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Recommended Reading for Realistic Fiction

Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Year Eleven at an exclusive prep school in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, would be tough enough, but it is further complicated for Amal when she decides to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time as a badge of her faith–without losing her identity or sense of style. * Also check out Ten Things I Hate About Me.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Alexie Sherman
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson
After finally getting noticed by someone other than school bullies and his ever-angry father, seventeen-year-old Tyler enjoys his tough new reputation and the attentions of a popular girl, but when life starts to go bad again, he must choose between transforming himself or giving in to his destructive thoughts. *Also check out other titles by this author.

Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You by Peter Cameron
Eighteen-year-old James living in New York City with his older sister and divorced mother struggles to find a direction for his life.

Who Will Tell My Brother? by Marlene Carvell
During his lonely crusade to remove offensive mascots from his high school, a Native American teenager learns more about his heritage, his ancestors, and his place in the world.

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko
Kirsten and Walk, seventh-graders at an elite private school, alternate telling how race, wealth, weight, and other issues shape their relationships as they and other misfits stand up to a mean but influential classmate, even as they are uncovering a long-kept secret about themselves.

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
When she is abandoned by her alcoholic mother, high school senior Ruby winds up living with Cora, the sister she has not seen for ten years, and learns about Cora’s new life, what makes a family, how to allow people to help her when she needs it, and that she too has something to offer others.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Having been recently dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy Colin sets off on a road trip with his best friend to try to find some new direction in life while also trying to create a mathematical formula to explain his relationships. * Also check out other John Green titles!

Shug by Jenny Han
A twelve-year-old girl learns about friendship, first loves, and self-worth in a small town in the South.

Godless by Pete Hautman
When sixteen-year-old Jason Bock and his friends create their own religion to worship the town’s water tower, what started out as a joke begins to take on a power of its own.

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
Bobby’s carefree teenage life changes forever when he becomes a father and must care for his adored baby daughter.

The Girls by Amy Goldman Koss
Each of the girls in a middle-school clique reveals the strong, manipulative hold one of the group exerts on the others, causing hurt and self-doubt among the girls.

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
Just before his thirteenth birthday, Jeremy Fink receives a keyless locked box–set aside by his father before his death five years earlier–that purportedly contains the meaning of life.

The Missing Girl by Norma Fox Mazer
As five sisters, aged eleven to seventeen, deal with assorted problems, conflicts, fears, and yearnings, a mysterious middle-aged man watches them, fascinated, deciding which one he likes the best.

The Fold by An Na
Korean American high school student Joyce Kim feels like a nonentity compared to her beautiful older sister, and when her aunt offers to pay for plastic surgery on her eyes, she jumps at the chance, thinking it will change her life for the better.

All Shook Up by Shelley Pearsall
When thirteen-year-old Josh goes to stay with his father in Chicago for a few months, he discovers–to his horror–that his dad has become an Elvis impersonator.

The Actual Real Reality of Jennifer James by Gillian Shields
While competing on a reality television show being filmed at her English high school, shy and bookish Jennifer James records her experiences in her diary.

Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman
Fourteen-year-old Shawn McDaniel, who suffers from severe cerebral palsy and cannot function, relates his perceptions of his life, his family, and his condition, especially as he believes his father is planning to kill him.

Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught
Overweight, self-assured, high school senior Jamie Carcaterra writes in the school newspaper about her own attitude to being fat, her boyfriend’s bariatric surgery, and her struggles to be taken seriously in a very thin world.

So B. It: A Novel by Sarah Weeks
After spending her life with her mentally retarded mother and agoraphobic neighbor, twelve-year-old Heidi sets out from Reno, Nevada, to New York to find out who she is.

Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser
Shy sixteen-year-old Elaine has long dreamed of being the next Julia Child, to the dismay of her feminist mother, but when her first friend, the outrageous Lucida Sans, convinces Elaine to enter a cooking contest, anything could happen.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
After a nasty fall, Naomi realizes that she has no memory of the last four years and finds herself reassessing every aspect of her life.

Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One Before by David Yoo
Albert Kim seems destined to be a social outcast until he begins dating Mia Stone, a co-worker at Albert’s summer job and part of the in-crowd at his school.