I've decided that since I got this job as the librarian at my school, I'd like to actually read the books in the library. I was reluctant to read young adult fiction because, well, I don't really know why. Stephen King and gruesome stuff has always been my thing. Jr. High students at my school are required to read AR books. Many of them do not read outside of school and have no idea what to get. Some DO read but don't know what would be a good next book. I was stuck on my own adult paranormal romance kick and didn't want to spend my time reading "little kid" books. However, I started reading books from my library just for the purpose of recommending them to jr. high students. To my surprise I've found many of them excellent and "unputdownable." I'd just like to recommend a couple to you.
Deadline by Chris Crutcher. This author writes a lot of sports books and I thought this would be one, too. It is, but it's also so much more. It's the story of a senior in high school who finds out he has one year to live. He decides to forgo treatment and keep his illness a secret from everyone. He spends his last year doing things he wasn't brave enough to do before he got sick. I don't want to give anymore away, but I'll just say that there were lots of tears at the end. This was a super book. I've been recommending it to boys (I usually read more "girly" books).
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. This is a disturbing book about an anorexic girl's obsession with her caloric intake and family issues. After her friend dies, her health deteriorates severely. This was a fast read and a very good book.
Finally, I'll leave off with Identical by Ellen Hopkins. This is about a pair of twins who both have major problems at home, at school, and, with their peer relationships. I couldn't believe some of what happened in this book. It's hard to imagine such "worldly" teenagers, but I guess they're out there. The end of this book had a twist that made me gasp.