Young Adult Book Releases That Discuss Life, Loss and Grief for Teens
by Holly Gilbert
If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one, it can feel like the world you once knew is gone and that you’re now going through life in a deep, persistent fog. Also, if you were heavily involved in the care and support of the deceased person, you may especially have trouble spending your time in ways that still feel meaningful.
These experiences are normal and part of the grieving process. And reading is an excellent way to cope with a loss. By getting engrossed in books that have themes of grief and loss, you’ll start to realize that you’re not alone in what you’re going through, and other people have experienced similar things. The literary material you choose may even help you find new coping strategies.
Diving into a good book is also a healthy thing to do when recent events in your life lead to insomnia or make it seem like your waking hours crawl by at a snail’s pace. Additionally, a book can distract you when it’s tempting to numb the pain with other things that could cause hard-to-break bad habits, like food binges.
Plus, coming across books you love gives you opportunities to share your finds with other people you know who are also grieving and could benefit from literary diversions, too. The books could help you find common ground with others when you’re otherwise nervous and reluctant to open up about how you’re feeling.
But, where can you start finding young adult (YA) books that cover topics of life, loss and grief? Hatchette Book Group has a dedicated page of young adult novels about grief. There are also excerpts of the titles, making it simple to see if you like the tone and the writer’s style before buying some. Here are a few of the standout options you’ll find there:
This novel highlights unexpected events in the life of Jersey Cameron, a teenager growing up in the Midwest. After a tornado takes the lives of her mom and sister and devastates the town she lives in, Jersey goes to live with relatives she barely knows and has to learn how to stay determined despite drastic changes and substantial elements of unfamiliarity.
While absorbing the content of this book, you’ll learn if Jersey can discover that even during the bleakest days, there are some things storms can’t take away.
Life has a way of disrupting the most carefully planned ideas, and that’s one of the reminders present in “The Loose Ends List,” Carrie Firestone’s debut novel. Maddie anticipates spending the summer after high school graduation with friends before heading to college. Then, her grandmother, Gram, calls and says she has terminal cancer.
Moreover, she wants to take Maddie and other loved ones on a “dying with dignity” cruise to spend the time she has left on her own terms. Maddie has fun on the excursion but also has difficulty coming to terms that she’ll soon lose someone she deeply loves. The trip also involves a summer romance with the ship’s owner, Enzo.
Readers enjoy the well-written characters and how the book goes beyond the theme of loss and focuses on living life well.
Griffin finds himself reeling after his ex-boyfriend Theo drowns. This novel gives you a historical perspective of the relationship by explaining what it was like when the two were a couple. They break up when Theo gets accepted to college, and the pair decides they don’t want to deal with the challenges of a long-distance relationship.
A few months after that though, Theo gets in a relationship with a different guy, Jackson. Griffin, meanwhile, believes Theo will eventually realize that he and Griffin are meant for each other. The book’s perspective alternates between 16-year-old Griffin and Griffin at age 18. Ultimately, Griffin realizes that the only person who understands what he’s feeling is Jackson.
One theme in the book is how Griffin copes with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The book got favorable reviews, and people appreciated how it illuminated mental illness as well as grief.
These Tales Could Bring Much-Needed Comfort
Coping with loss can make you feel extremely isolated. Getting engrossed in these books could help you feel soothed as you realize others have dealt with things that are much like what you face. They’re also fantastic reads if you’re supporting someone who’s grieving.