Normal Public Library Teens

Thirteen Reasons Why Readalikes

In Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Clay Jensen is one of 13 people to receive a set of tapes from his classmate Hannah after her suicide.  On the tapes, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life.  Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

For more books on teens dealing with issues of life and death and the roles they themselves play in them, check out one of the following titles.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit. (S)

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth. (M, S)

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Five months ago, Val’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria, using the Hate List that she helped him create to choose his targets.  Now, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family and former friends, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it. (S)

You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn

Miles has spent her life in the shadow of her cousin Laura. Laura is smart, gorgeous, and a student at a prep school outside of D.C. Miles is overweight, anti-social, and lives with her mom in the carriage house on her uncle’s property. As far as Miles is concerned, Laura has the perfect life – until Laura commits suicide, leaving her dad and Miles lost in the wake of the event. (S)

Deadline by Chris Crutcher

Just before his senior year, Ben Wolf is diagnosed with a rare, incurable leukemia. At 18, he has the legal right to keep the news to himself until he’s ready to reveal it. With only his doctor and therapist in on his secret, Ben sets out to live an entire lifetime in a year: There are insects that pack it all into a day, he reasons. His goals are to join his brother on the football team; learn everything he can; and ask out gorgeous Dallas Suzuki. Living with a secret isn’t easy, though, and Ben’s resolve begins to crumble… (S)

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a To Do Before I Die list. Released from the constraints of “normal” life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up.  Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out. (S)

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

The last normal moment that Mia can remember is being in the car with her family. Then she is standing outside her body beside their mangled Buick and her parents’ corpses, watching herself and her little brother being tended by paramedics. Now, her body in a coma, Mia reflects on the past and tries to decide whether to fight to live. (M, S)

What Happened to Cass McBride by Gail Giles

Kyle Kirby has planned a cruel and unusual revenge on Cass McBride, the most popular girl in school, for the death of his brother David. He buries her alive. But lying in the deepest dark, Cass finds a weapon: she uses the power of words to keep her nemesis talking – and herself breathing – during the most harrowing 48 hours of her life. (S)

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. He heads off to the anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, self-destructive, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She pulls Pudge into her world and steals his heart. Then… (S)

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple—on the surface. But behind the façade each sister has her own dark secret, and that’s where their differences begin. Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to be kept – from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it’s obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must step up to save the other, but the question is—who? (S)

The Everafter by Amy Huntley

Madison Stanton doesn’t know where she is or how she got there. But she does know this—she is dead. And alone, in a vast, dark space. The only company she has in this place are luminescent objects that turn out to be all the things Maddy lost while she was alive. And soon she discovers that with these artifacts, she can reexperience—and sometimes even change—moments from her life. (S)

Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles

What Laine has been wishing for has at last come true. Leah Greene is dead.  But now, in the aftermath of a tragedy, Laine is left to explore the devastating lessons Leah taught her, find some meaning in them, and decide whether she can forgive Leah and, ultimately, herself. (S)

The Pact by Jodi Picoult

Emily Gold and Chris Harte have always been inseparable.  But now, Emily is dead at seventeen from a gunshot wound to the head, and Chris, who’s left holding the gun, insists it was part of their suicide pact. (A/YA)

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Elsewhere is where Liz Hall ends up after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver’s license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward? (M, S)

 
 

Grade Level Interest
M Middle School (defined as grades 6-8).
S Senior High (defined as grades 9-12).
A/YA Adult-marketed book recommended for teens.

 
 
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