Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (2016)

lilyThis dual-POV novel addresses big issues like gender identity and depression with due seriousness but a prevailing sense of hope.

Recommended grade level: 5-8

Pages:   352 (for ISBN 9780553536744)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, LGBTQA+

Tone/Style: hopeful, insecure, emotional

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The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon (2005)

burnAn intensely honest and personal memoir about physical and emotional recovery.

Recommended grade level: 8 and up

Pages: 336 (for ISBN 9781400096428)

Genre(s) and keywords: nonfiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction

Tone/Style: personal, honest, humorous

Pace: moderate

Topics: burn recovery, suicide

Themes: healing, mental illness, regaining something that was lost, discovering the purpose for one’s own actions

Summary: In 1991, fourteen-year-old Brent Runyon came home from school, doused his bathrobe in gasoline, put it on, and lit a match. Continue reading

Perfect by Natasha Friend (2004)

perfectThis book about a girl’s struggle with bulimia is realistic but not too mature, making it a good choice for middle schoolers of all ages.

Recommended grade level: 6-9

Pages: 172 (for ISBN 9781571316516)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction

Tone/Style: depressed

Pace: moderate to fast

Topics: bulimia, therapy groups, loss of a parent, parents with mental illness, friends who are negative influences

Themes: grief and loss,  unhealthy coping, siblings, parent/child relationships, family

Summary: Isabelle Lee is a typical, wisecracking, middle-of-the-pack girl who happens to be dealing with some big issues. Her father has died and no one—especially her mother—wants to talk about it. Meanwhile, Isabelle’s sister, who used to be nine and charming, has ruined everything by ratting Isabelle out to their mom about her eating disorder. Continue reading

Ask Elizabeth: Real Answers to Everything You Secretly Wanted to Ask About Love, Friends, Your Body… and Life in General by Elizabeth Berkley (2011)

askElizabeth Berkley of Saved by the Bell fame shares advice and encouragement with teen girls in this scrapbook-style self-help book.

Recommended grade level: 7-12

Pages: 240 (for ISBN 9780399254499)

Genre(s) and keywords: nonfiction, girls’ nonfiction, self-help

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The Nest by Kenneth Oppel, illustrated by Jon Klassen (2015)

the-nest-9781481432320_hrA mind-bending horror great for reluctant readers.

Recommended grade level: 4-8

Pages: 256 (for ISBN 9781481432320)

Genre(s) and keywords: horror, psychological

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Where You’ll Find Me by Natasha Friend (2016)

whereAnna discovers some surprising things about herself and her loved ones as she struggles to come to terms with her mother’s suicide attempt in this painfully honest depiction of life with a bipolar parent.

Recommended grade level: 6-9

Pages: 272 (for ISBN 9780374302306)

Genre(s) and keywords: realistic fiction, Kylie’s favorites

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