It’s Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini; Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher

It’s Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini

For Craig, every moment is a struggle to survive against the crushing weight of his depression. He feels like he's battling against his own body. When he checks himself into a mental ward rather than commit suicide, he realizes that he is not alone. Best: Seems realistic. Worst: Occasionally boring and sometimes too cutesy.

Good for: While this isn’t a memoir, it was written after Vizzini checked himself into a ward as a teen, so it’s good for anyone interested in a survivor’s tale of teen depression.

Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher

Coaches have been after T.J. for years, but only when a mentally handicapped kid is bullied for wearing his dead brother's letter jacket does T.J. decide to use his athletic ability—to subvert the status quo. Best: Interesting, complex characters. Worst: The moral is not at all subtle

Good for: Anyone, but especially teens. Whale Talk is one of the best sports novels I’ve read. While it’s somewhat heavy-handed, it’s a really good, emotionally dense book. *Note: Does not contain ACTUAL mermen; that’s just the name of the sports team.*

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