuses her, but can't
find a way to tell anyone. Will she eventually find the courage to speak out about this?
YA SF HAU Hautman, Pete Mr. Was
When Jack’s alcoholic father commits an act too horrible to face, Jack escapes into the past
through a secret door. From the past, Jack hopes the future can be changed. But maybe Jack’s
past is scarier than his future.
YA FIC HEA Headley, Justina Chen North of Beautiful
It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper. She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn
of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her
stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-
course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path,
the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and
her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will
Terra be able to find her true path?
YA FIC HER Hernandez, David Sucker Punch
It's the summer before senior year, and Marcus should be hanging out, filling his sketchbook,
maybe asking a girl out for once. So why is he in a car with his brother, his brother's girl, and the
pistol, headed straight toward his dad?
YA FIC HOB Hobbs, Valerie Letting Go of Bobby James, or, How I
Found My Self of Steam
When 16-year-old Jody's volatile young husband, Bobby James, "pops her" one across the face
with the back of his hand, Jody knows that she can't stay with him any longer—even if she's all
alone in coastal Florida, a thousand miles from her Texas home, with only twenty dollars to her
name. Instead, Jody is going to have to build a new life for herself, as recounted in her candid
first-person narrative, confided as a long, chatty letter to food-market-magnate Harris Teeter,
ostensibly to explain to him why he needs to change his coleslaw recipe. While the novel
presents itself as tracing Jody's journey toward finding her "self of steam," Jody has steam
aplenty bubbling over from page one. When she tells us, early on in the story, that "there were
just three choices to make. Left, right, or straight ahead," the reader knows that Jody doesn't
even consider a fourth choice: turning back. As Jody finds herself a job (washing dishes at
Thelma's Open 24-Hour Cafe), a place to sleep (in the empty Cinemax theater), and new friends
(pregnant teen Effaline and mentally "slow" Dooley), she also forms for herself a new, unlikely but
wonderfully likeable, family.
YA FIC HOP Hopkins, Ellen Burned
In cutting free-verse, 16-year-old Pattyn offers first-person narration of religious oppression and
physical violence. Her Mormon church dictates that women grow up powerless. An entrancing
sexual dream and a non-Mormon boyfriend make Pattyn feel giddy but guilty. Will she burn in
hell? Exiled (for punishment) to a desert ranch, Pattyn blossoms under the respectful care of Aunt
J and finds storybook love with neighbor Ethan. But at summer's end, she returns home to a
situation even worse than before. Alcoholic Dad now beats the children (rather than just Mom);
Pattyn, badly whipped, tries to hang on until she can leave home.
YA FIC HOP Hopkins, Ellen Identical
Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge
father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family—on the surface. Behind the facade
each sister has her own dark secret, and that's where their differences begin. For Kaeleigh, she's
the misplaced focus of Daddy's love, intended for a mother whose presence on the campaign trail
means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is Daddy playing a game of favorites—and she
is losing. If she has to lose, she will do it on her own terms, so she chooses drugs, alcohol, and
sex. Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to be kept—from each other or
anyone else. Pretty soon it's obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must
step up to save the other, but the question is—who?
YA FIC HUR Hurwin, Davida Wills Circle the Soul Softly
Katie O'Connor needs a change. After her father dies, she begins having unexplainable
nightmares and blackouts. Suddenly she is unable to keep up on her social life and she
withdraws from her mom and older brother. Katie gets just the chance that she desires when her
widowed mother becomes engaged to a wealthy accountant and the family relocates to upscale
Brentwood, California. Determined to reinvent herself, Katie enrolls in an elite prep school.
Always shy and awkward, Katie finally finds life going her way: a lead in the school play, friends
to hang out with, and a cute boyfriend. Then without warning her nightmares return and she is
once again haunted by "the monster." Katie must discover the secret her mind is harboring before
everything about her new life is ruined.
YA FIC HYD Hyde, Catherine Ryan Diary of a Witness
Ernie and Will stick together to minimize or deflect the regular bullying aimed at them by a cruel
group of five jocks. Ernie's mom and his Uncle Max provide a caring support system, but the boy
is overweight. Will is lanky with bad skin and a mother who left him and his younger brother, Sam,
with an alcoholic father. The friends enjoy fishing together until the day Sam drowns when their
boat capsizes. Will's feelings of guilt about his brother's death and sadness about parental
neglect cause him to attempt suicide. Luckily, perceptive Ernie recognizes his friend's signals and
intervenes in the nick of time. Despite these circumstances, the bullies continue their harassment,
until Will has had enough and plans to get even with a gun. Ernie and Will are sympathetically
drawn characters who just want peace, one another's friendship, and the little joy that comes their
YA FIC JAC Jacobson, Jennifer Richard Stained
In Weaver Falls, New Hampshire, in 1975, seventeen-year-old Jocelyn looks for answers when
her lifelong neighbor and friend, Gabe, turns up missing and she learns that, while her boyfriend
has been telling everything to a priest, Gabe has been keeping terrible secrets.
YA FIC JAM James, Brian Dirty Liar
Benji has to escape his home. His mother's boyfriend has crossed the line, and Benji can't deal
with it anymore. So he leaves behind everything he knows to go live with his father and
stepmother in Portland. His stepmother is nice, but he doesn't trust her. His father is testy,
refusing to trust Benji. And Benji ... he's just trying not to self-destruct.
YA FIC JAM James, Brian Perfect World
Lacie's best friend Jenna wants to grow up fast. She wants to be cool and be known and be with
a boy all the way. Even though Lacie isn't so sure, she follows Jenna anyway. She tries to block
out her sadness. Her questions. Her fears. At first it isn't that bad. She even meets a boy whose
problems are compatible with hers. But then Jenna's friendship turns fierce . . . and the perfect
world comes tumbling down.
YA FIC JOH Johnson, Kathleen Jeffrie Gone
It is the summer after high school, and Connor's life is now his to live. But what is it that he wants
from his life? The future may be unclear, but one thing-or person-Connor cannot stop thinking
about is Ms. Timms, his history teacher. "What had he thought about before he thought about
her?" The child of alcoholic parents, one of whom now lives in a nursing home after an accident
left him brain damaged, Connor has always felt that he was invisible. Ms. Timms "sees" him, and
Connor is drawn in. A summer encounter leads to an unusual invitation, which leads to an affair.
Connor's history has left him damaged, an easy target for a woman with her own dark history.
This is a story of a damaged boy who is finding himself and his family.
YA FIC JON Jones, Patrick Chasing Tail Lights
Before he died, Christy's daddy used to say that when you feel lost, follow the tail lights of the
truck in front of you, and they'll get you somewhere safe. Christy keeps chasing those tail lights,
but somehow, she's always still lost in Flint, Michigan. Like most teens in Flint, she's dying to
leave this dying city. But she's got a secret that she's never told anyone, and it's keeping her
chained like a dog to her dead-end life. And she'll never be able to make a fresh start until she's
able to reveal that horrible truth and bring herself back into the light.
YA FIC KLA Klass, David You Don't Know Me
Fourteen-year-old John creates alternative realities in his mind as he tries to deal with his
mother's abusive boyfriend, his crush on a beautiful, but shallow classmate and other problems at
YA FIC KWA Kwasney, Michelle Blue Plate Special
Doomed loves, failed families, nixed dreams—someone else's leftovers are heaped on our plates
the day we come into this world.
Big Macs and pop tunes mask the emptiness as Madeline watches her mom drink away their
welfare checks. Until the day Tad, a quirky McDonald's counter boy, asks Madeline out for a date,
and she gets her first taste of normal. But with a life that’s anything but, how long can normal
Hanging with Jeremy, avoiding Mam, sticking Do Not Disturb Post-its on her heart, Desiree's
mission is simple: party hard, graduate (well, maybe), get out of town. But after Desiree accepts
half a meatball grinder, a cold drink, and a ride from her mother's boyfriend one rainy afternoon,
nothing is ever simple again.
Too many AP classes. Workaholic mom. Dad in prison. Still, Ariel's sultry new boyfriend, Shane,
manages to make even the worst days delicious. But when an unexpected phone call forces a trip
to visit a sick grandmother she's never met, revealing her family's dark past, Ariel struggles to find
the courage to make the right choice for her own future.
As three girls from three different decades lives converge, they discover they are connected ways
they could never imagine. Each of them finds strength that brings her closer to healing a painful
past, and faith that there is a happier future.
YA FIC KWA Kwasney, Michelle Baby Blue
Blue's family is coming apart at the seams. After Pa drowned in the river, Mama up and married
Jinx, whom Blue and Star know is big trouble. And now Star has run away, leaving Blue behind. It
was hard enough to watch Mama get knocked around when Jinx was in one of his "moods," but
now, with Star gone, Jinx has spun out of control. It's up to Blue to find Star and get help for
Mama, to piece the family back together again. But Blue is running out of time.
YA FIC KOE Koertge, Ron Margaux With an X
Margaux, a devastatingly pretty, tightly wound teenage girl who was fundamentally betrayed by
her father, uses her acid-laced tongue-along with her best friend Sara-to rule the school. Then
she meets Danny Riley, a physically unattractive but kind animal enthusiast who is "a year behind
her in school," and "a light year behind her in every other way," especially socially. Intrigued by
this decidedly uncool yet self-possessed boy who has no interest in kneeling at her altar,
Margaux begins helping him check up on newly adopted shelter animals, and learns that he is not
only scarred from a past trauma, but lives with a beloved aunt who is sick and deteriorating.
Gradually, they begin to connect, developing an unlikely yet believable friendship.
J & YA MYS KON Konigsburg, E.L. Silent to the Bone
When he is wrongly accused of gravely injuring his baby half-sister, thirteen-year-old Branwell
loses his power of speech and only his friend Connor is able to reach him and uncover the truth
about what really happened.
YA FIC LEA Leavitt, Martine Heck, Superhero
Abandoned by his mother, thirteen-year-old Heck tries to survive on his own as his mind bounces
between the superhero character he imagines himself to be and the harsh reality of his life.
YA FIC LES Lester, Julius When Dad Killed Mom
When Jenna and Jeremy's father shoots and kills their artist mother, they struggle to slowly
rebuild a functioning family.
YA FIC LYG Lyga, Barry Boy Toy
Josh Mendel has a secret. Unfortunately, everyone knows what it is.
Five years ago, Josh's life changed. Drastically. And everyone in his school, his town—seems
like the world—thinks they understand. But they don't—they can't. And now, about to graduate
from high school, Josh is still trying to sort through the pieces. First there's Rachel, the girl he
thought he'd lost years ago. She's back, and she's determined to be part of his life, whether he
wants her there or not.Then there are college decisions to make, and the toughest baseball game
of his life coming up, and a coach who won't stop pushing Josh all the way to the brink. And then
there's Eve. Her return brings with it all the memories of Josh's past. It's time for Josh to face the
truth about what happened.
If only he knew what the truth was . . .
YA MYS MAZ Mazer, Harry Who Is Eddie Leonard?
A fourteen-year-old boy who was raised by an abusive old woman and has always had questions
about his parents sees a picture of a missing child and sets out to discover if he is that child.
YA MYS MAZ Mazer, Norma Fox When She Was Good
The death of her abusive, manipulative older sister prompts seventeen-year-old Em to remember
their unpleasant life together, with their parents and then later on their own.
YA FIC MCC McCord, Patricia Pictures in the Dark
A compelling novel set in 1950s Seattle. Twelve-year-old Sarah and her older sister, Carlie, know
that their lives are different from those of their peers. When at home, unless summoned by their
mother, they are supposed to stay in their attic bedroom. Common activities such as eating or
using the bathroom are forbidden without her approval. Noise of any kind is frowned upon
because that might disturb their mother and one never knows what will happen when she is
unhappy. Everything comes to a head when Carlie is caught and beaten for trying on one of her
mother's dresses. Running away from home is her solution, but Sarah becomes bold enough to
tell their workaholic father the dark secret about their mother. McCord has written a taut, powerful
story about family dynamics when one parent is suffering from a mental illness and the other fails
to recognize the problem.
YA FIC MCK McKinley, Robin Deerskin
As Princess Lissar reaches womanhood, it is clear to all the kingdom that in her breathtaking
beauty she is the mirror image of her mother, the queen--but this seeming blessing forces her to
flee from her father's wrath. With her loyal dog, Lissar discovers a world of magic where she finds
the key to her own survival.
YA FIC MEL Meldrum, Christina Madapple
This novel is a fascinating look at belief and the interplay between the rational and the religious.
Fifteen-year-old Aslaug has been isolated from family and friends; her only companion has been
her mother and after weeks of waning health, her mother dies. Aslaug attempts to bury her in the
back yard, which draws the attention of a grumpy old neighbor and the police. Her mother had
been self-medicating with plants and herbs, and some of the plants have toxic qualities. They are
toxic enough to draw attention, and Aslaug is accused of having poisoned her mother. The novel
moves back and forth between Aslaug's trial for murder and the story of her life and experiences.
Her life is surreal, a life of innocence disconnected from the realities of our culture. The courtroom
is represented by the stark questions and answers of the witnesses and the lawyers, the twisting
of words and the interpretations of those who have no understanding of the isolated upbringing of
Aslaug. The story of Aslaug's life is one entrenched in charismatic religious belief and incestuous
relationships, a full circle replicating her mother's supposed "virgin" pregnancy and her own birth.
The juxtaposition of innocence and incest is an eerie, disturbing and thought-provoking
exploration of religious belief and pagan superstitions, calling into question what is reality and
what might be madness.
YA FIC MON Monthei, Betty Looking for Normal
Twelve-year-old Annie and her younger brother, Ted, try to cope with their turbulent emotions, as
well as with their grandmother's terrible anger and grief, after their father kills their mother and
then commits suicide.
YA FIC NA Na, An A Step from Heaven
A young Korean girl and her family find it difficult to learn English and adjust to life in America.
YA FIC NEL Nelson, R.A. Teach Me
This is a book that you will not be able to put down. From the very first page, Nine speaks in a
voice that is at once raw, honest, direct, and unbelievably eloquent. "There has been an
earthquake in my life," she says, inviting you inside an experience that fascinates everyone -- an
affair between a teacher and student -- and giving an up close and personal answer to the
question: How does this happen?
YA FIC NOL Nolan, Han Born Blue
Janie was four years old when she nearly drowned due to her mother’s neglect. Through an
unhappy foster home experience, and years of feeling that she is unwanted, she keeps alive her
dream of someday being a famous singer.
YA FIC OAT Oates, Joyce Carol Sexy
"Darren Flynn has the perfect life - until that day in November." "After that day, after what
happened (did it happen?), life is different. Darren is different. Nothing is as it was - before. His
friends, his family, even the people who are supposed to be in charge are no longer who Darren
thought they were. Who can he trust, now?" This novel explores one teenager's search for
identity in a complex, deceiving world, and the answers he finds in the most unexpected places.
YA MYS OAT Oates, Joyce Carol Freaky Green Eyes
Fifteen-year-old Frankie relates the events of the year leading up to her mother's mysterious
disappearance and her own struggle to discover and accept the truth about her parents'
YA FIC PET Peters, Julie Ann Rage
Love hurts. Dependable Johanna is drawn to mercurial Reeve, whose anger-management issues
stem from her abusive home life. To express herself, Reeve hits. Johanna is thrilled just to be
near Reeve in all her temperamental glory, even if it means alienating her best friend in the
process. Reeve eventually turns her fists on Johanna, who remains loyal, lying and cheating to
protect Reeve and her brother. How does it end? Read it and find out!
YA FIC PET Peters, Kimberly Joy Painting Caitlyn
Like many teen girls, Caitlyn is having a tough time. She feels ignored by her mother and step-
father who are obsessed with having a baby, her best friend is always blowing her off for a
boyfriend, and she's struggling in art, her favorite subject. Caitlyn is completely depressed, when
Tyler enters her life, and seems to make her problems disappear. Older, gorgeous, and totally
into Caitlyn, he makes Caitlyn feel important, needed, and special. But just as things get serious,
Caitlyn discovers Tyler’s jealous side. Once she realizes her "perfect" boyfriend is as controlling
as he is caring, she is faced with a choice: she can either let this relationship define her, or find
the courage to break away.
YA FIC PHI Phillips, Suzanne Chloe Doe
Chloe Doe chronicles a 17-year-old girl's tumultuous path to becoming a prostitute and her
ultimate transformation back into mainstream society. During her therapy at Madeline Parker
Institute for Girls, Chloe slowly reveals aspects of her painful past--the stepfather who abused her
sister, the mother who let it all happen, the need to love and be loved--and faces the future she
finally decides to build for herself.
YA FIC RAI Rainfield, Cheryl Scars
Kendra is frightened. She knows the man that sexually abused her is now stalking her. She finds
a note from him in her backpack, and then an MP3 player with a warning recorded on it turns up.
As Kendra tries to keep herself together, the only thing in which she seems to find solace is
cutting herself. Even her counselor does not know about how badly she harms herself, but when
she begins to trust and fall in love with Meghan, another student at her school, she begins to
share her secrets with her. Suddenly Kendra realizes the identity of her abuser, but will she be
able to save herself from him?
YA FIC RAP Rapp, Adam Little Chicago
An eleven-year-old boy tries to cope with being sexually abused, neglected, and treated cruelly at
YA FIC RAP Rapp, Adam Under the Wolf, Under the Dog
Sixteen-year-old Steve Nugent recounts the events that brought him to Burnstone Grove, a
therapeutic facility for teens with substance abuse issues and/or suicidal tendencies. Intellectually
bright, emotionally immature, and only moderately adept socially, Steve is coping with his
mother's death, his older brother's suicide, his father's depression, and his own erratic behavior.
YA FIC RAP Rapp, Adam Punkzilla
For a runaway boy who goes by the name "Punkzilla," kicking a meth habit and a life of petty
crime in Portland, Oregon, is a prelude to a mission: reconnecting with his older brother, a gay
man dying of cancer in Memphis. Against a backdrop of seedy motels, dicey bus stations, and
hitched rides, the desperate fourteen-year-old meets a colorful, sometimes dangerous cast of
characters. And in letters to his sibling, he catalogs them all — from an abusive stranger and a
ghostly girl to a kind transsexual and an old woman with an oozing eye. The language is raw and
revealing, crackling with visceral details and dark humor, yet with each interstate exit Punkzilla’s
journey grows more urgent: will he make it to Tennessee in time?
YA FIC RAP Rapp, Adam 33 Snowfish
A homeless boy, running from the police with a fifteen-year-old, drug-addicted prostitute, her
boyfriend who just killed his own parents, and a baby, gets the chance to make a better life for
YA FIC REE Reed, Amy Beautiful
Cassie has just moved from Bainbridge Island to Seattle. No one at her new school knows her as
the pudgy nobody her classmates in her small town ignored. Here, now, she is beautiful and
determined to be noticed. Her decisions, while terrifying for the reader, are perfectly
understandable. Her parents are loving, but more involved in their own unhappiness than in
keeping a close watch on Cassie. Her new friend Alex is her ticket into the world of drugs, sex,
and acceptance, but Alex's personal demons become clearer and more dangerous as their
friendship deepens. The first-person, present-tense voice keeps the reader constantly absorbed
in Cassie's life and never sure what the next moment may bring.
YA FIC ROR Rorby, Ginny Hurt Go Happy
Joey Willis has been deaf since the age of seven. Her mother, Ruth, has not allowed her to learn
sign language, so Joey relies on lip-reading to understand others, with limited success. A chance
encounter with Sukari, a young chimpanzee, and Charlie, the scientist who taught the chimp to
use sign language, opens a whole new world for Joey, eventually giving her the strength to defy
her mother and defend everything she holds dear.
YA FIC ROT Rottman, S.L. Hero
After years of abuse from his mother and neglect from his father, ninth-grader Sean Parker is
headed for trouble until he is sent to do community service at a farm owned by an old man who
teaches Sean that he can take control of his own life.
YA FIC SAN Sanchez, Alex Bait
When a guy in his class looks at him funny, Diego punches him in the face, and ends up on
probation. At first he wants nothing to do with his probation officer. But as Diego starts to open
up, he begins to realize that Mr. Vidas is the first person in his life who ever really wanted to listen
to him. With Vidas's help, Diego begins to make real progress in controlling his anger. He even
opens up enough to tell Vidas about the shark tooth that his stepfather gave him that he uses to
cut himself. But only if Diego can find the courage to trust Vidas with the darkest secrets from his
past will he be able to heal completely.
YA FIC SAP Sapphire Push
In an electrifying novel, a black street girl, sixteen years old and pregnant, again, with her father's
child, speaks. In a voice that shakes us by its language, its story, and its unflinching honesty,
Precious Jones records her journey up from Harlem's lowest depths... For Precious, miraculously,
hope appears and the world begins to open up when a courageous black woman - a teacher
hellbent to teach - bullies, cajoles, and inspires her to learn to read, to define her own feelings
and set them down in a diary: to discover the truth of her life. Day after day they go over the
pages, translating the illiterate but developing language of Precious' journals. The learning
process itself, as vividly revealed as the most brutal aspects of Precious' daily existence, is the
heartbeat of a novel that will disturb, galvanize, and stay in the mind.
YA FIC SCO Scott, Elizabeth Living Dead Girl
When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends—her life. She learned to give
up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over. Now Alice is fifteen and
Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she
longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her. This is
Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.
YA FIC SHA Shaw, Susan The Boy From the Basement
Charlie, 12, can't read and doesn't even know his last name. He does know he's being punished
because he's bad. Father (who is plainly psychotic) keeps Charlie locked in the basement,
allowing him to scavenge for food only at night; his frightened mother does nothing to help. One
night he steps outside briefly, and the wind blows the door shut behind him. Terrified, he runs into
the street, where he's found and hospitalized. Because he has never gone to school, he knows
nothing of the simplest things like Halloween and is convinced that he's in danger if he goes
outside. His struggle to understand his new life in a loving home and his terror of an imaginary,
enormous spider that represents his father are more powerful, since it's Charlie who tells the
story. Shaw's simple language and sentence structure effectively contribute to the realism of her
psychological tale, even as she avoids a too-vivid description of physical abuse. This affecting,
ultimately uplifting examination of a boy's recovery from extreme child abuse is a stunner and
certain to attract readers.
YA FIC SIM Simmons, Michael Vandal
Will is pretty much your average 16-year-old. He does well enough in school, plays in a rock
band, chases girls with little success, and has a typical collection of oddball friends...with one
significant exception. For as long as he can remember, he has been systematically beaten up--
physically, mentally, and emotionally--by his older brother.
YA FIC STO Stone, Mary Hanlon Invisible Girl
When poor Boston girl Stephanie is abandoned by her abusive mother and taken in by Annie's
Beverly Hills family, she feels anything but home. Her dark complexion and accent stick out like a
sore thumb in the golden-hued world of blondes and extravagance. These are girls who seem to
live life in fast forward, while Stephanie is stuck on pause. Yet when a new rival moves to town,
threatening Annie's queen-bee status, Stephanie finds herself taking sides in a battle she never
even knew existed, and that feeling invisible is a wound that can only be healed by standing up
for who she is.
YA FIC STR Strasnick, Lauren Nothing Like You
High school senior Holly Hirsh knows little about Paul Bennett beyond the fact that he is good-
looking, popular, and has a "cool and put together" girlfriend. Seeking to fill the emotional void left
by her mother's death, Holly loses her virginity to him and continues to see him. He demands that
she keep their relationship secret, which exacerbates the complicated feelings she has toward
her longtime best friend, Nils. When a school project provides a means for Holly to get to know
Paul's girlfriend, her sense of betrayal becomes even deeper.
YA FIC STR Strasser, Todd Can’t Get There From Here
This gritty portrayal of the lives of homeless teenagers conveys the hopelessness of runaways
and throwaway children with convincing realism. Fifteen-year-old "Maybe" lives with her friends
on the streets of New York. They reject even the relative comfort of homeless shelters as they
have rejected their own names, choosing street names such as Rainbow, Maggot, and Jewel.
Maybe chooses freedom from all rules over any kind of security, but the story makes it clear that
her total freedom ultimately leads to early death or slavery to adult predators. When she finally
decides to try to help Tears, the 12-year-old newest member of her tribe, Maybe begins to find
her own salvation.
YA FIC STR Stratton, Allan Leslie’s Journal
For Leslie, trying to survive tenth grade is a constant struggle. Coping with divorced parents,
trying to hold on to a best friend who seems to be growing away from her, feeling unpopular at
school - all these problems make Leslie bitter and frustrated. She hides her hurt with
"inappropriate" clothes and smart remarks. Then she meets Jason, the mysterious new boy in
school. Handsome and poised, he seems the perfect candidate to be Leslie's first boyfriend.
Leslie is thrilled with the attention, but when Jason at first is interested only in sex and then
begins pushing her around, the thrill turns to confusion. Is it love to want to hurt someone with
words and fists? Is it love to threaten to blackmail someone with photographs? The more Leslie
learns about Jason, the more frightened she becomes. She realizes that she must stand up for
herself and the other young women abused by Jason.
YA FIC TAS Tashjian, Janet Fault Line
Seventeen-year-old Becky Martin-smart, funny, ambitious-aspires to be a stand-up comic. While
setting out to make her goal a reality, she meets Kip Costello, a rising star in the San Francisco
comedy-club scene. And what could be better than an intense boyfriend who cares about every
detail of her life? But Becky soon discovers a darker side to Kip, where emotional and physical
abuse grow hand-in-hand. As the relationship goes from loving to controlling, Becky must find the
courage to get help before it's too late.
YA FIC TAY Taylor, William Pebble in a Pool
Raunchy, ribald, and eventually rollicking, Taylor's novel follows Everton High School senior Paul
Carter from the day he stands as an ally for Spike Messenger, the student murdered for being
flamboyantly gay. Quickly ostracized at school, this eldest son of an abusive, Christian
fundamentalist minister is beaten and disowned by nightfall. Seeking shelter at the gas station
where he has been working since age fifteen to pay his way at home, Paul encounters Steve
Peterson, the technologically challenged furniture artist who rents a workshop behind the Singh's
station. Thirteen years his elder, Steve nurtures Paul into adulthood, encouraging a wider world-
view, tolerance, and vices en route.
YA FIC VAR Varela, Barry Palmer’s Gate
TIME: Today after school
PLACE: The woods near Bakers Pond
WHO: Everyone is invited
WHAT: I will strip
These were the contents of the note Colleen Lardner passed around to her classmates. But
WHY? That was the question that haunted Bobby Caleff, her next-door neighbor. Set in a small
working class town near the South Jersey shore, Palmers Gate is the story of 11-year-old
Robby's attempts to understand, and perhaps befriend, Colleen, a childlike, virtually silent girl
who may, or may not, be hiding a dark secret.
YA FIC VOI Voigt, Cynthia When She Hollers
Tish is one confused, frightened girl. Pushed to the point of no return, she takes refuge behind a
knife, hidden in her shoe, believing that this can protect her from her incestuous stepfather. But
the voice of reason, which occasionally surfaces within her, moves her to confront her problem
and her fears that no one will believe her or care. Voigt has tackled a distasteful topic, with
forthrightness, bringing Tish to the realization that only she can help herself and doing so will
bring a promising, but not perfect, future.
YA FIC WAL Waldorf, Heather Leftovers
A freak-out over a snapshot lands fifteen-year-old Sarah Greene on an island in the St. Lawrence
River with several other juvenile offenders. There, she is to complete 400 hours of community
service at a summer camp for dogs. The confinement leaves her with no way to complete the
desperate mission she was on when she stole and subsequently crashed her mother's
boyfriend's car—until the camp counselor's son, a boy she's been in school with since first grade,
offers to take her across the river into Ottawa for a concert if she'll help him finish a project for his
stepfather, the veterinarian who runs the camp. Sarah jumps at the chance, but plans to dump
the boy at the concert. There, she will make her own way into the city, to the locked-up restaurant
owned by her recently deceased father where she believes she will find the shameful evidence of
the sexual abuse he inflicted on her from the earliest days of her memory. Sarah thinks that if she
destroys the photographs and keep anyone else from finding out about the abuse, she can move
on with her life. But Sarah is not the only one on the island trying to adjust to life-changing
YA FIC WAL Walter, Gregory Fouling Out
Craig's mom thinks his friend Tom is trouble and doesn't like her son hanging out with him. But
Craig and Tom have been friends since second grade, and although Tom's behavior is a little out
there, he is a lot of fun and Craig finds himself constantly pulled into his schemes. When Tom
takes his dad's gun and tries to get Craig to go squirrel hunting in the park with him, Craig's better
judgment tells him not to, but still he gives in. The squirrel-hunting incident goes awry and instead
of a squirrel, Tom ends up shooting a bullet through a neighbor's back window. The whole town is
immediately thrown into an uproar, thinking the shooting is a racially motivated hate crime. Upset
with the shooting incident and fearful of what Tom is capable of doing the next time, Craig tries to
distance himself from his long-time friend. Their friendship is put to the ultimate test when Tom
runs away and the details of his abusive home life are revealed. Will Craig try to find Tom, and
how far will he go to help his friend?
YA FIC WEB Weber, Lori Klepto
Kat is a shoplifting expert. She knows the best places to hit and how to behave so that no one
suspects her. Kat's parents are entirely clueless about her criminal activity. They are more
concerned with her older sister, Hannah, who is currently living in a home for troubled teens after
she was caught making deliveries for a drug dealer. Kat's parents live for the day Hannah will be
able to come home, but Kat is not so sure her sister's return will be positive. Her thoughts of her
sister range from memories of idyllic sisterly moments to reminiscences of Hannah's explosive
rages. Kat was frequently left with bruises, and her stuffed animals and clothing were often ripped
to shreds. Kat's thievery begins the day Hannah is taken away. As the day draws closer that
Hannah will return home, the frequency with which Kat steals things increases. She steals
impulsively, often coming home with an item she doesn't remember taking. People at school
discover her secret, and her classmates give her lists of things they want her to steal. When
Hannah returns home, Kat is shocked to see that her sister is now mousy and sad rather than
wild and angry. Yet Kat cannot find it within herself to forgive Hannah's previously abusive deeds.
YA FIC WEE Weeks, Sarah Jumping the Scratch
It has been a rough year for 11-year-old Jamie Reardon. In short order, his cat, Mister, died, his
father ran off with another woman, and the boy and his mother moved to a trailer park to live with
his aunt Sapphy who, because of an accident at the cherry factory where she used to work, has
lost her short-term memory and needs them to take care of her. Jamie is also suffering from
being the new kid in school and bearing the brunt of a bully's attention. But worst of all is the dark
secret that sits deep in Jamie's heart, a secret that he can't share with anyone, and that he would
give anything to forget.
YA FIC WER Werlin, Nancy Rules of Survival
It all starts when Matthew observes a heroic scene in a convenience store: A man named
Murdoch puts himself between an abusive father and his son. Matt is determined to get to know
this man. And when, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt's mother, it seems as if life may
become peaceful for the first time. Matt and his sisters have never before known a moment of
peace in a household ruled by their unpredictable, vicious mother. And so, after Murdoch
inevitably breaks up with her and the short period of family calm is over, Matt sees that he needs
to take action. He refuses to let his family remain at risk. Can he call upon his hero, Murdoch?
And if not, what might his desperation lead him to do?
YA FIC WHI Whittenberg, Allison Life is Fine
Life is not fine for Samara Tuttle, but she’s coping. Her overworked mother is distant and cold,
and her mother’s boyfriend, Q, attacks Samara when she tries to clean up after his lazy, Funyun-
loving self. Samara’s a loner. But all of this changes when Mr. Halbrook arrives at school.
Samara’s English teacher takes ill, and in steps Mr. Jerome Halbrook, a suitwearing, blue-eyed
African American man who uses Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” to inspire a spirited discussion
about poetry, love, and truth. Soon Samara is borrowing his collections of poetry, and then she
can’t stop thinking about Mr. Halbrook. Soon Samara is confiding in him about her less-than-fine
past, and dreaming of a different future. But when Mr. Halbrook disappears–and it appears that
he may not be all that he seemed–will she be able to picture a future without him?
YA FIC WIE Wiess, Laura Such a Pretty Girl
Three years ago, when she was 12, Meredith's father raped her. She went to the hospital; he
went to prison. Now he's getting out on an early parole, and Meredith's life is falling apart. Her
mother refuses to acknowledge what happened; all she cares about is getting her husband back.
Meredith's boyfriend Andy—a boy molested by her father—takes off for Iowa in search of a
miracle cure for his paralysis caused by a night of drunk driving. And her father won't leave her
alone. This is a rare book: a "problem novel" in which the story is in service of the characters, not
the other way around. Meredith, Andy, Andy's deeply religious mother, the retired policeman who
befriends Meredith, and Meredith's tough grandmother are all flawed, engaging characters who
are strong and weak in their own, sometimes unexpected, ways. Even Meredith's parents, the
clear villains of the story, manage to seem like real people rather than two-dimensional monsters.
Meredith is realistically terrified of her father and bears the expected emotional scars, but still
finds the strength to help the policeman build a case to put her father away for good. This tale
strikes just the right balance between hope and despair, and Meredith's will to survive and ability
to take action in the face of her terror are an inspiration.
YA FIC WIL Williams, Carol Lynch Glimpse
Williams (The Chosen One) opens her latest novel with a bang--almost. Written in spare yet
resonant verse ("Last night/ me and Lizzie/ sit/ in the dark,/ sit on my bed,/ in the quiet of/ night./
We're all grown up,/ I think./ But we are/ having us some/ troubles"), the book is told from the
unreliable perspective of 12-year-old Hope, whose 14-year-old sister, Lizzie, threatens to shoot
herself on page one. Lizzie is hauled off to a mental hospital, but the reason behind the suicide
attempt remains unclear--even to Hope. As the story progresses, clues about the girls' upbringing
are revealed in a series of flashbacks. Hope's memories paint a picture of sporadic sisterly
bonding (secret club meetings in the attic, lip-synching to Jesus Christ Superstar), while other
incidents (their father's death, Lizzie's crying spells, their alcoholic mother's abusive temper and
prostitution) hint at a darker reality. Williams's decision to wait until the end to divulge the cause
of Lizzie's misery is a gamble, but one that works. The truth-- exposed after Hope reads her
sister's diary--is appalling.
YA FIC WIL Williams, Lori Aurelia When Kambia Elaine Flew in from
Shayla tells of her friendship with Kambia, who is afraid of Wallpaper Wolves, Memory Beetles,
and Lizard People, stories Shayla thinks are just childish games. But then she starts to notice
Kambia’s ragged clothes and the bruises on her body. Although Shayla begins to take Kambia’s
fears seriously, she has problems of her own, including her family’s deterioration since her
teenaged sister went away with an older man who everyone in their Houston neighborhood
knows is a “dummy.”
YA FIC WIL Williams-Garcia, Rita No Laughter Here
Best friends Akilah and Victoria are usually inseparable. When Victoria and her family leave for
an extended vacation to Nigeria during the summer before fifth grade, Akilah waits every day for
some sign of Victoria's return. Akilah is overjoyed to see Victoria again, but something is wrong.
Victoria no longer raises her hand in class, she does not play during recess, and she is not talking
to Akilah. Victoria hides a terrible secret that Akilah uncovers after much prodding. It is so
terrifying that no girl or woman should ever have to bear the secret alone.
YA FIC WOO Woodson, Jacqueline I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This
Two girls: one white, one black; one abused, one protected, both missing their mothers. An
unlikely friendship ignites between the two, and, in sharing their differences, both of their lives are
YA FIC WYE Wyeth, Sharon Dennis Orphea Proud
Orphea Proud has been raised by a loving mother and a strict father. Now, at 16, she is an
orphan, living with her half-brother Rupert and his wife. On the night of a snowstorm sleepover,
Orphea and her best friend Lissa explore their sexual identities and share an intimate kiss. When
Rupert catches them, he hits Orphea and disgustedly sends Lissa home in the snow. Lissa is
killed in a tragic accident and Orphea is thrown into the depths of depression. Rupert then dumps
Orphea, along with her journal and her belongings, with her great aunts in Proud Road, Virginia,
the rural home of her late mother. He leaves her there with the warning that the family is
"righteous" and will not be interested in the loss of her gay lover. But living with her Aunt Minnie
and Aunt Cleo in the rundown general store Orphea learns more about her mother and her father,
about prejudice and tolerance, about family and love. Although she is herself an African
American, the blond, blue-eyed boy who lives across the street is a relative. He too has
experienced loss and now spends his days painting colorful murals of horses in a root cellar.
Orphea takes her journal to the cellar and returns to writing poetry while planning on someday
sharing her work in performance.
YA FIC WYN Wynne-Jones, Tim The Maestro
With a brutal, despicable father who beats him and an ineffectual mother incapacitated by drugs,
Burl, 14, has learned not to expect anything good from life. After a crisis, he runs away into the
wilderness near his small Canadian town, eventually stumbling upon an isolated house that is the
secret refuge of a famous musician. Burt ingratiates himself, making himself useful while
harboring the hope of staying on. But the boy's relationship with his reluctant savior is only the
first in a series of encounters with those who want to use him, assist him, control him, or threaten
him. Wynne-Jones skillfully presents a complex character who, in order to survive, uses all his
resources: knowledge of the woods; an instinctive understanding of the manipulations of adults;
strategy; brutality, the legacy of his father; and compassion.