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Topic: YA for older teens: Dark and Mature Themes

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Subject: YA for older teens: Dark and Mature Themes
Date Posted: 11/19/2008 11:35 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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I work primarily with older teens. We have reluctant readers, readers below grade level or non-readers. Topics they're drawn to, would likely to want to explore but not necessarily talk about would include topics such as rape, molestation, drugs, incarceration, dysfunctional families, mental illness, domestic violence, abandoment, body image, low-self esteem, sexual orientation and sexuality.

What would you recommend? I'll list what I've read shortly.

Date Posted: 11/20/2008 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2008
Posts: 16,558
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I've heard good things about The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman. Also there are several by Paul Volponi that would fit what you are looking for.



Last Edited on: 11/20/08 3:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/20/2008 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2008
Posts: 16,558
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Oh! Darkness Before Dawn and Forged By Fire by Sharon Draper

Date Posted: 11/25/2008 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
Posts: 1
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I suggest Go Ask Alice and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Date Posted: 11/26/2008 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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Probably the darkest YA book I've read is the Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos. It's pretty short (well under 200 pages).   It's defininitely not for everyone.

I'd also recommend No Choirboy: Murder, Violence and Teens on Death Row by Susan Kuklin. It's non-fiction, but is not dry. It's also fairly short.

Have you tried the Bluford series published by Townsend?  It's a 15 book series targeted towards reluctant readers and is set in an urban environment. I highly recommend them.  More info: http://www.townsendpress.com/product/97.aspx  



Last Edited on: 11/26/08 4:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/27/2008 2:51 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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We have a few of them. Personally, I'm not initially impressed but I can be a book snob. I will be adding them though because my priority is to get them reading not getting them to read what I think is good. lol

Which have you read? What do you like about them? Which are favorites?

Date Posted: 11/27/2008 3:06 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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I recommend:

 

 

Jacqueline Woodson. Hands down, favorite YA author

 From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun ( issues or sexuality, race, coming of age)

Lena (sexual abuse, coming of age, race, friendship)

The House You Pass On the Way (sexuality, sexual orientation, coming of age, friendship, race)

If You Come Softly (interracial relationships, race, diversity, coming of age, teen romance)

The Dear One (teen pregnancy, alternative families, race, biracial issues, sexual orientation)

 

Burn by Black Artemis (hip-hop, race, grafiti writers diversity, transgendered, sexual orientation, family, H.I.V)

 

Rita Garcia-Williams

No Laughter Here (female genital multilation, multicultural, coming of age, friendship)

Everytime A Rainbow Dies (multicultural, rape, coming of age, teen romance)

 

Lori A. Williams

When Kambia Elaine Flew In From Neptune  (sexual abuse, coming of age, friendship)

Shayla's Double Browns

 

First Part Last by Angela Johnson (teen pregnancy, adoption, family)

 

Patricia Mccormick

Sold (sex slave trade in India)

Cut 

Life is Funny by E.R. Frank (Series of short stories with recurring characters; molestation, cultural assimilation, abandoment, adoption, loss)

 

Parable of Sower & Parable of Talents  by Octavia butlter (dytopia fiction)

 

Date Posted: 11/27/2008 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2006
Posts: 15,930
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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a good one that deals with rape.

Date Posted: 11/29/2008 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2008
Posts: 73
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Crank and Glass (both by Ellen Hopkins), deal with mostly drugs and running away from your problems. Lots of pages, but only probably 30 or so words per page. Very easy reads. You could check out Burned and Impulse also by ellen hopkins. They aren't sequels, but they deal with different problems teens have. 

Date Posted: 12/2/2008 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2008
Posts: 11
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Fantasy that meets above criteria:

Deerskin by Robin McKinley

The Armless Maiden ed by Terri Windling (short stories)

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

Dreams Underfoot (short stories) and Someplace To Be Flying by Charles de Lint

Subject: Dark & mature themes
Date Posted: 12/2/2008 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2008
Posts: 11
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De Lint has recently written some very good YA that your students might like a lot:

The Blue Girl

Waifs and Strays

Have you read the Francesca Lia Block Wetzie Bat books?

Date Posted: 12/2/2008 3:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2008
Posts: 573
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Hi Julia,

I have only read

The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

Thanks for the list.