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Fiction and Non-fiction books about teens overcoming difficult situations for high school students.
Cox, Lynne (B - Adult Biography collection)
Swimming To Antarctica : Tales Of A Long-Distance Swimmer
In this extraordinary book, the world?s most extraordinary distance swimmer writes about her emotional and spiritual need to swim and about the almost mystical act of swimming itself
Davis, Sampson (J 610)
We Beat The Street : How A Friendship Pact Helped Us Succeed
In We Beat the Street, award-winning YA author and teacher Sharon Draper brings the doctors' childhood, teenage, and young-adult anecdotes vividly to life. Brief "conversations" with the doctors at the end of each chapter provide context and advice in a friendly, nonintrusive way. Youngsters will be captivated by the men's honest accounts of the street life that threatened to swallow them up, and how they helped each other succeed beyond their wildest expectations.
Filipovic, Zlata (J-B & B)
Zlata's Diary : A Child's Life In Sarajevo
this is the wartime diary of a Sarajevo girl who has since moved to Paris. Zlata began keeping her diary at the age of 11, nearly eight months before the shelling of Sarajevo began. A chronicle that begins in September 1991 with Zlata buying school supplies is forced, by March 1993, to reckon with the fact that all ``the schools near me are either unusable or full of refugees.''
Gantos, Jack (B)
Hole In My Life
The author relates how, as a young adult, he became a drug user and smuggler, was arrested, did time in prison, and eventually got out and went to college, all the while hoping to become a writer.
Hamilton, Bethany (J-B)
Soul Surfer: A True Story Of Faith, Family, And Fighting To Get Back On The Board
Bethany Hamilton, a teenage surfer lost her arm in a shark attack off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii. Not even the loss of her arm keeps her from returning to surfing, the sport she loves.
Jiang, Ji-Li (J-B)
Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir Of The Cultural Revolution
In 1966, twelve-year-old Ji-li Jiang had everything: brains, the admiration of her classmates, and a bright future in Communist China. But that year China's leader, Mao Ze-dong, launched the Cultural Revolution, and Ji-li's world began to fall apart.
Kaysen, Susanna (B & LT-B)
In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital as renowned for its famous clientele--Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, and Ray Charles--as for its progressive methods of treating those who could afford its sanctuary.
Lobel, Anita (J-B)
No Pretty Pictures: A Childhood Of War
The author, known as an illustrator of children's books, describes her experiences as a Polish Jew during World War II and for years in Sweden afterwards.
Mathabane, Mark (968 - Adult Non-Fiction)
Kaffir Boy: The True Story Of A Black Youth's Coming Of Age In Apartheid South Africa
Mark Mathabane was weaned on devastating poverty and schooled in the cruel streets of South Africa's most desperate ghetto, where bloody gang wars and midnight police raids were his rites of passage. Yet Mark Mathabane, armed only with the courage of his family and a hard-won education, raised himself up from the squalor and humiliation to win a scholarship to an American university.
Myers, Walter Dean (J-B)
Bad Boy: A Memoir
Myers paints a fascinating picture of his childhood growing up in Harlem in the 1940s, with an adult's benefit of hindsight, wrote PW. What emerges is a clear sense of how one young man's gifts separate him from his peers, causing him to stir up trouble in order to belong.
Runyon, Brent (YA)
The Burn Journals
After a bad day at school, eighth grader Brent Runyon comes home, plays a little basketball with his brother, then goes inside, soaks his bathrobe in gasoline, and set himself on fire. Thus begins the real-life odyssey of a 14-year-old boy struggling first to survive and then to retrieve a place in the universe.
Asgedom, Mawi (YAPB)
Of beetles and angels : a boy's remarkable journey from a refugee camp to Harvard
An autobiography of a boy who, at the age of three, fled civil war in Ethiopia by walking with his mother and brother to a Sudanese refugee camp, and later moved to Chicago and earned a scholarship to Harvard University.
Jesus Land: A Memoir (373.7293 - Adult Non-Fiction)
In the name of religion, Scheeres and her adopted black brother, David, suffer cruel abuse, first in their Calvinist home in Indiana in the 1970s and then when their surgeon father and missionary-minded mother send the teens to a fundamentalist Dominican Republic reform school that is run like boot camp.
Crutcher, Chris (YA & YAPB)
Staying Fat For Sarah Byrnes
The daily class discussions about contemporary issues serve as a backdrop for a high-school senior's attempt to answer a friend's dramatic cry for help.
McKernan, Victoria (YA)
A fictionalized account of the adventures of eighteen-year-old Perce Blackborow, who stowed away for the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition and, after their ship Endurance was crushed by ice, endured many hardships, including the loss of the toes of his left foot to frostbite, during the nearly two-year return journey across sea and ice.
Mazer, Norma Fox (YA)
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.
Frank, E. R. (YA)
Teenage America, a not-black, not-white, not-anything boy who has spent many years in institutions for disturbed, antisocial behavior, tries to piece his life together.
Find more great booklists for Teens, including the latest eBooks at tcpl.org/read-it.php