Books I loved as a teen. Cashiering at Powell’s makes me remember. I see girls buy some of the books I loved and re-read. I loved books about drugs. Thing is, these books didn’t scare me off drugs, but made me want to do them. I loved books about teenagers losing and finding themselves and feeling more feelings than they knew what to do with. I liked books about trauma and accidental pregnancy. Here we go:
1) SMACK by Melvin Burgess. My friend Ashlee says when she let me borrow this book she ruined my life. She did a book report on it for 9th grade English class. I obsessed over it. The characters names were Gemma and Tar and they were best friends in love and ran away to England together and started doing heroin. (Ashlee had all the addiction books: Smashed, Prozac Nation, Girl, Interrupted).
“Sometimes maybe you need an experience. The experience can be a person or it can be a drug. The experience opens a door that was there all the time but you never saw it. Or maybe it blasts you into outer space…All that negative stuff. All the pain…It just floated away from me, I just floated away from it…up and away…”
― Melvin Burgess, Smack
“She didn’t have to be offered anything; it was already hers. She was more herself than anyone else ever was and as soon as I clapped eyes on her I knew I wanted to be myself just as much as she was herself.”
― Melvin Burgess, Smack
2) Go Ask Alice is kind of a duh. If this book was a propaganda to scare teens off drugs, it had the opposite effect on me.
3) Ashlee gave me this one too! Ashlee, what the hell? Augusta, Gone is beautifully written from a mother’s perspective about her daughter that’s losing it. I remember reading this and thinking well at least I’m not THAT bad. Then my mom read it. Now it’s a Lifetime movie.
“True, she had stopped coming down for breakfast. Stayed up in her room, ran out the door late for school, missed the bus and had to have a ride. But you think, well, that’s how they are, aren’t they, teenagers? And you try to remember how you were, but you were different and the times were different and it was so long ago. And she’s suddenly so angry at you, but then, another time, she’s just the same. She’s just your little girl. You sit with her and you talk about something, or you go shopping for school clothes and everything seems all right. And you forget how you stood in her room and how the center of your stomach felt so cold. When you found the cigarette. When you found the blue pipe. When you found the little bag she said was aspirin.”
“When your daughter is eleven, when your daughter starts to act different, you don’t know if it’s because her parents are divorced. You don’t know if it’s because her mom works too much, or she’s too smart for her classes, or maybe she has a learning disability you never caught. ”
4) Ashlee and I bought this book at a Barnes & Noble during a highschool field trip to New York City. Five years later I went to a dinner of women writers and it turned out I was sitting beside the author, Rebecca Godfrey.
“I saw this girl dancing, and I moved closer to her because I liked the way she looked, haughty and sexy but not in a slutty way, and when I got closer to her, I realized she was me and I was looking at my reflection in the mirror. I looked like the kind of girl I’d always wanted to befriend.”
― Rebecca Godfrey
5) To me, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is nearly a perfect book. It’s like the book I wish I could have written.
6) SPEAK was terrifying. One of my friends got it from the school library and we passed it around like it was a bomb. Also now a Lifetime movie.
7) My friend Hannah and I were obsessed with this book. We were shocked. I remember watching him on Oprah with my mom.We followed him to his next book, A Man Named Dave.
Stay tuned for my post about books I loved as an adolescent and yes there will be Judy Blume.