The Power of Teen Anger
Although the emotional turbulence of adolescence is often written off as "teen angst," these books celebrate the power of anger and its capacity to change people and communities.
Anger Is a Gift2018 by Oshiro, MarkGet this item
Anger is a gift when it serves as the catalyst for change. Difficult and harrowing, this book cracks open the pain marginalized communities face under the weight of racism and discrimination. I loved how it explores the power of strong emotions and I appreciated the diverse cast of characters.
Sadie2018 by Summers, CourtneyGet this item
For fans of true crime, this book is partially written in the style of a podcast. Although at times I found it difficult to read due to the heavy subjects, the author carefully highlights the violence so many women and girls are forced to endure.
The Mirror Season2021 by McLemore, Anna-MarieGet this item
A beautiful blend of rage and tenderness, this book follows Ciela and Lock, who become friends after discovering they were both sexually assaulted at the same party. This powerful portrayal of the complexities of healing left me both aching and hopeful. It is full of gorgeous metaphors and descriptions without trivializing the heavy topics it explores.
Punching the Air2020 by Zoboi, Ibi AanuGet this item
Cowritten by Yusef Salaam, who was wrongfully convicted in the Central Park jogger case, this novel in verse about race and injustice is the epitome of “less is more.” There are very few words per page, but each word is loud and bubbling with anger.
The Other Side of Perfect2021 by Turk, MarikoGet this item
Hard-hitting and honest, this book highlights the ugly sides of perfectionism and dedication. For those set on success, sometimes unpreventable setbacks can trigger bitterness, jealousy, and rage. I loved how Turk doesn’t shy away from showing us how anger can turn us cruel–and also inspire us to change.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock2013 by Quick, MatthewGet this item
Shocking, dramatic, and personal, Leonard Peacock’s internal dialogue often becomes uncomfortable and concerning. However, this book captures what it’s like to feel misunderstood and hurt. The unique, unlikely friendships and patient conversations offer some much needed hope in an otherwise dire situation.
Summer Bird Blue2018 by Bowman, Akemi DawnGet this item
Struggling to cope with her sister’s death and her mother’s abandonment, Rumi has plenty to be angry about as she’s sent to live with her aunt in Hawaii. This slow but memorable book delves into the pain of loneliness and grief while also finding meaning in unlikely friendships.
You Know I'm No Good2020 by Foley, Jessie AnnGet this item
Mia, labeled a "troubled teen," is sent to a boarding school by her parents to fix her behavior. In this gritty and down-to-earth book, the author addresses double standards, feminism, sexuality and sexual assault, mental health, and family and friendships. The angry, messy tone challenges the reader to look under the surface and understand the harm of demonizing girls who don’t fit the mold.
Broken Things2018 by Oliver, LaurenGet this item
After a teenage girl is brutally murdered in the woods, all eyes turn toward her two best friends. Seething with rage, jealousy, and loneliness, this novel dives into the dangerous waters of obsession and complex friendships. Despite the bloody context, I think those who struggled to fit in as a kid (especially anyone who had a favorite book they wished they could disappear into!) will find sympathy for this messy friendship trio.
Shout: A Poetry Memoir2019 by Anderson, Laurie HalseGet this item
A unique memoir written in verse format, Laurie Halse Anderson shares her experiences and thoughts on abuse, empowerment, and censorship two decades after her popular novel Speak (1999). This book unabashedly readdresses issues–and brings up new ones–that were met with resistance when Speak was published.
What Girls Are Made Of2017 by Arnold, Elana KGet this item
Far from sweet and simple, this book pushes boundaries as it celebrates the rage that comes with growing up. Hurt and lost, 16-year-old Nina teeters back and forth on the line between being a child and an adult as she explores love, sexuality, autonomy, and the rigid societal expectations of being a young woman.
Far from the Tree2017 by Benway, RobinGet this item
Following three biological siblings who grew up separately, this book beautifully delves into the intricacies of love and loss. Even though it's laced with confusion, frustration, and hurt, I loved the glimpse of hope from the strong connections that develop over time.
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