Charlie is only 15, and his voice has that naive quality to it of a freshman being tossed into the deep end of the pool called high school. Today’s YA tends to feature older protagonists, even if they’re dealing with similarly difficult situations.
Perks is a voice-driven, realistic YA title with poignant turns of phrase, a relatable and likable character, and it evokes a strong sense of emotion and nostalgia from the reader. This is going to be a lengthier list because there are a good number of books that would fit the bill for readers who are looking for one or more of the elements that made Perks work for them.
Inside, she’s a freak: a mix of dark thoughts, diabolical plots, and, if local chatter is to be believed, vampire DNA (after all, her father is Romanian). One step out of line and Becky Villager, first most popular girl in school, will make her life hell.
So when former loner Logan McDonough shows up one September hotter, smarter, and more mysterious than ever, Anika knows she can’t get involved. And the guy at school who’s a thorn in Stretch’s side doesn’t realize how close to the truth he’s hitting.
Wrapped in the landscape of a blustery Wisconsin winter, Blankets explores the sibling rivalry of two brothers growing up in the isolated country, and the budding romance of two coming-of-age lovers. A tale of security and discovery, of playfulness and tragedy, of a fall from grace and the origins of faith.
But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Barack, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.
Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban cul-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death.
Hilda and Benji’s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors. Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away.
When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother.
At the beginning of his junior year at a boys’ boarding school, 16-year-old Alex is devastated when he fails to save a drowning friend. Plagued by guilt, Alex takes refuge in the library, telling his tale in a journal he hides behind Moby-Dick.
As Alex responds to her attention, he discovers his true voice, one that goes against the boarding school bravado that Glenn embraces. Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover.
Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But since he got busted for doing graffiti on the school, and spent the summer doing outdoor work to pay for it, he stands out like you wouldn’t believe.