1. Abram, Christy Lynn. Little Miss Somebody. 259p. Humble Bee Publishing. July 2015. PB $9.99. ISBN 978-0692386224.
Nikki is desperate. At 14, she is often left alone without food, clean clothes or money. Her alcoholic mother never wanted her and when she does come home is abusive both physically and emotionally. Thrown back and forth between family members, all Nikki wants is to belong and be loved. Will she ever find anyone who truly wants her?
2. McLellan, Michael. American Flowers. 296p. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. August 2015. PB. $11.99 ISBN 9781516830695. Desperate love and drugs can be an escape when you are unwanted. Chris and Allie find themselves on a downward roller coaster ride of addiction. Friends quickly turn on them and a foiled bank robbery with a drug-induced maniac leave them on the run with no one to turn to and nowhere to go. This is a story about being out of control of one’s life and being haunted by the bad choices you made.
3. Carter, Alton. Aging Out: A True Story. 203p. Roadrunner Press. October, 2017. Tr. $15.00. ISBN 9781937054298.
Abandoned by family and ultimately abandoned by society, foster youth often face insurmountable odds when they “age out” at 18. Alton Carter tells the story of the challenges he faced after he no longer had the support of the foster system.
4.Glasgow, Kathleen. Girl in Pieces. 416p. Delacorte Press. August 2016. Tr. $18.99. ISBN 9781780749457. Charlie’s life is in pieces. Her story is littered with tragedy–the loss of her best friend, abandonment, and sexual and physical abuse. She escapes into the world of self-harm–cutting. When she finds herself in a new town she seeks solace in the arms of a deadbeat junkie. But where there is so much desperation, there is also hope.
5. Westhoff, Ben. Original Gangstas: The Untold Story of Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur, and the Birth of West Coast Rap. Hachette Books. September 2016. Tr. $28.00. ISBN 9780316383899. Well-researched and a fun read. Fans of hip-hop will be brought into the world of some of the top artists. Lots of nitty-gritty details make this a must-read for anyone interested in this highly volatile musical genre.
6. Sterling, S.C. Teenage Degenerate. 252p. S.C. Sterling. January 2016. PB $14.99. ISBN 978-0997017540. Nineteen year old Scott quickly spirals into drug addiction in this haunting but at times humorous memoir. People with addictions may recognize many of the behaviors Scott exhibits and the thoughts that go through his head as he struggles to get the next fix.
7. Simone, Ni-Ni. Dear Yvette. 288p. Dafina. November 2016. PB $9.95. ISBN 9780758287762. At sixteen, Yvette is a mother with anger and self-control issues living in Newark with her step-siblings and grandmother. When she attacks one of her friends for calling her a snitch, she is sentenced to a parenting house in Virginia. This is her last chance to get her life together or lose her daughter to foster care. Starting over and changing is hard, but when she meets handsome Brooklyn, her life becomes even more complicated.
8. Desire, C. Other Broken Things. 256p. Simon Pulse. January 2016. Tr. $17.99. ISBN 9781481437394. Natalie’s life is out of control as she is forced to a 6 month stint with AA after driving drunk. It is there that she is taken under the wing of Joe–an older man who spent years in prison and is now a recovered alcoholic. But as both of them become increasingly attracted to each other the romance is inevitable. Natalie has had a history of sleeping with young men when she was drunk and now she faces this new romance sober. But the consequences of this new relationship has even more repercussions.
9. Johnston, Jeffry W. Truth. 256 p. Sourcebooks Fire. February 2016. PB $9.99. ISBN 9781492623205. Chris Russo wakes up in a dark basement tied to a chair. He is being held captive by Derek Brannick, who demands the truth about the shooting death of his younger brother Caleb at Chris’s hands. He threatens to cut all of Chris’s fingers off with garden shears if not told the truth.
10. Free Minds Book Club. The Untold Story of the Real Me: Young Voices from Prison. 106p. Shout Mouse Press. October 2015. PB$14.99 ISBN 9780996927444. Powerful collection of poems that are both heartbreaking and encouraging, written by young adults incarcerated as adults.
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