Realistic Fiction (High School)

Forgoing the fantastical and exaggerated elements of genre fare, the books in this realistic fiction collection emphasize the authentic and the true to life. The titles in this collection, including Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo and I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez, are geared toward high school readers.

Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Realistic Fiction

Across a Hundred Mountains is a 2006 novel by Reyna Grande. It won the American Book Award. The novel tells the story of two women, Adelina and Juana. Every few pages, the novel alternates between each woman’s story. Adelina is an adult working at a woman’s shelter in Los Angeles and has devoted her life to searching for her father, who went missing many years ago. At the beginning of the novel, Adelina finally finds... Read Across A Hundred Mountains Summary

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Sexuality, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Romance, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Realistic Fiction

After by Anna Todd is a fan fiction novel with characters loosely based on the band members from One Direction. The novel principally features the band’s lead singer, Harry Styles, as the inspiration for main character Hardin, and Anna Todd herself as the inspiration behind the protagonist, Tessa. Todd originally wrote After on Wattpad, a social storytelling platform, but it was adapted as a published novel by Simon and Schuster in 2014. After is now... Read After Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Mental Health, Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Realistic Fiction

A Heart in a Body in the World is a young adult novel by Deb Caletti, published in 2018. The novel is a work of contemporary realism and is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book.Plot SummaryThe novel follows the story of Annabelle Agnelli, a high school senior living with her mother Gina and her brother Malcolm in Seattle, Washington. Annabelle is a talented cross-country runner, a strong student, and popular at her school. One evening... Read A Heart in a Body in the World Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: MothersTags Realistic Fiction

A List of Cages is a 2017 young adult novel by Robin Roe. The story centers on the friendship between two teenagers, Adam Blake and Julian Harlow. Adam and Julian first become friends when Adam is Julian's reading buddy in grammar school. The friendship deepens when Julian's parents die, and he lives in Adam’s house as a foster child. Although they knew each other in grammar school, the main action of this story takes place... Read A List of Cages Summary

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction

All American Boys is a young-adult novel published in 2015. This modern-day narrative tells the story of an incident of police brutality through the alternating voices of two high school students: Rashad, whose chapters are written by author Jason Reynolds, and Quinn, whose chapters are written by author Brendan Kiely. While Rashad and Quinn never actually meet in the novel, their lives intersect in a powerful way after a violent act of racism rocks their... Read All American Boys Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction

In 2012, Ayad Akhtar wrote the novel American Dervish, a coming-of-age story about a Pakistani-American boy in 1980s Milwaukee. Akhtar, a Pakistani-American writer and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, explores love of God and love of others through the prisms of religion, family, and romantic love in this novel. This guide refers to the hardcover first edition. Plot SummaryThe Prologue introduces narrator Hayat Shah, a college student whose mother’s best friend Mina has just died of cancer. The... Read American Dervish Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Realistic Fiction

American Street is a contemporary coming-of-age novel by Haitian American young adult author Ibi Zoboi. It was published in 2017 and was a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature the same year. Plot SummaryAmerican Street tells the story of a teenage Haitian immigrant named Fabiola who moves back home to the United States, her country of birth. As she and her mother are reentering the US, immigrant authorities seize Fabiola’s mother... Read American Street Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Realistic Fiction, LGBTQ

Mark Oshiro’s 2018 debut novel Anger Is a Gift is a work of contemporary fiction for young adults exploring the realities of police brutality and racist oppression people of color experience in America. This study guide uses the 2018 edition published by Tor (ISBN: 978-1-250-16702-6). Oshiro is a queer author of color, and this novel seeks to highlight the racial divide in America. He shows through this book that there is no universal American experience... Read Anger Is a Gift Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Realistic Fiction, LGBTQ, Relationships, Bullying, Parenting, American Literature

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz is a young adult fiction novel published in 2012. The novel won a Lambda Literary Award, a Pura Belpre Award, and a Stonewall Book Award. It was also named a Printz Honor Book. Told from a first-person point of view, the book is a work of realistic fiction set in El Paso, Texas, in the late 1980s.Plot SummaryAristotle “Ari” Mendoza is the... Read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Summary

Publication year 2021Genre Essay Collection, NonfictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Identity: Language, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Society: EducationTags Realistic Fiction, Arts / Culture, Education, Russian Literature

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction

Lauren Wolk’s historical novel Beyond the Bright Sea (2017) takes place in 1925. Its narrator, 12-year-old Crow, was put to sea alone in a boat just hours after her birth. Now, she lives on the Elizabeth Islands off the coast of Massachusetts with the solitary painter who found her, Osh. As Crow searches for clues about her birth family and origins, she also strengthens bonds with Osh and the world she has grown up in... Read Beyond the Bright Sea Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: FriendshipTags Realistic Fiction

Boy21 tells the story of Finley McManus, the only white student on his high school’s varsity basketball team. Finley narrates this piece of young adult fiction that deals with the violence and, tangentially, the racism prevalent within American society.The novel begins in Finley’s memory: he is learning how to play basketball as an escape from the trauma within his Bellmont community. He meets a girl, Erin Quinn, who becomes his best friend, and they practice... Read Boy21 Summary

Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Emotions/Behavior: GuiltTags Realistic Fiction

Breathing Underwater is a 2001 young adult novel by author Alex Flinn that tells the story of Nick Andreas, a wealthy teenage boy who struggles with his abusive father and abuses his girlfriend, Caitlin. When she files a restraining order and he must take a court-ordered family violence class, Nick begins to reevaluate his behavior and troubled past. As Nick is forced to face his emotional damage, he learns that change and growth are possible. Flinn’s... Read Breathing Underwater Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Regret, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Literature, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Fathers, Life/Time: The PastTags Historical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Grief / Death

Publication year 1997Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction

Buried Onions (1996), by Gary Soto, is a heart-wrenching slice-of-life, stream-of-consciousness novel that allows us to peer into the lifestyles available to young men growing up on the poverty-stricken and predominately Mexican-American south side of Fresno, California.The novel guides us through several weeks in the life of Eddie, a nineteen-year-old Mexican American and the narrator of this first-person story. Eddie strives to be responsible, is mostly honest, and attempts gamely to understand the world around... Read Buried Onions Summary

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Relationships: Fathers, Emotions/Behavior: LonelinessTags Bullying, Realistic Fiction

Bystander (2011) is a teen/young adult novel by James Preller that explores middle school bullying and the factors that enable it. Griffin Connelly, a two-faced bully, uses his charisma and good looks to keep members of his school clique in line as he perpetrates acts of cruelty against weaker classmates. No one stands up to Griffin until Eric Hayes, a newcomer, disrupts the status quo—questioning Griffin’s bullying and the silent complicity of the other students.The... Read Bystander Summary

Publication year 2004Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Society: Immigration, Relationships: Family, Identity: LanguageTags Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction

Challenger Deep, a 2015 novel by Neal Shusterman, offers an account of mental illness as experienced by a teenage boy. Shusterman’s son Brendan was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder at age 16. His experience with the illness influenced Neal to write Challenger Deep. Brendan’s drawings appear throughout the book as Caden’s artwork. The book garnered the 2015 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.Plot SummaryWhen the novel begins, Caden is 15 years old. He is a... Read Challenger Deep Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Society: ClassTags Romance, Realistic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Realistic Fiction

Isabel Allende’s novel City of the Beasts tells the story of Alex Cold, a fifteen-year-old boy from California who accompanies his journalist grandmother on a life-altering journey through the Amazon.  The narrative opens with Alex at home in California, angry and frightened over the illness of his mother, who is undergoing cancer treatment. When his mother gets a chance at receiving a promising new treatment in Texas, Alex’s parents send him to stay with his paternal grandmother, the adventurer... Read City of the Beasts Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction

Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Realistic Fiction

Code Orange is a young adult novel published in 2005 by the best-selling author Caroline B. Cooney. The main character is Mitty Blake, a lackluster high school student living in Manhattan. When he is assigned to write a research project on an infectious disease for biology class, he does as little as possible for his assignment, as always. But in the process of learning about smallpox, the disease he finally chooses, he discovers two smallpox... Read Code Orange Summary

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Identity: Race, Society: ImmigrationTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Realistic Fiction, Race / Racism, Social Justice, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Black Lives Matter, American Literature

Publication year 1986Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction

Crabbe is the story of Franklin Crabbe, an eighteen-year old native of Toronto who struggles with the conventional expectations of his affluent parents and teachers. Highly intelligent but riddled with resentment and anxiety, Crabbe (as he prefers to be called) decides to run away to the Canadian wilderness. Once in the wilderness, the inexperienced Crabbe encounters a series of life-threatening challenges that he overcomes only with the help of another fugitive, Mary Pallas, and the lessons... Read Crabbe Summary

Publication year 2004Genre Novel/Book in Verse, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Mental Health, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: Masculinity, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Realistic Fiction, Romance, Addiction / Substance Abuse, Mental Illness

Publication year 2006Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: GlobalizationTags Realistic Fiction

Crossing the Wire tells the story of Victor Flores, a Mexican teenager who leaves his village of Los Árboles to illegally cross the border into the United States. Victor’s father died while working in the U.S. four years earlier, leaving Victor “the man of the family” (14). His family has been living off of the money Victor makes farming corn, but free trade agreements with the U.S. have made Mexican corn worthless. The only option... Read Crossing the Wire Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Teams, Relationships: FriendshipTags Realistic Fiction

Darius the Great Is Not Okay is a coming-of-age novel by Iranian American writer Adib Khorram. Originally published in 2018 by Dial Books, the novel echoes Khorram’s experiences growing up in a multiethnic family with a history of mental illnesses. The book, which is Khorram’s first, won the William C. Morris YA Debut Award in 2019. A sequel entitled Darius the Great Deserves Better was published in August 2020. Plot SummaryDarius Kellner is a high school... Read Darius the Great Is Not Okay Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction

Dear Evan Hansen is a novel published in 2018. It was written by Val Emmich, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul. The authors adapted the novel from the original Broadway musical of the same name, which they also wrote. The musical premiered in July 2015 in Washington, DC, debuted on Broadway in 2016, and later won six Tony Awards in 2017, including Best Musical. This guide refers to the Poppy/Little, Brown, and Company edition... Read Dear Evan Hansen Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: RaceTags Realistic Fiction, Race / Racism

Dear Martin by Nic Stone was originally published in 2017. It is a work of realistic fiction that provides a frank depiction of identity, racism, and adolescence in contemporary America. The New York Times bestseller also gained attention when it was named as a finalist for the William C. Morris award. The version used for this guide is the trade paperback of the Ember imprint by Random House Children's Books. Plot SummaryThe novel follows Justyce... Read Dear Martin Summary

Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Trust & DoubtTags Realistic Fiction

Does My Head Look Big in This? is a young adult debut novel by Randa Abdel-Fattah, an Australian writer of Palestinian and Egyptian origin, published in Australia in 2005. It is a story set in 2002, telling of 16-year-old Melbourne-born Amal, who decides to start wearing a hijab (religious veil) as a representation of her Muslim faith, and the reactions and repercussions that stem from her decision. The novel, which covers topics of Islamophobia (fear... Read Does My Head Look Big In This? Summary

Publication year 2000Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Friendship, Relationships: Fathers, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Realistic Fiction, Romance, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Relationships

In Dreamland, a young adult novel by Sarah Dessen, a teenage girl named Caitlin O’Koren reacts to the disappearance of her sister by breaking away from the path that was set out for her. The novel is broken into three parts that focus on the core of the conflicts in each section. Part I, “Cass,” traces the O’Koren family after Cass, the eldest of two daughters, runs away instead of attending Yale. Part II, entitled... Read Dreamland Summary

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Beauty, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: Daughters & SonsTags Realistic Fiction

Dumplin’, a YA novel by author Julie Murphy, is about a small-town Texas teen named Willowdean “Will” Dixon. Will is the book’s main character and first-person narrator. Through Will’s narration, the book tells the story of Will’s weight and how it affects her relationships with her former beauty pageant winning mother, Rosie Dixon; with her pretty best friend, Ellen Dryver; and with her romantic interest and coworker, the heartthrob Bo Larson. However, Will thinks that... Read Dumplin Summary

Publication year 1952Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Relationships: FamilyTags American Literature, Classic Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Realistic Fiction, Drama / Tragedy, Relationships, Class, Religion / Spirituality

John Steinbeck’s East of Eden is an American classic. A work of contemporary fiction, the novel was a popular success upon its 1952 publication, quickly rising to the top of the fiction bestseller list. It has remained in print ever since and is still a widely read and well-respected book. Steinbeck published 33 books, including nonfiction, and received the Nobel Prize in 1962 for his contribution to American letters. His most famous works are the... Read East of Eden Summary

Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction, Bullying

In Eleanor and Park, we introduced to the young teenager, Park, who is half-Korean and somewhat of an outcast at school. He would prefer to read comics or listen to music than make new friends, and he is bullied from time to time by his peers. One day, Park sees Eleanor Douglas get on his bus, and from that point forward, his life is changed forever.In many ways, Eleanor is a target for bullies. She... Read Eleanor and Park Summary

Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction

Every Day is the 2012 young adult novel by David Levithan. The protagonist of this teen fantasy, who is referred to as “A,” is a 16-year old with a very strange life. Every day “he” wakes up in the body of a new person. One of the only things that remains consistent is that A is always A, no matter the body. A has their own thoughts and feelings, although they often sense what their... Read Every Day Summary

Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FriendshipTags Realistic Fiction, Mental Illness, Bullying

Every Last Word, by Tamara Ireland Stone, is a young-adult novel published in 2015. Samantha McAllister, the book’s protagonist, is a junior in high school who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). While Samantha appears like any average teenage girl, underneath the surface she is different from the majority of her peers: dark thoughts, incessant worries, and an obsession with the number three plagues nearly all of her waking moments. Through Samantha’s struggle to navigate... Read Every Last Word Summary

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: TeamsTags Realistic Fiction

Every Soul a Star is a young adult novel by Wendy Mass that takes three clichés of adolescence—the Brainiac, the Pretty Girl, and the Antisocial Misfit—and develops them into psychologically nuanced characters who are at once sympathetic and believable. The novel was published in 2008, well after Mass had established her reputation as a foremost young adult fiction writer of the new millennium. Her prolific output—nearly 30 titles in just under 15 years—has secured a... Read Every Soul a Star Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Immigration, Natural World: Place, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Siblings, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Fathers, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Natural World: Animals, Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Society: Education, Relationships: Marriage, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Nation, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Relationships: GrandparentsTags Auto/Biographical Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Immigration / Refugee, History: Middle Eastern

Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Identity: Race, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: Family, Society: Class, Society: CommunityTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Bullying, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Grief / Death, Race / Racism, Education

Originally published in 2014, Fake ID is a mystery/thriller novel written by Lamar Giles and intended for young adults. The narrator and main character is Nick Pearson, a 15-year-old who has just moved to Stepton, Virginia, becoming a Black student in a predominantly white setting. Nick and his family are in the Federal Witness Protection Program (WITSEC). Unintentionally, he finds himself involved in a love triangle and a mysterious murder.As a Black author, Giles is... Read Fake ID Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Relationships: SiblingsTags Realistic Fiction, LGBTQ, Parenting, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Natural World: FoodTags Action / Adventure, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Realistic Fiction

Set in Canada, American author Will Hobbs’s young-adult novel Far North (1996) follows Gabe Rogers, who lives with his grandparents in Austin, Texas. When Gabe tells his father that he wants to live with him in Canada, his father tells him he may on two conditions. First, Gabe must travel up north to experience the severe cold of the Northwest Territories for one year. Second, he must attend boarding school. While flying through Canada with... Read Far North Summary

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Race, Identity: Gender, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags LGBTQ, Romance, Realistic Fiction

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction

Rachael Lippincott’s 2018 novel Five Feet Apart portrays the intense relationship between meticulous Stella Grant and charming but rebellious Will Newman as they navigate life with cystic fibrosis. A genetic disease that affects both the respiratory and digestive system, cystic fibrosis significantly reduces the life span of those affected and limits their interactions with one another for fear of bacterial cross-infection. Alternating between the first-person point of view of both Stella and Will, the novel... Read Five Feet Apart Summary

Publication year 1990Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction

William Bell’s 1990 young adult fiction novel, Forbidden City: A Novel of Modern China, dramatizes the story of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre. The coming-of-age story is told in diary form, narrated from the point of view of a 17-year-old Canadian high school student, Alex Jackson. During the massacre, Alex comes very close to losing everything he holds dear, as he becomes separated from his reporter father, Ted Jackson, and has to trust to the... Read Forbidden City Summary

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Teams, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Relationships: Friendship, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Fathers, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Identity: Masculinity, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: FearTags Sports, Realistic Fiction, Disability

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction

Girl in Pieces is the New York Times bestselling young adult contemporary novel by Kathleen Glasgow originally published in 2016. It was a New York Public Library Best Book for Teens selection and Amelia Bloomer Project Award Selection. The novel explores a teen’s recovery journey from self-harm, exploring the roles of community, healthy patterns, and acceptance of dualities. This study guide refers to the 2016 paperback edition. Plot SummaryThe novel opens with Charlotte “Charlie” Davis... Read Girl in Pieces Summary

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: FriendshipTags Realistic Fiction

Monica Hesse’s 2016 novel Girl in the Blue Coat was the winner of the Edgar Award for best YA Mystery. Its events take place during two weeks in January 1943, during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam. The narrator, Hanneke Bakker, is an 18-year-old who lost her boyfriend, Sebastian “Bas” Van de Kamp, two years before the events of the novel. As far as her parents know, Hanneke works as a receptionist for an undertaker, Mr... Read Girl in the Blue Coat Summary

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: FamilyTags Realistic Fiction

Goodbye Days is a young adult novel by Jeff Zentner. Published in 2017, it follows a teenage boy, Carver Briggs, who is grappling with the deaths of his three best friends. All three boys died in a car crash on their way to pick up Carver from work. Carver’s survivor’s guilt is exacerbated by the fact that he’s facing a possible criminal investigation for “negligent homicide” for his supposed role in the accident. Carver texted... Read Goodbye Days Summary

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction

Yessenia Lopez—a 16-year-old, wheelchair-bound Puerto Rican girl from inner city Chicago—arrives at ILLC from juvie after violently assaulting her classmate in school. With absent parents and a recently deceased guardian (Tía Nene), she is explosive and struggles to get along with her peers. However, she develops friendships with a few of her roommates and caring adult employees, like Joanne and Jimmie. Though she hates ILLC and finds it to be demeaning, she has nowhere else... Read Good Kings Bad Kings Summary

Publication year 1898Genre Short Story, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate, Values/Ideas: Equality, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Self Discovery, Society: Class, Society: Community, Society: Education, Society: NationTags Classic Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Historical Fiction, Class, Finance / Money / Wealth, Education, History: World, Social Justice

“Gooseberries,” by Russian author Anton Chekhov, is a short story that uses symbolism, subtlety, irony, and keen observation of human behavior to explore themes of the quest for happiness, the meaning of life, social expectations, privilege, and social equality. Written in mid-1898, the story is the second in what was later referred to as The Little Trilogy, together with “The Man in the Case” and “About Love.” All three stories explore the definitions of happiness... Read Gooseberries Summary