This Is My Life

A Guide to Realistic Fiction for Teens

by Rachel L. Wadham


Do you still remember how tough and emotionally turbulent your adolescent years were? Arguably, today's teens and young adults face higher levels of stress, a greater range of perilous temptations, and more difficult decisions than every previous generation. The authors of the books covered in this guide know exactly what today's teens face—and that's why teens love these books.

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Cover image for This Is My Life

August 2010

Libraries Unlimited

Pages 431
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics Children's and Young Adult Services/Readers' Advisory Services
  Children's and Young Adult Collection Management/Acquisition and Collection Development Guides

Organized by subgenres and popular themes, this guide provides librarians, teachers, counselors, and other education professionals a wide range of suggested reading from the "realistic-problem novel" subset of modern young adult literature.

The fact that adolescents are captivated by books about protagonists facing the same fundamental challenges as them has been well established. While many forms of literature can potentially help young adults navigate though their development and establish their identities, contemporary realistic-problem fiction has a unique ability to engage and benefit the reader. The plights of the characters in these novels are strikingly similar to the real problems and issues that the teen reader is typically experiencing, making these books especially appealing and powerful.

This guide provides an effective road map for librarians, teachers, and other professionals working to guide teens through life by introducing them to books that discuss real-world problems and issues. This Is My Life: A Guide to Realistic Fiction for Teens focuses on stories set in contemporary times, with emphasis on works published in the past decade, however, this guide also includes classics and older benchmark titles. The readings suggested range from lighthearted, humorous novels to books with dark or serious themes.


  • Includes publication information and annotations for over 1,300 young-adult novels
  • Provides a comprehensive bibliography of current young-adult realistic fiction, containing only titles published within the last ten years in the United States and Canada
  • Organized by popular subgenres and themes, a subject index offers another access point, making it easier to find the right book for every teen reader


  • Provides a much-needed resource guide for the realistic-problem novel genre of young-adult literature, currently one of the most popular types of books for today's youth
  • Takes a genre approach, gathering annotations into broad thematic groups to assist professionals in identifying additional books that cover the same topic
Author Info

Rachel L. Wadham is the education librarian at Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. She holds a master's degree of library science as well as a master's degree in education. Wadham is a professional book reviewer and has authored a book on children's fantasy.



"This is a useful tool for its intended audience of librarians and instructors seeking issue-related fiction."Booklist

"Excellent tool to use in developing a collection by themes and subject areas."Teacher Librarian

"With more than 1000 shared, this book is a valuable resource with many practical applications, but especially collection development and reader's advisory."School Library Journal

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