Jennifer Niven's top 10 teen books to save your life (via: The Guardian)
Jennifer Niven wrote All the Bright Places knowing that at one time or another every teenager needs to know that it gets better, help is out there, high school isn’t forever, and life is long and vast and full of joy. So here are her top 10 lovely, tough, honest, and ultimately life-affirming YA books.
What I love most about books is they remind us we’re not alone. When I was an only child transplanted to landlocked Indiana from the shores of southern Maryland in the United States – a torture akin to, say, moving to Mars – I discovered Judy Blume. In Maryland, I had danced and painted and written stories. I didn’t play team sports and I wasn’t blond and petite and a cheerleader like the girls at my Indiana school. I never learned to cartwheel because I didn’t like being upside down.
Judy Blume’s characters, more than my own parents, knew how I felt, what I thought, what I feared. In high school, I graduated to the Brontë sisters, whose dark, dramatic longing spoke to my ongoing sense of displacement.
Books reach into the darkest, loneliest parts of us and remind us it’s okay. I wrote All the Bright Places because I once knew and loved a boy. And then I lost him, and it changed my life. But I wasn’t sure anyone would understand me if I talked about it, so I wrote about it instead, knowing there are others like him, like me, who need to know that it gets better, help is out there, high school isn’t forever, and life is long and vast and full of joy. Whether dealing with loss, mental illness, suicide, addiction, bullying, self-harm, rape, or the feeling of not fitting in, young adult authors are addressing the deepest, darkest issues, and reminding us what it means to live.
Here are ten lovely, tough, honest, and ultimately life-affirming books:
1. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
2. The Outsiders by SE Hinton
3. Fat Kid Rules the World by KL Going
4. Saving Daisy by Phil Earle
5. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
6. Before I Die by Jenny Downham
7. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
8. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
9. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
10. Wonder by RJ Palacio
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