Nicola Morgan

Author, Speaker, Supporter

Understanding and Supporting Your Teenagers – few spaces left and I’m not doing it again!

Teenage novels that help with stress issues

I’m asking for your help! At the back of my teenage stress guide, as well as useful websites, I want to include novels that tackle each of the topics my book covers. (And a few non-fiction books, IF they are written specifically for teenagers.)

The books must be well-written, with good review coverage (by which I do not just mean Amazon reviews but reviews from school librarians and other responsible agencies) and have been written within the last 15 years if possible. The topic must also be a major part of the book, not simply have a fleeting mention.

Here are the topics to cover and a very few book ideas of my own. I need loads more! If you have any you recommend, please add to the comments. Thank you! [Edited to add: I’ve added some of your ideas already.]


Alcohol –

Wasted by NM;

Anxiety and panic –

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson; The 10pm Question by Kate de Goldi

Asperger’s –

Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammett (non-fic);

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon; Mockingbird by Catherine Erskine; Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly; Marcello In The Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Bereavement –

Ostrich Boys by Keith Grey; Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers; My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher

Bullying –

Malarkey by Keith Grey; Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli; Run, Zan, Run by Catherine MacPhail; Don’t Call Me Ishmael by Michael G Bauer; Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead

Cyber-bullying –

You Don’t Know Me by Sophia Bennett

Depression /mental illness –

Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson (over-achievement); So Much To Tell You by John Marsden; A Note of Madness by Tabitha Suzuma (bipolar disorder); Just in Case by Meg Rosoff (psychosis/paranoia); Stop Pretending by Sonya Sones; The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson (mental illness in parent); I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier (1990s); I Never Promised You A Rose Garden by Hannah Green; Depresso by Brick; Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones (a novel in verse); I Had A Black Dog and Living With a A Black Dog by Matthew and Ainsley Johnstone  (graphic novels about depression); Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony

Divorce – 

Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson (bit young); Divorce Helpbook for Kids by Cynthia Macgregor (non-fic)

Drugs –

Junk by Melvin Burgess; Candy by Kevin Brooks

Dyslexia –

Whispers in the Graveyard by Theresa Breslin

Eating disorders –

Massive by Julia Bell; Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson; Girls Under Pressure by Jacqueline Wilson

Forced marriage –

An (un)Arranged Marriage by Bali Rai; Marrying Ameera by Rosanne Hawke 

Homosexuality / LGBT –

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland; Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, How They Met by David Levithan; Coming out: The Shell House by Linda Newbery;

OCD – ?


Fat Boy Swim by Catherine Forde; Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Pregnancy / abortion

The Opposite of Chocolate by Julie Bertagna; Dear Nobody by Berlie Doherty

Rape, “date” rape

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; You Against Me by Jenny Downham

Relationships – love, sex etc

The Last Virgin by David Belbin; Rich and Mad by William Nicolson

Self-harm –

Red Tears by Joanna Kenrick

Social Anxiety Disorder / Social Phobia

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Chbosky


Young carers/ Parental illness

Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead; The Boy from France by Hilary Freeman; Broken Soup by Jenny Valentine

NB I’d ALSO like novels with pure feel-good factor, novels that aren’t about “issues” but just for pleasure and light reading. Book chocolate! If you have book chocolate ideas, please give a few words to say what sort of book it is.


18 Responses

  1. Overweight – Butter by Erin Jade Lange

    Gay/LGBT – Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (lovely book – definitely feelgood factor!), How They Met by David Levithan…in fact, pretty much most of David Levithan’s books. Even the ones centered around straight characters have great attitudes towards different sexualities.

    Rape – You Against Me by Jenny Downham.

  2. Sex – Rich and Mad by William Nicolson
    Eating disorders – Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Mental illness – stop pretending by Sonya Sones

    I love the idea of book chocolate! I return to childhood favourites like Little Women.

  3. Death, relationships A ring of endless light Madeleine L’Engle (Also A house like a lotus – lesbianism)
    Drugs Anon “Go ask Alice” (old but still powerful)
    Relationships, families Ivan Southall’s “Josh” (younger adolescents)
    Relationships Jill Paton Walsh “Unleaving”
    Jane Gardam “Bilgewater”
    Forced marriage Rosanne Hawke “Marrying Ameera”
    Feel good Dodie Smith, “I capture the castle” , Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole series
    Good reading Diana Wynne Jones Fire and Hemlock
    Not sure if all these are in print though!

  4. Pregnancy- “Dear Nobody” by Berlie Doherty
    Mental illness-The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson

  5. I Had A Black Dog & Living With a A Black Dog by Matthew and Ainsley Johnstone (graphic novels about depression, the move about a lot in my school’s library)
    Mockingbird by Catherine Erskine – about Asperger’s
    Marcello In The Real World by Francisco X. Stork – about Asperger’s
    Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly – about Asperger’s and drug use
    Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony – mental health/illness
    Depresso by Brick – mental health/illness
    I Never Pormised You A Rose Garden by Hannah Green (1964 but still relevant) – mental health/illness
    I Am The Cheese by Robert Cormier (1990s) – mental health/illness
    Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy by Sonya Sones (a novel in verse) – mental health/illness
    Crazy by Benjamin Lebert (translated from the German by C. B. Janeway) – not fitting in & physical disability
    Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead – bullying & difficult friendships & parental illness
    Don’t Call Me Ishmael (& sequels) by Michael G Bauer – bullying and not fitting in

    I can’t think of any more at the moment – apart from Margaret Atwood’s Catseye and Susan Hill’s I’m King of The Castle which are very powerful novels about bullying and are, I believe, suitable for older teens – 15+

  6. Another couple via the scbwi list:
    Anorexia: How I live Now by Meg Rosoff; Monkey Taming by Judith Fathallah

    1. I couldn’t think what you meant re How I Live Now, at first, and then i realised – OF COURSE! Hadn’t heard of Monkey Taming – thanks. Off to look!

  7. Dying To Know You by Aidan Chambers covers relationships, bereavement and depression but is an uplifting read.

  8. Cannot say enough about Mosquitoland and also Sure Signs of Crazy for grappling with mental illness. Clear, Strong voices to help navigate tough subjects-. For loss, well Mosquitoland is about a different kind of loss. And Counting by Sevens, is about devastating loss but you will be glad you read it, and they all are about creating community.

Do comment but please remember that this site is for all ages.


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