When you’re figuring out who you are, outside voices are not always helpful. In these books, teens tell their own stories. Featuring:
The Queen of Junk Island Alexandra Mae Jones
Still reeling from a recent trauma, sixteen-year-old Dell is relieved when her mom suggests a stay at the family cabin. But the much-needed escape quickly turns into a disaster. The lake and woods are awash in trash left by a previous tenant. And worse, Dell’s mom has invited her boyfriend’s daughter to stay with them. Confident, irreverent Ivy presses all of Dell’s buttons–somehow making Dell’s shame and self-consciousness feel even more acute. Yet Dell is drawn to Ivy in a way she doesn’t fully understand. As Dell uncovers secrets in the wreckage of her family’s past–secrets hinted at through troubling dreams and strange apparitions–Ivy leads her toward thrilling, if confusing, revelations about her sexuality and identity.
Set during a humid summer in the mid-2000s, The Queen of Junk Island simmers with the intensity of a teenage girl navigating the suffocating expectations of everyone around her.
The Story of My Life Ongoing by CS Cobb Candas Jane Dorsey
It’s not easy “choosing not to choose,” especially for a non-binary teen in 2007.
Corey was born intersex, but their father and stepmother didn’t make a big deal about it. Then Corey’s dad dies suddenly. Now Corey’s disapproving mother wants Corey to “pick a side”. Corey’s old enough to say no to medical intervention—but not old enough to avoid being held in a youth psych ward when their mom makes an issue of Corey’s refusal to conform to the gender binary.
In the psych ward, Corey makes friends with Kim, a teen girl diagnosed as anorexic—or is she? As they work to unravel their pasts, they discover that Kim’s situation is even more dangerous than either of them had ever imagined.
The Full Catastrophe Méira Cook
Charlie Minkoff, a thirteen-year-old boy born with intersex traits, would be happy to be left alone. Living with his artist mother in a derelict loft in downtown Winnipeg, perpetually wondering about the father who abandoned him, and tormented in school because of his differences, Charlie navigates the assorted catastrophes of his life. He’s helped along by the love of his beloved grandfather, Oscar, and the makeshift family who surround him: his mother’s best friend; a couple of elderly shut-in neighbours; a mysterious girl in his class who has secrets of her own; and his desperately needy and perpetually hungry dog, Gellman.
When a school project leads him to discover that Oscar never had a bar mitzvah, Charlie decides to right the historical wrong and arrange a belated ceremony. But this quest will be more than he bargained for, and meanwhile everyone from his doctor to his Ancestry Studies teacher keeps insisting that Charlie needs to learn to tell his own story.