With recent news headlines in mind, we have a list of young adult fiction novels for teens or anyone experiencing a significant loss, whatever the circumstances.
Starr Carter navigates two worlds, an upscale suburban preparatory school and the impoverished city neighborhoods where she lives. After a police officer shoots and kills her unarmed, best friend, Khalil, these worlds start to collide. While National News headlines speculate, calling him a drug dealer and gang member, Starr must confront her grief, all the while facing the injustices in her community. This extremely relevant and timely novel is a great read for people of any age.
To cope with the loss of her mother, Juliet writes letters, but one day she receives a response from Declan, a troubled boy doing court-ordered community service at a graveyard. As they open up to each other, they both think they are perfect strangers until, at a pivotal point, one of them realizes they are not. This story, told through two different first-person perspectives, is a great read for anyone who is experiencing or has experienced grief.
When Griffin’s ex-boyfriend Theo dies, no one, but Jackson, the boy he was seeing just before his death can understand what Griffin is dealing with. Together the two realize that Theo was not perfect and that oftentimes the dead are immortalized as so. If you’ve ever lost someone you cared about, even if you lost touch with them before they died, the grief is no easier. This is a perfect book for readers experiencing the loss of a significant person in their lives, no matter how much time has passed.
In this novel, new college student, Marin, picks up and travels from California to New York after the death of her mother. Over winter break, she isolates herself in her dorm so that she won’t have to talk to anyone or think about anything that happened back in California, but when her best friend from back home shows up at her door, she will have to start to confront her grief. Anyone experiencing a great change–whether that be the death of a family member, moving far away, or a change of friendships or careers, will gain a new perspective while reading through Marin’s experience with grief.
The only thing Ryan, Harley, and Miles had in common was their friendship with Isaac. When Isaac dies unexpectedly, the three sidekicks come together in grief and learn about one another, even discovering new things about themselves. This novel demonstrates the sadness and strangeness that comes with losing a friend, how it can simultaneously tear those from us while bringing others together.