Stardust. By Neil Gaiman. 1999.
Morrow, $15.99 (9780061142024).
In Gaiman’s superb fantasy, 17-year-old
Tristran Thorn retrieves for his beloved
a star that has fallen on the other side of
their walled city, and discovers Faerie,
where nothing is as it seems.
The Complete Persepolis. By Marjane
Satrapi. 2003. Pantheon, $24.95
Satrapi’s extraordinary, two-part memoir
in comics reflects her perspective of the
unrest in her native Iran throughout her
youth in the 1980s and ’90s and provides
excellent curriculum support for teens.
The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar
Wao. By Junot Díaz. 2007. Riverhead,
Díaz reaches to the very core of teenage
longing with this Dominican American
family saga, spun around the incomparable
teen “ghetto nerd” Oscar.
Just Kids. By Patti Smith. 2010. Ecco,
Teens will love the godmother of punk’s
memoir of becoming an artist in New
York City, in the late 1960s and early ’70s,
alongside her friend Robert Mapplethorpe.
The Night Circus. By Erin Morgenstern.
2011. Doubleday/Anchor, $16
Two young, dueling magicians navigat-
This Boy’s Life. By Tobias
cisco in 1949, start a weekly club to
celebrate life in the midst of sorrow.
Characters connecting and coming-
of-age across generations make this a
perfect pick for teens.
Wolff. 1989. Grove/Atlantic, $16
Wolff’s tragicomic memoir of his near
juvenile delinquency proves his teen self
to be a survivor of a harsh, bitter, and
often uncomfortably familiar world, and
it will inspire today’s teens as it did those
of earlier eras.
The Things They Carried. By Tim
O’Brien. 1990. Houghton, $15.99
This collection of interrelated short
stories, a kind of “faction,” vividly reconstructs the emotions and experiences
of O’Brien’s platoon of fellow American
soldiers in Vietnam and can serve as
an accessible depiction of how war can
shape the creative process.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
By Stephen Chbosky. 1999.
Simon & Schuster/MTV, $14.99
Chbosky’s novel, featuring letters
written by 15-year-old Charlie to an
unidentified recipient, could just as easily have been published as YA and was
adapted into a popular film.
ing love and life while performing in a
traveling circus at the turn of the twentieth century make this a natural choice for
graduates of Harry Potter U.
Between the World and Me. By Ta-
Nehisi Coates. 2015. Spiegel & Grau,
Coates’ book, written in the form of a
letter to his teenage son, is a meditation
on what it means to be black in America
today, and it is sure to become required
reading for high-school students—if it
Another Brooklyn. By Jacqueline
Woodson. 2016. Harper, $22.99
Woodson—already a household name
for YAs—introduces adult August, who,
after her father’s death, remembers her
Brooklyn youth in evocative flashbacks.
Saving Alex: When I Was Fifteen I Told
My Mormon Parents I Was Gay, and
That’s When My Nightmare Began. By
Alex Cooper. 2016. Harper, $24.99
Cooper’s memoir recounts what
happened, at age 15, after she came
out to her parents: eight months spent
in an unlicensed residential facility
that promised to “cure” her. A horrifying, captivating story that demands
to be read.
Cover imagery from The Complete Maus, Another Brooklyn, The Things They Carried, Jaws, and Persepolis.