Friday, January 21, 2011


Drugs and teens are a typical satire for many movies, shows and books. As a teen I dealt with the issues of drugs, sex, race issues, crime, gangs, teen pregnancy and diet issues. Those were real and difficult issues for me. Truth is, I really didn’t need a book to tell me about gangs – I lived where gangs were. I didn’t need a book to tell me about drugs, I lived around tons of drug addicts and acohol. But you know what I needed books for? To show me that I wasn’t alone, that there were other kids that handled these same issues differently. Some kids did it better, some kids suffered and failed, others succeeded. Books gave me that resource, and a safe haven to experience the things I’d seen an to process them.


Real life is different. No book yet that I have read can really depict the things I experienced and have seen firsthand growing up. Truthfully, living it hurts. But reading it gives us insight without the pain.

I’m talking about this now since I have a young family member going through the effects of drug experimentation. The effects are being placed in a controlled environment in hopes of rehabilitation. The kid didn’t grow up seeing firsthand the effects of drugs. Bypassing crack heads as he walked to the corner store like I did. Maybe, just maybe if he’d seen that reality, he would have thought twice before he opened pandora’s box.

HERE are SOME BOOKS that open up conversation about teen issues like drugs, teen pregnancy, eating disorders and more. Please add to the list. I plan on sending some of these books to my teenage relative battling some of these issues.

SNITCH by Allison Van Diepen

TYRELL by Coe Booth

THE FIRST PART LAST by Angela Johnson

CRANK by Ellen Hopkins

CUT by Patricia McCormick

MONSTER by Walter Dean Myers

BAD BOY by Walter Dean Myers

TWEAK by Nic Sheff



Mardel said...

You're post is very insightful. But remember, there are those that no matter what they witness have to feel/try things for themselves. It might not have made a difference, and yet it might have (seeing effects of drug abuse first hand, or growing up around it). There are so many people today who have users in the the family, alcohol or drugs, and yet end up in the same situation - because most people think they can handle things more.

I hope you're relative is able to get through this and remain in recovery. Some of us take way longer to learn our lessons, and others get it the first time around. Good luck to all.

LM Preston said...

Thanks Mardel, your insight is correct. Some people have to see things for themselves. I'm bundling up some books to send to them that I hope will help them see these issues from other perspectives.

Pk Hrezo said...

I can't think of any books off hand, but I agree with you %100. Kids need stories they can reate to so they understand others go thru it and see how others may deal with it. It makes them feel less alone.

E. Arroyo said...

Wow, a very powerful post and so true. I wish you the best. I don't know about any books like what you're looking for, but I'm interested in the list. Because I lived it, i stayed away from it in books and leaned towards something that made me feel better about myself, giving me other options.

Again, good luck!

Melanie said...

great post and so true! one book that comes to mind is SMACK by Melvin Burgess. the story takes place in Bristol, England, and follows the lives of teens who get addicted to heroine. very powerful read.

Donna said...

Kids really need books like this just to ground out their own reality. If everything were all fluffy bunnies and cotton candy, I think it would turn away a lot of readers. With parents trying to ban books like this because they're detrimental to their own children's well-being and well beyond the range of what any child is experience (insert eyeroll here), they're removing a coping mechanism for a lot of kids. Just because their children live in bubbles doesn't mean others do.

Madigan McGillicuddy said...

Great list.
I grew up in a very clean, rural area, and there was nothing like that in my world, at all. I liked reading those sorts of books as a teen since it was so different than what I was used to.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry about you family member. :(

I read Hopkins' Crank series and was disturbed and wowed by it.

Skinny by Ibi Kaslik deals with anorexia and it would fit this list.

LDRobwell said...

I think it's important to remember (and teach) that not all drugs are crack. Many healthy, productive members of society use various drugs and come out ok. Crack, meth, heroin, these are dangerous.

That said; it's kind of a funny story was epic.