Teen Trauma to the Max!
Here are three intriguing, disturbing stories. You might consider them horror stories without zombies, vampires, werewolves, serial killers, super heros or super villains. They deal with uncomfortable but very real things. They may provoke discomforting emotions and thoughts. They may creep you out. As King Lear says, "O, that way madness lies; let me shun that!" (Act III. Scene iv). None of these are for the faint of heart. Consider yourself warned.
Identical / Ellen Hopkins
Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical twins. They may share the same body, but they have very different personalities. The twins live in the dysfunctional family of an alcoholic father and an emotionally distant, ambitious mother. Raeanne acts out her rebellion using alcohol, any other drugs she can get her hands on, and promiscuity. In contrast Kaeleigh, the victim of her father’s attention, passively submits to the tyranny. She longs for her boyfriend to rescue her, but she’s so burdened by a dreadful load of shame and guilt that when he offers to help she backs away.
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes / Chris Crutcher.
Eric Calhoune is a swimmer. His nickname is Moby. His best friend is Sarah Byrnes, who because of horrific childhood burn scars, is “one of the ugliest human beings outside the circus.” Eric stayed fat a whole year for her. In junior high school they published an alternative school paper Crispy Pork Rinds. As he explains it, “Sarah Byrns is crispy, I'm a porker, and rinds are the part that's left--that no one pays attention to. We print the news the regular newspaper misses.”
Now they are in High School and Sarah Byrnes is checked in to the Psych Ward at the local hospital and won’t say a word or respond to anybody. Eric doesn’t know why his previously defiantly resilient friend has gone mum. Is there some news that he’s missed?
While he’s trying to figure this out, Eric still has to go to school. In Contemporary American Thought, the senior discussion class deals with tough topics like: abortion, religion, child abuse, mental illness, and suicide. Never mind the mental stimulation—there’s this other guy, Matt, in the class who really gets on Eric’s nerves.
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl / by Barry Lyga
Life in is rough for Don at South Brook High. He may be smart, but he knows he’s “the town geek.” He’s lived in rural South Brook for nine years with his mother and “the step-fascist,” and he has ½ a friend, Carl. Like Don, Carl is a big comic book fan, but he’s also—and Don can’t figure out why—a member of the Lacrosse, Basketball, and Football teams with “the Jock Jerks.” These are guys who push Don around. He has a terrible lust for Dina Jurgens the “Senior Goddess,” but he knows he’s beneath her notice. He’s made “the List” of all the people he wants to disappear into oblivion. He stays up late at night wishing for a new computer and drawing and writing his own graphic novel. He spends the day at school trying not to be noticed.
One day trying to get out of gym as early as possible he purposely doesn’t dodge in dodge ball so he can stand on the sidelines. Unfortunately, so does big, dumb and mean Mitchell Frampton. He gets out of the game early so he can punch Don in the shoulder repeatedly when the coaches aren’t watching, which is often. That night, much to his surprise Don gets an IM from an unknown sender, Promethea387. Her question is, “Why do you let him hit you?”