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Coping with Teen Pressures

Whether becoming or simply being a teenager, there are a number of challenges and issues that tweens and teens face as they make their way through the junior high and high school years.  The titles below tackle these pressures and challenges in fictional accounts and nonfiction guides.


The titles below address teen pressures through fictional narratives, as characters confront peer pressure, bullying, mental health issues, and other life challenges.  Suggested grade levels are provided based on professional reviews.

Army brats by Daphne Benedis-Grab

When the Bailey family moves into an army base in Virginia there are a lot of adjustments to make; twelve-year-old Tom runs afoul of the base school bully, ten-year-old Charlotte finds herself trying too hard to make friends with the "cool" girls, and six-year-old Rosie is just being difficult as usual--but they come together to investigate a mysterious building full of weird cages, and uncover Fort Patrick's secrets. (Grades 3-6)

Also available in: e-book

Twelve-year-old Suzy Swanson wades through her intense grief over the loss of her best friend by investigating the rare jellyfish she is convinced was responsible for her friend's death. (Grades 4-7)

Blubber by Judy Blume
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook

Jill goes along with the rest of the fifth-grade class in tormenting a classmate and then finds out what it is like when she, too, becomes a target. (Grades 3-7)

Teach me to forget by Erica M. Chapman

After a failed suicide attempt, Ellery tries to return the gun she bought to the store and runs into Colter Sawyer, a boy from her school, who does everything he can to prevent her from trying to take her life again. (Grades 9+)

Leverage by Joshua Cohen
Also available in: e-audiobook

High school sophomore Danny excels at gymnastics but is bullied, like the rest of the gymnasts, by members of the football team, until an emotionally and physically scarred new student joins the football team and forms an unlikely friendship with Danny. (Grades 9+)

Aspen by Rebekah Crane

A teenage girl's mistake on a Boulder, Colorado road left a popular teen soccer player dead. Now the deceased is following the driver around and only her boyfriend and her therapist understand her and can keep her from heading further into a deep depression. (Grades 9+)

The world from up here by Cecilia Galante

Wren Baker is an anxious twelve-year-old, so when her mother goes into a hospital for depression, and she and her younger brother, who has Asperger's syndrome, go to live with her aunt and her cousin, Silver, who have just recently moved to Pennsylvania, her stress level soars--especially since Silver is a fearless child who conceives a plan to interview "Witch Weatherly" for the class history project. (Grades 4-7)

The whole story of half a girl by Veera Hiranandani

When Sonia's father loses his job and she must move from her small private school to a public middle school, the half-Jewish half-Indian sixth-grader experiences culture shock as she tries to navigate the school's unfamiliar social scene and deal with her father's clinical depression. (Grades 4-7)

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne M LaFleur

While living with her Gram in Vermont, eleven-year-old Aubrey writes letters as a way of dealing with losing her father and sister in a car accident, and then being abandoned by her grief-stricken mother. (Grades 5-7)

Also available in: e-book

Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. (Grades 4-6)

Cheater : a novel by Michael Laser

When brilliant high school student Karl Petrovsky gets talked into participating in an elaborate cheating operation at his school, he ends up involved in a bigger problem than he ever anticipated. (Grades 7+)

Some kind of happiness by Claire Legrand

Finley Hart is sent to her grandparents' house for the summer, but her anxiety and overwhelmingly sad days continue until she escapes into her writings which soon turn mysteriously real.  She realizes she must save this magical world in order to save herself. (Grades 4-7)

The beautiful lost by Luanne Rice

Ever since her mother left, Maia has struggled with depression, which has only gotten worse since her father remarried; so Maia decides run away to Canada to find her mother, together with Billy, a boy who now lives in a group home and has his own family tragedy. (Grades 7-11)

The lives of three teens in a small town intersect in ways they never expected, teaching them that there are no one-size-fits-all definitions of depression, friendship, and love. (Grades 8+)

Author Vizzini's takes an unexpected humorous approach to the story of a New York City teenager's battle with depression and his time spent in a psychiatric hospital. (Grades 9-12)


Titles below address challenges and issues that teens may encounter through direct discussion or real-world personal narratives.

This volume of the well-known Chicken Soup anthology series explores a host of challenges faced by today's teens. Teen contributors share their thoughts and feelings on difficult issues, ranging from poor self-image to thoughts of suicide, from family discord to coping with the loss, from peer pressure to school violence. (Grades 7-12)

The personal stories in this book cover topics important to the 12 to 14-year-old age range, including regrets and lessons learned, discovering the opposite sex, cliques and popularity, and new privileges and responsibilities such as jobs, cell phones, and grades. (Grades 7-9)

The personal tories in this book cover topics important to the 14 to 18-year-old range, including regrets and lessons learned, dating and sex, family relationships, applying to college, and preparing for life after high school. (Grades 9-12)

This book presents information about dating and sex for teenage boys, including such topics as puberty, asking someone out on a date, and sexual orientation. (Grades 8+)

Learn how to recognize and deal with various types of bullying, which reaches its peak in the middle school years. Get the rundown on cliques, and learn tips for taking care of mind, body, and spirit when encountering social pressure. Also included are strategies on how teens can protect themselves and guard against hurting others. (Grades 5-8)

This book describes the challenges faced by gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered teens, offers practical advice, real-life experiences, and accessible resources and support groups. (Grades 7+)

The author, an autistic teenager, explains how other autistic children can make friends, fit in, and deal with such issues as popularity, peer pressure, and bullying. (Grades 5+)

This guide for coping with girls who are mean to other girls, uses the words of teenagers to explore how the meanness can get started, forms it may take, and what can be done to stop it. (Grades 7+)

Also available in: e-audiobook

In this practical and lively self-help title, the author argues that teens have six key decisions to make. The decisions involve getting a good education, choosing true friends, getting along with parents, dating and sex, avoiding addictions, and establishing a healthy sense of self-worth. Covey provides tips for each of these areas and delivers concise sound bites of advice peppered with colorful graphics, cartoons, and movie quotes. (Grades 8+)

A guide for middle school students includes advice about bullying, peer pressure, grades, dealing with difficult parents, and love and romance, intending to help readers succeed and discover their own identities. (Grades 5-8)

This book presents advice to teenage girls about how to deal with different types of teenage boys, and how to talk to parents about dating issues. (Grades 8+)