The turbulence of the teenage is something that is hard to deal with, broken hearts, star-crossed love, abuse, and addictions are some major hiccups in a teen’s life. And when you find solace through books to these crisis, it becomes like the bible to your unanswered questions.
“Watching people like Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Mae Whitman who never had prom, never really had a proper graduation, because they were always working, and watching those kids get to have a high school experience that we all take for granted was very special.”
― Stephen Chbosky Author/Director – The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower follows the dual life of Charlie, one as an introvert who writes letters to suppress his tragic past, and one in which he lives the life of a typical teen drinking, smoking, doing drugs, dealing with matters of heart in his high school with a popular group headed by two seniors Patrick, who is secretly dating a closeted football player and Sam his feisty sister. Charlie has to deal with his feelings of affection and learn to earn the respect of the rest of the group along with coping up from the memories of his turbulent past. The book is an coming-of-age insight into teenage life.
Life as a teenager can be tough, especially with loads of emotional and mental challenges coming your way, and taking decisions can become a real hard task. Sometimes, books are a way to escape into a world that provides comfort and answers a lot of questions. We tend to identify with the characters in the book and may even find a solution for our present day situations. As author Stephen Chbosky puts it, “It’s strange because sometimes, I read a book, and I think I am the people in the book.” Let us take a look at some similar books that deal with the ups and down of teen life.
Books Just Like The Perks Of Being a Wallflower
The Fault In Our Stars
“I will not tell you our love story, because-like all real love stories-it will die with us, as it should.”
Author: John Green
The story follows the star-crossed romance of two cancer-stricken teens Hazel and Augustus who meet each other at a support group for cancer patients. Their instant bonding leads them to spending time with each other, as a way to strengthen their friendship they recommend each other their favorite book to read, Augustus recommends The Price of Dawn, and Hazel recommends An Imperial Affliction. Augustus feels frustrated on reading the book because it has an abrupt ending, Hazel explains that the writer Peter Van Houten had retreated to Amsterdam and has not been heard since. In a bid to solve the ending, Augustus traces Lidewij, Von Houten’s assistant. Hazel is excited and starts an email conversation with her idol author only to be invited by him to Amsterdam to discuss the ending. Due to health and financial restraints, Hazel is warded off from making the perilous journey. As a stroke of luck, Augustus arranges for the trip through Make a Wish, and the two embark on a memorable trip together. On reaching Amsterdam, they find out that Van Houten is nothing else but a mean drunkard who insults and makes fun of Hazel’s condition. Hazel is shocked with this behavior but soon forgets about it as romance brews between her and Augustus. Everything turns grim again when Augustus announces that his cancer has relapsed, and he won’t live long. Soon Augustus succumbs to his condition. Hazel is grief stricken at his funeral and says a different eulogy. She notices Van Houten also at the funeral and learns that he had a daughter named Anna who died of cancer, he states that Augustus had sent him an eulogy meant for Hazel. The book ends with her reading Augustus’ eulogy, and she in a sense of satisfaction for making her choices.
Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
This disturbing and emotional story deals with teen depression and suicide. How bullying and malicious rumors can cause someone to end his/her life. Hannah Baker a vibrant teen suddenly commits suicide leaving behind her suicide note in a set of seven cassette tapes, which are later mailed to 12 people as a chain letter, stating how they are individually responsible for her death. The thirteen stories in those tapes are as follows. The first starts with Justin Foley being her first crush who kisses her at the park and then spreads the rumor that they made out. 2. At school Hannah is titled ‘Best Ass of the Freshman Class’ by Alex Standall this enrages Jessica Davis. 3. An upset Jessica Davis hits Hannah on the forehead giving her a scar. 4. Peeping Tom Tyler Down allegedly takes pictures of Hannah while she is in her room. 5. Courtney Crimson starts rumors that Hannah keeps sex toys in her room. 6. Marcus tries to make out with her in a booth on Valentine’s Day, which Hannah rejects. 7. Zach steals the notes of encouragement left for Hannah in her peer communications class comforting her about the Marcus incident. 8. Ryan Shaver publishes one of Hannah’s original poem as his own, in spite of her trusting him in the poetry class. 9. Clay confesses his feelings for her, and they kiss which makes her feel good. 10. Justin Foley makes Bryce Walker have sex with Hannah when she is unconscious. 11. Jenny took her car after party and knocked off a stop sign that lead to a fatal accident as Jenny didn’t report the incident. 12. Bryce Walker and Hannah make out, making Hannah regret it later. 13.The guidance counselor Mr. Porter ignores Hannah’s suicidal tendency and lets her go from his office without offering her help. Thus prompting her to commit suicide as she is entangled in a web of lies, deceit, and rumors, and holding all thirteen responsible for her death.
Before I Fall
“Sometimes I’m afraid to go to sleep because of what I’m leaving behind.”
Author: Lauren Oliver
The story follows the charmed and perfect life of Sam Kingston, who is the popular elite in school with a perfect boyfriend, best friends, and a rich, have-it-all life. It makes her mean and unappreciative of what she’s got, until one day, on a fateful Friday after a party, she is killed in a car crash. The story takes a twist showing Sam wake up repetitively for seven days enacting her day of death correcting the mistakes that lead to her death, and eventually, finding a second chance to undo her mistakes and appreciate the things she took for granted. It provides a glimpse on the challenges, like sex, drugs and the high-end of life, that every teen faces during a point of time, yet how these can affect the teen’s life deeply is a concern.
Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
“But I guess you don’t see the planets when you’re staring at the sun. You just get blinded.”
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
This musical teen romantic comedy begins with a ‘five-minute date’ when Nick O’Leary, a bass player in a self-described queercore band, asks Norah Silverberg, the neurotic daughter of the music industry executive, to be his girlfriend for 5 minutes in order to make his ex, Tris, jealous. Nick and Norah share the same taste in music and end up attending secret concerts, dates, and avoiding clinging exes. The book is written from Nick and Norah’s point of view, alternatively, making it an engaging and funny read.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares
“I want to believe there is a somebody out there for me. I want to believe that I exist to be there for that somebody.”
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
This fun and romantic comedy follows the life of Dash, who ends up in Manhattan on his own, a week before Christmas, away from his divorced parents. Idealing his time in a book store, he comes across a red notebook with a series of clues that sets him on a scavenger hunt, which leads him to a girl called Lily. He has to construct his own set of clues for her to dare and do. Lily bored with her life and in search of the right guy, follows the dares that are mentioned in the book. Will the two eventually meet ?, It generates a fun and adventurous story where the characters dare each other to do things which they have never done before.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
”My school and my tribe are so poor and sad that we have to study from the same dang books our parents studied from. That is absolutely saddest thing in the world.”
Author: Sherman Alexie
A true classic dealing with racism, it’s about a boy who is hydrocephalic, meaning he was born with water in his brain and has a big head that makes him a subject of ridicule and humiliation in his new school. He chronicles his life in a diary writing about his canine friend Oscar, his best friend a tough guy named Rowdy, his journey to a white school Reardan High School, where he meets his first crush Penelope and gets picked on by the school bully Roger. He feels like an outcast in his community because of attending the white school. Finally, on advise from his father, he joins basketball and excels in it. The book ends with him reconciling with his best friend Rowdy and him accepting that he is a multi-tribe, without solely being based as a ‘white’ or ‘Indian’.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
“People are screwed up in this world. I’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.”
Author: Ned Vizzini
It is indeed a kind of funny story about a 15-year-old Brooklyn boy, Craig Gilner, who gets depressed and stressed about his college entrance exam and his plans about getting the perfect score, entering the perfect college and getting the right job on Wall Street. Unable to deal with the stress anymore, he calls a suicide hotline, that suggest him to go to the emergency room. It leads him to spend five days on Six North, the adult psychiatric floor of his local hospital. Six North provides him the perfect environment to heal and rejuvenate himself from the stress of school life, drugs, sex, and popular Egyptian music, he returns to his first love, art, and makes some special friends in the psychiatric ward who help him in the process of healing.
The Catcher in The Rye
“Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.”
Author: J.D. Salinger
The novel’s protagonist has become an icon of teenage rebellion. Holden Caulfield is expelled from school ‘Pencey Prep’ because of his failing grades and his rebellious behavior resulting in a fight with his roommate Stradlater. He leaves school two days early to explore New York City and comes across a variety of characters in his escapade, like teachers, prostitutes, nuns, an old girlfriend, and his sister. This classic illustrates the angst of being a teen, and the struggles against growing up.
Looking For Alaska
“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”
Author: John Green
Miles Halter abandons his safe and boring life to go to Alabama Boarding School, where he is soon absorbed in the world of a rebellious group headed by Chip ‘The Colonel’ Martin and Alaska Young who is a rebellious, attractive, and emotionally unstable girl. Miles is soon named ‘Pudge’ by the group, and he entangles himself in their world of drinking, and playing elaborate pranks on the school dean and the rival school group. Pudge falls impossibly in love with Alaska, who already has a boyfriend. On the eve of an epic prank to be played on the dean, tragedy strikes the group when Alaska plows into a police car, drunk, and dies. Pudge and Colonel are left reflecting about her coming to terms with her death and puzzling over whether or not she killed herself. They come to terms with their own guilt and choice of living and loving unconditionally.
“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.”
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
The novel is an exceptional read, dealing about date rape and the traumatic experience faced by the victim. It follows the story of high school student Melinda Sordino who meets Andy Evans at a senior party before the summer freshman year of high school. Andy rapes Melinda in the woods, a terrified and shocked Melinda calls the police but is unable to speak, the police bust the party, and hence, Melinda is despised by her peers in school. She ends up being alone and victimized, having to take refuge in an old janitor’s closet in school to escape the taunts and ridicule. She slips into depression and begins to skip school withdrawing from her parents and other authoritative figures who think she is trying to gain attention through her silence. She befriends her lab partner David Petrakis who encourages her to tell the truth. The truth comes out when Andy attacks her and everybody realize that she is a victim and stop treating her like an outcast. Hailed as a hero for speaking up for herself, she finally finds freedom from the world of silence she had built around her.
All the above novels depict coming-of-age, classic, teen stories that one can read and identify with. Hope you have enjoyed the list and add them to your favorites.