So frequently while growing up we’re posed the question, ‘What do we want to be?’, but the question ‘Who are we?’ gets completely bypassed.
Of course the answer should be simple; You’re YOU.
But too many times we put ourselves, and our development of self, on the back burner to make way for ‘important’ things; school, work, friends. While of course those are necessary, we often overlook opportunities to think about who we are, or who we want to become.
Here are some books about Finding One’s Self and figuring out; Who Are You?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky (Fiction Chbosky, S & DVD Perks)
Charlie has always been a ‘wallflower’, an observer of life that’s passing him by. Until he meets two outgoing outsiders; Patrick, a gay teen who’s having an affair with the star quarterback, and Sam, Patrick’s sister. Both adopt Charlie into their lives and teach him how to participate in life instead of letting it rush past him.
This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales (YA Fiction Sales, L)
Elise has always been a failure at popularity; listening to her parents and motivational posters as to how to make friends and be popular. However, one fateful night, while sneaking out she runs across an all-night dance party where she learns that instead of listening to others, she should be listening to herself to learn who she really is.
Turtles All The Way Down – John Green (YA Fiction Green, J)
Aza Holmes is a young woman caught in the grasp of symptoms of her OCD, and tugged around by her Anxiety Disorder; all the while, she feels like her friends stay with her out of pity. Her friend Daisy decides to drag Aza into a Sherlock-based mystery to search for a missing billionaire; which leads to an adventure where Aza may find more stability in her life that’s been missing.
Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy (YA Fiction, Murphy, J)
Willowdean has always been ‘fat’, and she’s not afraid to own up to it. However, when she starts working at Harpy’s, and meet Bo, a hot former jock, she begins to question her self-confidence. Bo SEEMS to accept her, but why can’t she accept herself?
Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen (YA Fiction Dessen, S)
Sydney has always lived a quiet life, peering from her brother’s shadow until he gets into a drunk driving accident and severely injures another person. Sydney, afraid of being judged drops out of the private school she attends and transfers to a public school, where she meets Mac and Layla, and their family, who treat Sydney as herself instead of someone related to her brother.
Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta (YA Fiction Marchetta, M)
Taylor was abandoned by her mother when she was eleven at a 7-11 on Jellicoe Road, and since then has everything relevant has happened on that road; being abandoned, running away with a boy, and living there at boarding school. Since then, Taylor’s been re-evaluating everything about herself, and why her mom didn’t want her.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart (YA Fiction Lockhart, E)
For too long Frankie Landau-Banks has been put on the back-burner and not been valued as a person. For too long Frankie has been put in the shadow of her father as his meek little daughter, and not listened too. For too long, but it’s stopping now. Frankie is tired of not being respected enough and she’s putting her foot down and showing her true face as she takes her Sophomore year by storm and teaches everyone through a war of practical jokes that she’s no longer a background character.
Burned – Ellen Hopkins (YA Fiction Hopkins, E)
Pattyn has lived in a Mormon household her whole life, and is curious about a lot of things including what is her role in the house and will she ever find love. When her father catches her in a compromising situation, he sends her to live with her aunt in Nevada where she can catch a breath from her suffocating family life and learn who she truly is.
Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver (YA Fiction Oliver, L)
Sam has always been at the top of the social food-chain, until she dies one night. But it doesn’t end there, she wakes up the next morning to relive her last day, over and over again. During this ‘Groundhog Day’ of events, Sam gets the chance to figure out if this was who she was truly meant to be.
Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell (YA Fiction Rowell, R)
Eleanor is the new kid, it practically vibes off her when she gets on the bus Monday morning, clinging to her as she looks for a seat and takes the first one available; next to Park. From there the two become friends, becoming as thick as thieves. But when everyone tells them what they like, and who they are is wrong, as long as they’re together they know it’s right. While they both live separate lives, they use each other as a soundboard to figure out where to go from here.
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids – Sarah Ockler (Available through Axis 360)
After a terrifying boating accident in the sea took Elyse’s voice, she moves to Atargatis Cove to start a new, non-music motivated, life of solitude. Until she meets playboy Christian who challenges her to break out of her newly developed shell and go back to being herself. But in order to do that she’ll need to get back into the water and conquer her fears; will Christian keep her afloat or will she drown from a broken heart?
The Adoration of Jenna Fox – Mary E Pearson (YA Fiction Pearson, M)
After waking up from a year long coma, Jenna feels anything but normal. Having to relearn how to do things is to be assumed, but having to figure out who she was before the accident wasn’t on her to-do list. Her main question to figure out though, is how much of yourself can you forget before you’re a different person?
Not After Everything – Michelle Levy (Available through Axis 360)
Tyler had it all; good grades, a hot girlfriend, a football scholarship to Stanford…until he came home from practice one day to find his mom dead in the bathtub. Having pushed everyone around him away, Tyler soon finds it necessary to re-enter society in hopes of finding a job. Tyler stumbles upon Henry, who owns a photography studio, who hires him on the spot and realizes that his coworker is his previous best friend Jordyn, who might be able to assist Tyler in placing his life back on track from the tragedy.
Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon (YA Fiction Yoon, N & DVD Everything)
For Madeline, everything’s been pretty cut and dry; due to an Immunodeficiency disease, she’s unable to leave her room, much less her house. But those lines and rules begin to shift after she meets Olly, the boy next door who peaked her interest in Love and Life. When all that she’s ever known is within the four walls of her house, can she build herself outside of her structure?
Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli (YA Fiction Spinelli, J)
Stargirl is everything conformity is not; individualized. When she begins Mica High from her home schooled life, Stargirl doesn’t understand the invisible social structure around her, and she doesn’t care. She knows her life, and is proud of who she is. Until an incident at a basketball game turns the students against Stargirl; in an effort to ‘save face’, Leo, her boyfriend, asks her to do the unthinkable, be normal.
Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins (YA Fiction Perkins, A)
Anna has had her senior year ironed out; she has a great job, a fantastic best friend, and a crush in process of becoming something more. But all that changes when her father ships her off to a boarding school in Paris. Now she needs go over the relationships she left back home, and relationships she’s going to make.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian – Sherman Alexie (YA Fiction Alexie, S)
Junior knows he wants to be a cartoonist, but in order to do that he needs to leave the safety net of the Reservation’s school, and head to an All-White school where the only other Indian there is the school’s mascot. While the students don’t take too kindly to Junior’s presence, if he truly wants to follow his dream he’ll need to keep his footing in this shaky stage of his life.
What We Left Behind – Robin Talley (Available through Axis 360)
Told in parts of Gretchen and Toni, a couple throughout high school and separating for the first time to go to different colleges. Toni, who identifies as Genderqueer, finds a group of upperclassmen all over the gender spectrum. Toni goes through the battle of figuring out who they are and who they identify with. While Gretchen on the other hand, as always been Toni-and-Gretchen, figuring out who Gretchen is without Toni is her own struggle.
Just One Day – Gayle Forman (YA Fiction Forman, G)
Allyson has always been quiet and careful, just like her parents wanted, but during a three week vacation to Europe things change. On the last day out, Allyson meets Willem, who asks her to take a risk, step outside her shell, and go on a one day trip to Paris with him. She does, and her whole world flips upside down as she tries to figure herself out.
Since You’ve Been Gone – Morgan Matson (YA Fiction Matson, M)
Before Sloane, Emily stayed at the epitome of Introversion. Since she stepped into her life, Emily’s been making major steps of improvement, until Sloane disappears and leaves a To-Do list with thirteen tasks. Thinking Sloane may come back if the list is completed, Emily pushes herself out of her shell to try and emerge victoriously.
The Disenchantments – Nina LaCour (YA Fiction LaCour, N)
Colby knows his future; he plans to go on tour for the summer with his best friend Bev, and her all girl band, as their roadie. Then go with Bev to tour Europe, and hopefully tell her that he’s in love with her. But when the tour begins, and Bev states that she’s going to college instead of Europe, Colby is crushed and needs to relearn who he is, and what the future holds for him.