If You've Ever Been a Teenage Girl Whose World is Crumbling Around You: Read This
by Eleanor Kriseman
Dare Me by Megan Abbott
Megan Abbott is the queen of the teenage suburban gothic, and Dare Me is her crowning achievement. Two high school cheerleaders, Beth and Addy, are best friends until the new cheer coach, alluring and young, takes one of them under her wing. But Coach Colette takes her friendship with Addy too far when she forces Addy to witness something—and to keep it secret. Abbott's writing is beautifully off-kilter, mimicking the splintering friendship, Addy's desperation and her wavering between loyalty and duty.
Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore
Beryl and Silsby were inseparable the summer of their fifteenth year—working at a mini golf course in upstate New York, radiant Sils dressed as Cinderella, plain-faced Beryl as a ticket taker. Sils pulls Beryl further and further into her own rebellion that summer, adding her deadbeat boyfriend to their twosome, sneaking the them both into clubs, but by the end of the summer, it is Sils who ends up in real trouble, and Beryl who emerges unscathed, narrating the novel as an adult with all the sharp, beautiful clarity she lacked at fifteen.
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
Esch is fourteen, lives with her alcoholic father, her brothers and their pit bulls, and has just found out she's pregnant. She's trying to figure out who to tell and what to do, desperately wishing her mother was still alive. Meanwhile, in their small coastal Mississippi town, a storm of historic proportions is approaching—what will turn out to be Hurricane Katrina. As Esch—in all of her shifting, endearing bravado—and her family prepare, haphazardly, unknowingly, for the storm, she learns what it means to be a part of something bigger than yourself—and how to know when to leave something behind.
A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews
Nomi Nickel belongs to a small Mennonite community in rural Canada. Her mother left the family years ago, and her rebellious older sister disappeared not long after. Nomi and her father, the town librarian, begin to alienate themselves--her father by accident, retreating into himself, and Nomi by design, shaving her head, staying out late and smoking weed with her boyfriend in the back of his pickup truck. Yet, a fragile bond links Nomi and her father—their improbable hope that the loves of their life will return, even when it becomes painfully clear that this won't happen. The dialogue pierces, like needles embroidering something beautiful.
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson
Julia has led a sheltered, ordinary life until age twelve, when the world stops working as it should. Deemed "the slowing" by the government, the earth's rotation has begun to lose speed. Day and night grow longer, the tides change, crops fail, people split into factions, and scientists try desperately to determine the cause—and find a fix. Julia's life acquires a new urgency, a new recklessness, and her small preteen rebellions take on a more poignant tone as she learns that some problems are too big for even adults to fix.
Eleanor Kriseman is a Florida native who now lives in Brooklyn and works as an assistant editor. She has been published in Joyland, Adult Magazine, The Billfold, The Butter, Vol. 1 Brooklyn's essay series, and Hobart Pulp, among other publications.