Callie lives in the shadows of others: her constantly sick brother, her mother who obsessively shields him, and her emotionally mute father. No one seems to notice Callie until a school nurse sees the cuts on her arms. Sent to a treatment center, Callie refuses to discuss her home situation, relying on silence to protect her. But time is running out for her and her family.

McCormick, Patricia. Cut. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 2002.


Diagnosis: Incurable disease. One year to live. No one knows but you and your doctor who must keep quiet because you are 18. You plan to live your senior year to the fullest without telling anyone. But then, is it really about you?

Crutcher, Chris. Deadline. New York: HarperCollins Publishing, 2007.


Isolated from his conservative father and meek mother, 14-year-old Jaime runs away from the military boarding school he’s been sent to because of his shoplifting and pot smoking. While hiding out in Portland, he survives with several other young people on the streets. After finding out his older gay brother has cancer, Jaime travels across the country from Portland to Tennessee. The one constant throughout the journey is a notebook in which he records his experiences through rambling letters. Uncensored language, drug use, sexual experiences and questions about gender keep the story rolling as he interacts with many people along his mission.

Rapp, Adam. Punkzilla. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press, 2009.

onewholeandperfect.jpgOne Whole and Perfect Day

Lily's grandfather threatens to take an axe to her deadbeat brother. Her mother constantly works, neglecting the real needs of her family. Lily is tired of worrying about her dysfunctional family. Through a series of "chance encounters," all characters are confronted with their problems and must decide how to put the pieces of their lives together.

Clarke, Judith. One Whole and Perfect Day. Asheville, NC: Boyds Mill Press Inc., 2006.


(graphic novel)stichesbigger.jpg

For David Small, the most monumental event of his teenage years was awakening from what he thought was a simple little operation and finding a huge, Frankenstein-ish wound running along his neck. Not only was he permanently scarred, but he could hardly speak above a whisper for 10 years. He uncovers the truth behind his operation and begins to learn many secrets that were kept hidden. In this graphic novel, the art strongly compliments the story of a sad and lonely existence in a family that considers David an afterthought, if at all.

Small, David. Stitches. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2009.

33snowfishbig.jpg33 Snowfish

Custis, barely a tweener, runs away from his "bondage master" after hearing he may be used in a "Snuff" film. Traveling with two other main characters, Custis begins the story by describing teenager Boobie pouring Gatorade down his pants because he's got the clap. Having killed his parents, Boobie is also on the run. Then there's Curl, a 15-year-old prostitute and drug addict, who is trying to take care of a kidnapped baby they hope to sell for money.

Rapp, Adam. 33 Snowfish. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, Inc. 2006.



33 calls. Lia's ex-best friend friend called her 33 times before she killed herself in a motel room. But this is not so much the story of Cassie's suicide, but of Lia's battle with her own "killer" as anorexia torments her mind and and attacks her body.

Anderson, Laurie Halse. Wintergirls. New York: Penguin Books, Ltd., 2009.