YA Drug & Substance Abuse Novels (58 books)Saving
YA Drug & Substance Abuse Novels
Twenty years later and still clean, I devour stories about addiction and redemption as hungrily as I once craved speed. Here are some books that will not only make you want to quit doing the thing that is killing you, but also offer an interesting narrative structure for writers because they flout the conventional hero journey template. Black Out , a memoir by Sarah Hepola, is a funny, sad portrayal of an unstoppable, unattached, driven woman who early on mistakes recklessness with feminism and freedom. Surrender and recovery have never felt so familiar. Graceland , a novel by Chris Abani, is a colorful, cacophonous story of a father and son, addiction, and seductive American trappings in post-colonial Nigeria. Elvis, a teenage Elvis impersonator, hopes to make his way out of the ghetto.
Addiction can show up in our lives in many different ways. Nic Sheff was drunk for the first time at age eleven. In the years that followed, he would regularly smoke pot, do cocaine and Ecstasy, and develop addictions to crystal meth and heroin. Even so, he felt like he would always be able to quit and put his life together whenever he needed to. As we watch Nic plunge into the mental and physical depths of drug addiction, he paints a picture for us of a person at odds with his past, with his family, with his substances, and with himself.
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In fact, I started reading about addiction before I got sober—-perhaps because something in the very back of my mind was telling me that someday these books about addiction would be quite relevant to my life. Not all of these books are All About Addiction. In many of them, especially the fiction titles, addiction plays a role but is not necessarily the focus of the book. Addiction is powerful, complicated, and appears in our lives in a variety of different ways. The beauty of literature is its ability to convey all the exciting, ugly, complicated nuances of issues like addiction, so we might reflect on the myriad ways it impacts our world. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. And we all look for ways to make the pain go away.
But for many parents, that war is waging in their own home with their own teenagers. The first step is to know who the enemy is. What teenagers need is parents to react quickly and decisively, often long before they hit bottom. The process can be alienating and some teenagers will rebel. They may also lie, downplay the effects of their abuse, or blame it on someone or something else.