Memoirs for Teens
In the two and a half years I’ve been blogging for Books in Bloom, I imagine readers have gotten to know my tastes fairly well. You might know me as the person most likely to review books that will make you cry (See: Without Tess and See You at Harry’s) or the blogger with an interest in early childhood education (See: Preschool Picks and Read-Alouds for Your Littlest Listeners). Well, here’s another typical Mindy choice: memoirs. I always seem to be drawn to these personal stories that often capture a unique perspective. I’ve blogged about a couple of great memoirs before (See: To Timbuktu and Atpyical), but I’ve read a few more recently that I can’t resist telling you about.
In Rapture Practice, Aaron Hartzler looks back at his religious childhood with a sense of humor. Even most religious teens will likely find that Hartzler’s parents were more restrictive than usual. Imagine growing up with no television, no secular music, no movies. Teens who pick up the book out of curiosity for this lifestyle will find themselves drawn in by Hartzler’s candid (but not condescending) narration as he chronicles his rebellion against his parents rules. This coming-of-age story will find the strongest resonance with readers who are interested in matters of faith and identity, but the light-hearted style and the relatable narrator make this a good choice for anyone looking for a good memoir. (9780316094658. April 2013. Gr. 9-12)
Cartoonist Lucy Knisley is a foodie. I’ve admitted that I’m not really a foodie myself, but I still loved Relish: My Life in the Kitchen. It is full of food-centric memories of Knisley’s childhood with her mother (a chef) and father (a gourmand) that are entirely relatable even for those who didn’t have the culinary experiences that she did. One of my favorite parts of the book are the visual recipes. Throughout the book, Knisley turns some of her favorite childhood dishes into step by step recipes in pictures. These recipes are wonderful complements to the graphic novel format of the book and, for those of you that cook, are a fun way to experience the stories with your taste buds! (9781596436237. April 2013. Gr. 10-Adult)
Another cartoonist, Ramsey Beyer, creates a hybrid graphic novel style memoir of her first year at art school in Little Fish. The book is made up of journal entries, comics, and other elements from the zine that Beyer published then. Artists, zinesters, and other teens interested in DIY/punk culture will appreciate Beyer’s introspective look at the transition to the wider world of art school even as she acknowledges that art school is just as much a bubble as was the small town in which she grew up. If you are looking for a memoir of college life that is more concerned with finding yourself artistically than finding yourself at one party after another, this is your choice. It is a sweet and sincere story of discovery. (9781936976188. September 2013. Gr. 8-12)
Check out this Hot Topics list for more memoirs for teens, and please let us know what memoirs you’ve loved, especially if they have teen appeal. You can share your favorites in the comments or tweet us @MackinBooks.
P.S. I also have a list of Mindy’s Picks that might be of interest to Books in Bloom readers who share my reading tastes! 🙂 (Just a reminder: You’ll need a Mackin.com login to view lists and book information.)