Realistic Fiction for Teens

Realistic fiction for young adults is about teens, their problems, and their challenges. Realistic fiction deals with many complex problems and situations from understanding sexual orientation to dealing with family problems.



by Chris Crutcher

Published 2013 by Greenwillow Books     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780061914805

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In this terrifying and provocative novel by the bestselling and award-winning author of Deadline and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, a teenage boy tries to uncover what happened to a girl who has vanished from his high school. Was she abducted, or did she run for her life?

Paul "The Bomb" Baum tells the truth. No matter what. It was something he learned at Sunday school. But telling the truth can cause problems, and not just minor ones. And as Paulie discovers, finding the truth can be even more problematic. Period 8 is supposed to be that one period in high school where the truth can shine, a safe haven. Only what Paulie and Hannah (his ex-girlfriend, unfortunately) and his other classmates don't know is that the ultimate liar is in their midst. Terrifying, thought-provoking, and original, this novel combines all the qualities of a great psychological thriller with the controversy, ethics, athletics, humor, and raw emotion of a classic Crutcher story.



Breakfast Served Anytime

by Sarah Combs

Published 2014 by Candlewick Press (MA)     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780763667917

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A coming-of-age debut evokes the bittersweet joys and pangs of finding independence in one unforgettable summer away at "geek camp."

When Gloria sets out to spend the summer before her senior year at a camp for gifted and talented students, she doesn't know quite what to expect. Fresh from the heartache of losing her grandmother and missing her best friend, Gloria resolves to make the best of her new circumstances. But some things are proving to be more challenging than she expected. Like the series of mysterious clues left by a certain Professor X before he even shows up to teach his class, Secrets of the Written Word. Or the very sweet, but very conservative, roommate whose coal-industry family champions mountaintop removal. Not to mention the obnoxious Mason, who dresses like the Mad Hatter and immediately gets on Gloria's nerves -- but somehow won't escape her thoughts. Beautifully told by debut author Sarah Combs, this honest and touching story of growing up is imbued with the serene atmosphere of Kentucky's natural landscape.



Girls in Trouble

by Caroline Leavitt

Published 2004 by St. Martin's Press     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780312271220

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Sara is sixteen and pregnant. Her once-devoted boyfriend seems to have disappeared, so she decides her best and only option is an open adoption with George and Eva, a couple desperate for a child. After the birth it's clear Sara has a bond with the child that Eva can't seem to duplicate. When it seems that Sara cannot let go, Eva and George make a drastic decision, with devastating consequences for all of them.



Finding Miracles

by Julia Alvarez

Published 2006 by Laurel Leaf Library     Mass Market Paperbound, English. ISBN: 9780553494068

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MILLY KAUFMAN IS an ordinary American teenager living in Vermont--until she meets Pablo, a new student at her high school. His exotic accent, strange fashion sense, and intense interest in Milly force her to confront her identity as an adopted child from Pablo's native country. As their relationship grows, Milly decides to undertake a courageous journey to her homeland and along the way discovers the story of her birth is intertwined with the story of a country recovering from a brutal history.

Beautifully written by reknowned author Julia Alvarez, Finding Miracles examines the emotional complexity of familial relationships and the miracles of everyday life.



Riding the Universe

by Gaby Triana

Published 2009 by Harper Teen     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780060885700

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Chloe Rodriguez values three things above all else--her family; her best friend, Rock; and Lolita, her Harley-Davidson 1200 Sportster. With a black body, blue airbrushed flames, and perfect sloping ape hangers, Lolita is Chloe's last connection to her beloved uncle, Seth, who left her the bike when he died last summer. So when a failing chemistry grade threatens to separate Chloe from her motorcycle, she vows not to let that happen . . . no matter what.

Enter Gordon. Ridiculously organized, ubersmart, and hot in a casual, doesn't-know-it kind of way, Chloe's peer tutor may have a thing or two to teach her besides chemistry. But she has to stop falling for Gordon . . . and get Rock to act mature whenever he's around . . . and pass chemistry so she doesn't lose Lolita forever. Just when Chloe thinks she's got it all figured out, a bump in the road comes out of nowhere and sends her skidding.



How to Save a Life

by Sara Zarr

Published 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780316036061

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Jill MacSweeny just wishes everything could go back to normal. But ever since her dad died, she's been isolating herself from her boyfriend, her best friends--everyone who wants to support her. And when her mom decides to adopt a baby, it feels like she's somehow trying to replace a lost family member with a new one.
Mandy Kalinowski understands what it's like to grow up unwanted--to be raised by a mother who never intended to have a child. So when Mandy becomes pregnant, one thing she's sure of is that she wants a better life for her baby. It's harder to be sure of herself. Will she ever find someone to care for her, too?
As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn to both let go and hold on, and that nothing is as easy--or as difficult--as it seems.
Critically acclaimed author and National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr delivers a heart-wrenching story, told from dual perspectives, about the many roads that can lead us home.



Salvage the Bones

by Jesmyn Ward

Published 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781608195220

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A stunning new voice from the Gulf Coast delivers a gritty but tender novel about family and poverty in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina.

Winner of the 2011 National Book Award

A hurricane is building over the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the coastal town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and Esch's father is growing concerned. A hard drinker, largely absent, he doesn't show concern for much else. Esch and her three brothers are stocking food, but there isn't much to save. Lately, Esch can't keep down what food she gets; she's fourteen and pregnant. Her brother Skeetah is sneaking scraps for his prized pitbull's new litter, dying one by one in the dirt. Meanwhile, brothers Randall and Junior try to stake their claim in a family long on child's play and short on parenting.

As the twelve days that make up the novel's framework yield to their dramatic conclusion, this unforgettable family--motherless children sacrificing for one another as they can, protecting and nurturing where love is scarce--pulls itself up to face another day. A big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty, Salvage the Bones is muscled with poetry, revelatory, and real.



Planet Pregnancy

by Linda Oatman High

Published 2008 by Front Street     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781590785843

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For sixteen-year-old Sahara, life and death and everything in between depends on the color of a little stick. She waits three long minutes, praying to Jesus, Mary, and all the saints that the stick will turn blue, meaning she isnt pregnant. Instead, the stick turns pink and Saharas life is changed in a heart beat.



Angel's Choice

by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Published 2006 by Simon Pulse     Paperback, English. ISBN: 9781416925248

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Jacket Notes:

All I remember is the sensation of things slipping away from me....

In one night Angel Hansen's life changes forever: She has sex for the first time. Not that she remembers the act itself -- not the pain or the pleasure. But she is left with something that will never let her forget it: an unplanned pregnancy. Angel must make a choice. Abortion? Adoption? Keep it? None of these choices are easy and none of them are perfect. But there is one thing Angel is sure of. Whatever choice she makes, it must be the right one for her. Braced with that knowledge, Angel faces the toughest decision of her life.



Who Am I Without Him?: Short Stories about Girls and the Boys in Their Lives

by Sharon G Flake

Published 2005 by Jump at the Sun     Paperback, English. ISBN: 9780786815043

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Taking readers through the minds of girls trying to define themselves while struggling to remain relevant to the boys in their lives, this Coretta Scott King Honor book offers a complex, always on-point exposition of black youth resolving to find self-worth.




by Ellen Hopkins

Published 2004 by Margaret K. McElderry Books     Paperback, English. ISBN: 9780689865190

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Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter: gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina -- she's fearless.
Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild, ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul -- her life.



Someone Like You

by Sarah Dessen

Published 2004 by Speak     Paperback, English. ISBN: 9780142401774

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From the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Once and for All

The world is a terrible place not to have a best friend.

Scarlett was always the strong one.

Halley was always content to follow in her wake.

Then Scarlett's boyfriend died, and Scarlett learned that she was pregnant.

Now Halley has to find the strength to take the lead and help Scarlett get through it.

Because true friendship is a promise you keep forever.

* "Dessen has written a powerful, polished story."--School Library Journal, starred review

Sarah Dessen is the winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her contributions to YA literature, as well as the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award.

Books by Sarah Dessen:
That Summer
Someone Like You
Keeping the Moon
This Lullaby
The Truth About Forever
Just Listen
Lock and Key
Along for the Ride
What Happened to Goodbye
The Moon and More
Saint Anything

Once and for All




by Adam Rapp

Published 2009 by Candlewick Press (MA)     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780763630317

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An award-winning writer and playwright hits the open road for a searing novel-in-letters about a street kid on a highstakes trek across America.

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? This daring novel offers a narrative worthy of Kerouac and a keen insight into the power of chance encounters.




by Paul Volponi

Published 2009 by Atheneum Books     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781416939870

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Gaston Giambanco Jr. never figured himself for a runaway. But then again, Gas never figured his mother would be killed in a head-on collision caused by an illegal Mexican. Or that his poor excuse for a father would actually go too far and beat him. So he hitches a ride out of state without a plan, only to find himself working at a racetrack stable alongside a family of Mexicans -- exactly the kind of people his dad always taught him to hate, the kind of people who caused his mother's death.

What will Gas learn about himself, and the true meaning of family? And what will he do when his small stature causes an unscrupulous horse trainer to promise him glory and riches as a jockey, even if he can't ride well?



Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy

by Bil Wright

Published 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers     Paperback, English. ISBN: 9781416940043

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In this spirited exploration of strength and personality, a fabulous NYC teen knows he's destined for greatness--if only he can survive his first job.

Carlos Duarte knows that he's fabulous. He's got a better sense of style than half the fashionistas in New York City, and he can definitely apply makeup like nobody's business. He may only be in high school, but when he lands the job of his dreams--makeup artist at the FeatureFace counter in Macy's--he's sure that he's finally on his way to great things.
But the makeup artist world is competitive and cutthroat, and for Carlos to reach his dreams, he'll have to believe in himself more than ever.



Rules of Survival

by Nancy Werlin

Published 2006 by Dial Books     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780803730014

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This National Book Award Finalist is a thought-provoking exploration of emotional abuse, self-reliance and the nature of evil. A heart-wrenching portrait of family crisis, this is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson s "Speak "and Jay Asher s "Thirteen Reasons Why."
For Matt and his sisters, life with their cruel, physically abusive mother is a day-to-day struggle for survival. But then Matt witnesses a man named Murdoch coming to a child s rescue in a convenience store; and for the first time, he feels a glimmer of hope. Then, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt s mother. Life is suddenly almost good. But the relief lasts only a short time. When Murdoch inevitable breaks up with their mother, Matt knows that he ll need to take some action. Can he call upon Murdoch to be his hero? Or will Matt have to take measures into his own hands?
A gripping, powerful novel that will stay with you long after you ve read it. Nancy Werlin, the "New York Times" Bestselling author of "Impossible," shows why she is a master of her genre.

[A] dark but hopeful tale, with pacing and suspense guaranteed to leave readers breathlessly turning the pages. "Booklist" (starred review)
Beautifully framed as a letter from Matthew to his younger sister, the suspense is paced to keep Matthew s survival and personal revelations chock-full of dramatic tension. Bring tissues. "Kirkus" (starred review)
Grace and insight. "School Library Journal" (starred review)
National Book Award Finalist
LA Times Book Prize Finalist
ALA Best Books of the Year
ALA Quick Pick




Breathing Underwater

by Alex Flinn

Published 2001 by HarperCollins Publishers     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780060291983

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Like father,
like son

Intelligent, popular, handsome, and wealthy, sixteen-year-old Nick Andreas is pretty much perfect -- on the outside, at least. What no one knows -- not even his best friend -- is the terror that Nick faces every time he is alone with his father. Then he and Caitlin fall in love, and Nick thinks his problems are over. Caitlin is the one person who he can confide in. But when things start to spiral out of control, Nick must face the fact that he's gotten more from his father than green eyes and money.



Missing Girl

by Norma Fox Mazer

Published 2010 by Harper Teen     Paperback, English. ISBN: 9780064473651

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This is the story of five sisters--Beauty, Mim, Stevie, Fancy, and Autumn--and the man who watches men.

He could be any ordinary man . . . but he's not. Unaware of his scrutiny and his increasingly forbidden thoughts about them, the sisters go on with their ordinary lives--planning, arguing, laughing, and crying--as if nothing bad could ever breach the security of their family.

In alternating points of view, Norma Fox Mazer manages to interweave the lives of predator and prey in this unforgettable psychological thriller.



We Were Here

by Matt De La Pena

Published 2009 by Delacorte Press     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780385736671

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After "it" happens, Miguel is sent to juvenile hall for a year. The judge had no idea he was doing Miguel a favor. Ever since "it" happened, his mother can't even look at him. "Any" home besides his would be a better place to live.



Carter's Big Break

by Brent Crawford

Published 2010 by Hyperion Books     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781423112433

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After surviving freshman year (just barely), Carter is craving his summer break. Unfortunately, when he and his girlfriend, Abby, part ways, it looks as though summer just might break him. Things start to look up when he's unexpectedly cast in an independent film opposite the world's biggest tween sensation, Hilary Idaho. With Hollywood knocking on his door, Carter gets a taste of the good life. But as the film spirals out of control, he begins to fear that he's not the "somebody" he thinks he is and more the "nobody" he's sure he always has been. Find out if Carter goes Hollywoodor Hollywood goes Carter.



Why We Broke Up

by Daniel Handler

Published 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780316127257

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Jacket Notes:

I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.



Almost Perfect

by Brian Katcher

Published 2010 by Delacorte Press     Paperback, English. ISBN: 9780385736657

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Whether you're trans, gay, lesbian, bi, queer, questioning, or straight, this winner of the Stonewall Children's & Young Adult Literature Award will make you marvel at the beauty of human connection and the irrepressible nature of love.

Everyone has that one line they swear they'll never cross, the one thing they say they'll never do. We draw the line. Maybe we even believe it.

Sage Hendricks was my line.

Logan Witherspoon befriends Sage Hendricks at a time when he no longer trusts or believes in people. As time goes on, he finds himself drawn to Sage, pulled in by her deep, but sexy feminine voice and her constant smile. Eventually Logan's feelings for Sage grow so strong that he can't resist kissing her. Moments later, he wishes he never had. Sage finally discloses her big secret: she was born a boy. Enraged, frightened, and feeling betrayed, Logan lashes out at Sage. Once his anger has cooled, however, his regrets lead him to attempt to rekindle their friendship. But it's hard to replace something that's been broken--and it's even harder to find your way back to friendship when you began with love.


"Tackles issues of homophobia, hate crimes and stereotyping with humor and grace in an accessible tone that will resonate with teens." -Kirkus Reviews

"It is Sage's story that is truly important." -SLJ

"Teens--both those familiar with transgender issues and those who are not--will welcome the honest take on a rarely explored subject." -Booklist

"A sensitive examination of the seldom treated subject of transgender teens." -VOYA

From the Hardcover edition.




by Madeleine George

Published 2008 by Viking Children's Books     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9780670061679

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An unforgettable debut novel about the way we look at others, and the way we see ourselves.

Meghan Ball is both the most visible and the most invisible person in school. Her massive size is impossible to ignore, yet people freely spill their secrets in front of her, perhaps because they think she isn't listening. But she is. Now her attention has turned to a new girl: Aimee Zorn, with her stick-figure body and defiant attitude. Meghan is determined to befriend Aimee, and when she ultimately succeeds, the two join forces to take down their shared enemy.

This provocative story explores the ways in which girls use food and their bodies to say what they cannot: I?m lonely.



Letting Ana Go

by Anonymous

Published 2013 by Simon Pulse     Hardcover, English. ISBN: 9781442472235

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In the tradition of Go Ask Alice and Lucy in the Sky, a harrowing account of anorexia and addiction.

She was a good girl from a good family, with everything she could want or need. But below the surface, she felt like she could never be good enough. Like she could never live up to the expectations that surrounded her. Like she couldn't do anything to make a change.

But there was one thing she could control completely: how much she ate. The less she ate, the better--stronger--she felt.

But it's a dangerous game, and there is such a thing as going too far...

Her innermost thoughts and feelings are chronicled in the diary she left behind.