Mash-Up Monday – YA Female-Lead Realistic Fiction Recommendations

Welp, I’ve made it to Monday (look at me go and be all on track this week!). I had a really hard time coming up with the topic for recommendations I wanted to put out this week, but, eventually, I came up with something that hopefully (at least a good handful of you?) will love!

This week I’m recommending some of my favorite realistic YA fiction with female protagonists that focus on some pretty hard-hitting issues.

Typically I only give 5 recommendations for these type of posts. However, this week you’re getting 2 extra books because I just can’t choose which 2 to cut.

So, here are some realistic, female-centric YA books I love.

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Main Themes: Eating Disorder, Depression
Annabel has recently lost her best friend, leaving her with nowhere to belong at school. Not only that, but her home life seems to be declining ever since her sister was discovered to have the eating disorder anorexia. Between being left for dead at school and ignored at home, Annabel is not sure what to do until music obsessed Owen comes along and saves her in more ways than one.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Main Themes: Sexual Assault, Depression, PTSD
Melinda has a secret, a secret that has caused her to refuse to speak. Not only is she refusing to speak, but her friends are also refusing to speak to her after she called the police at an end-of-the-summer party. Many others hate her from a distance on top of it all. She’s the girl who ruined everyone’s fun. But, what is Melinda not saying? Did something happen to her that ruined more than just the light-hearted fun of a party?

Mosquitoland by David Arnold
Main Themes: Anxiety, Divorce, Depression
Mim Malone’s parents recently got a divorce. Her dad moved her to a different state, a different home, and a different school to settle down with a woman that is not Mim’s mother. Mim is having a hard time dealing with the divorce and is angry at her dad and her new step-mom for not letting her get the closure she needed with her mother. After a particularly bad morning, Mim packs a bag and boards a bus to find her mother. But, will she find more than she originally bargained for?

This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
Main Themes: Sex, Alcoholism, Parental Fighting
This is a graphic novel that follow 2 young girls. One is verging on puberty at the ripe age of 13 while the other is younger and unaware of body image, family problems, and, most of all, boys. The older girl, Rose, travels to a summer house each year with her parents and she always meets up with Windy, the younger girl who is always there each year too. When Rose looks for an escape from her parents constant fighting, the 2 girls find them in even more trouble than originally.

Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Main Themes: Drug Abuse, Alcohol Abuse, Unprotected Teen Sex
Kristina finds herself torn between 2 different people after going to visit her dad for the summer: herself and the new monster trying to take over Kristina’s body. Based on the story of her own daughter, Hopkins weaves a story in an interesting way that shows just how easily the drug meth can take over a good person and how addictive the substance truly is.

Zoe Letting Go by Nora Price
Main Themes: Anorexia, Eating Disorders
Zoe has recently been dumped, in her opinion, at a psychiatric facility for those suffering from anorexia. She is forced to attend weekly therapy sessions and is watched day and night to make sure she is eating enough. There is only one problem, Zoe doesn’t believe she belongs here. She writes letters to her best friend that continuously go unanswered. Is there something Zoe has blocked from her memory? Or, does she really not belong among the other suffering girls?

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
Main Themes: Loss, Heartache, Self-Discovery
(Compared to the other books, this is the tamest book that made the list.)
I wasn’t going to include this one, as the story isn’t one of my favorites. But, I figure eh I might as well throw it in here.  Leila is on a journey to find the self that she lost. She’s taking a solo road trip to Canada where she intends to get a chance to view the northern lights. She’s hoping the experience will bring back a past that has been lost to her. Along the way, she touches the lives of 5 strangers and leaves her mark on their lives just as they do the same for her. Will Leila find what she’s looking for?

That about does it. Thoughts on these books? Liked/disliked? Discover something new and interesting? Any other books like this to recommend me?

Up Tomorrow: Top Ten Tuesday

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6 thoughts on “Mash-Up Monday – YA Female-Lead Realistic Fiction Recommendations

  1. I really want to read This One Summer. And I actually really enjoyed Let’s Get Lost but I have a thing for road trip books. I think if I reread it, I wouldn’t rate it the same but it really worked for me at that point in my life. I know I’d have books to add to this list but I’ve been reading so much fantasy that I probably couldn’t name 10 contemporary books if you’d ask me to. Great post! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love This One Summer. It’s fascinating! I totally get where you’re coming from with Let’s Get Lost. I still really liked it, I just didn’t like it as much as the other books I included in this list. I’m pretty sure I gave a solid 3.5/5 star rating and I still totally recommend it. I just didn’t LOVE it. Glad you liked my post! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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