We often hear stories of a delicate nature. The children’s stories we always asked our parents to read us every night, the books, movies, and television shows that show us, essentially, who we’re supposed to grow up to be. Without a second question from us, these things make us. They build us without allowing us even realizing the fact. In the midst of all this evolution into ‘adult world,’ it can be so easy to forget the true aspirations and dreams of that little girl or boy who were read those precious stories where absolutely nothing was impossible. My hope is that you, whoever you are in the world, whether you were in the in-crowd in high school, college, whether you were the kid no one invited to play dodge-ball with, whoever you are, be proud of the parts of you that are misunderstood. It is there that we discover the very things that, not only differentiate us from the other 7 billion people inhabiting this earth, though keep our quirks and beautiful shortcomings, alive.
1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
It’s safe to say that The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of the YA novels that has resonated with everyone who has had the pleasure of reading it. You may believe that sounds slightly biased, and I suppose it might, though this novel really breaks barriers on a variety of issues that aren’t normally as ‘sexy’ as a romance in which both main charcaters are popular and pretty. It is a novel surrounding those who are considered outcasts and their bond of unconditional love and support for one another. Certainly, one for the ages.
2. Beautiful by Amy Reed
I read this short book a few years back and I honestly did enjoy it quite a lot. It was one of the first novels I had read that contained more R-rated themes such as drugs and sex (all involving those who are underage) though even though those elements were a base part of it, they didn’t take away from the true grit of the novel. Beautiful follows a young girl who is desperately trying to find her way in this big ol’ world, though hits some very rough and not so healthy bumps along the way.
3. Exit Here by Jason Myers
I’ll come right out and say it, the language in this novel is intense. If you’re someone who is turned off by that, this is probably one you’ll want to skip. In my humble opinion, I don’t believe the choice of specific diction takes completely away from the complex, raw novel, though I did have to put it down every so often and collect my thoughts. Overall, Exit Here is a richly authentic book that follows a young man, similarly to the main character in Beautiful, who is simply handed a very difficult set of obstacles at an early age, and is just trying to stay afloat among it all.
4. Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn
I’m currently reading this charming (sorry, I had to) and mystifying novel and I’m planning on finishing it sometime this week. It is truly unlike anything I have ever read, plot wise as well as in terms of character traits and depth, because from the beginning, the reader knows that the main character isn’t a good guy. At all. That much is made clear. The chapters bounce back between modern day and past experiences which add to the thrill of the entire book because you’re not sure if what Andrew, the highly withdrawn protagonist, really says is true to fact.
5. Lisa, Bright and Dark by John Neufeld
This book can easily be read in one sitting (it’s only about 144 pages) and I found it to be quite insightful on the extremes and realities of someone who, on the outside, may be viewed as the ‘ideal’ kind of personality, bright, bubbly, hopelessly optimistic, though on the inside they are hopelessly crumbling to pieces. A wonderful read if you are trying to really get inside the mind of someone who suffers from severe depression or bipolar disorder. You can also check out our review of this novel, here.
6. Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay
Another book that I’ve tackled in the past year, Everything That Makes You is told from two perspectives of the same teenage girl. Yes, you read that right. One perspective is when, Fi, our main voice in the novel, is a very popular, straight-laced soccer star who dreams of making the All-Star team at her top choice college. The other perspective, Fiona, is the shy, small-voiced singer whose dream is to get over her intense stage fright and be seen past her facial scars. A great YA novel that brings light to the true meaning of loving every part of who you are and not being afraid to show it.
7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This one is very much so emotionally heavy. It deals primarily with the topic of suicide, the aftermath following the death of a fairly known high school student, and I believe, will really leave an impact on the reader. You never know what someone may be having to battle, and novels such as this further remind us to always watch and be aware of how we treat those around us.
8. Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
A coming of age novel that follows a pastors daughter as she wrestles with her own insecurities and struggles, all the while dealing with a community tragedy.
9. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
This is one of my favorite books because the author takes a situation that is far from accepted in our society and presents it in a way that the reader cannot help but empathize with the characters. Reminiscent of V.C. Andrew’s Flowers in the Attic, Forbidden. tells the story of a brother and a sister who are forced to become guardians of their younger siblings due to their unstable mother’s alcohol and drug addiction. Some may disagree with me, though this is one of most touching, somber love stories I have ever had the pleasure of indulging in.
10. Last Night I Sang To The Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz
An addicting look inside the mind of a character who is battling a fierce and relentless drug addiction, in addition to intense withdrawals and allusions. When I picked this up, it took me a while to get into it because it’s a little slow at first, though if you stick with it you’ll be on a wild ride of a read for sure.
11. CRANK (Crank Book One) by Ellen Hopkins
One of my absolute favorite series and one of the first books that made me fall in love with the free-verse writing style. CRANK follows a typical good girl, Kristina who, following a night of experimentation, gets hooked on crack cocaine. Sound intense? It is. Though it is a read that, partly due to the style of writing and partly due to the darkness of the story-line, will possess you instantly.
12. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
Living Dead Girl not only tugs at your heartstrings, though it rips it out and slowly begins to put it back together again. Also told in a beautiful poetic voice, this novel is truly a reminder to be grateful for the people who unconditionally love and care for you.
13. Stolen by Lucy Christopher
An interesting take on the captor and victim relationship. Starkly different than the average fear and terror that would normally strike the victim of a kidnapping, Stolen follows a young girl as she begins to fall in love with the one who took her away from the ordinary life she once knew.
14. Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas
Incredibly gripping and heart-wrenching, this is a novel that tells the story of a young girl and her family as they endure the hands of abuse from an merciless, abusive father and husband. I found this to be very touching and if you’ve ever felt like you’re often overlooked and not viewed as worthy by those you love, you might find this read sadly, relatable.
15. The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard
What would you do if the one you were desperately in love with wanted to keep you a secret? This is the foundation of The Secret Year which follows the electrifying, passionate, though extremely complicated relationship between a popular high school girl and an ordinary classmate.
Never be ashamed of your quirks, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Embrace them.
YouTube Channel: shea
Featured image via Pixabay