Book picks similar to
After the Strawberry by Kathryn Pope


young-adult
mental-illness
mental-health
realistic-fiction

All of Me


Maureen Stewart - 1996
    As Rebecca tries to remain in control while doing anything to lose weight, her life becomes an elaborate lie involving starving, taking laxatives, hiding food, vomiting and nearly killing herself.

More Than You Can Chew


Marnelle Tokio - 2003
    She may not be able to control her parents’ behavior, but she can decide what she will and will not eat. Eventually, she stops eating altogether. Marty is close to death when she finally asks for help and finds herself in a psychiatric institution. But recognizing her need for help is only the first tenuous step on a long road to recovery.Marty’s ability to find a way to live, despite the powerful lure of anorexia, is the core of this fine, insightful novel.Marnelle Tokio’s semi autobiographical story will resonate with every teenager who faces issues of family, body image, and self-confidence.

What I Lost


Alexandra Ballard - 2017
    As a result, she’s finally a size zero. She’s also the newest resident at Wallingfield, a treatment center for girls like her—girls with eating disorders. Elizabeth is determined to endure the program so she can go back home, where she plans to start restricting her food intake again. She’s pretty sure her mom, who has her own size 0 obsession, needs treatment as much as she does. Maybe even more. Then Elizabeth begins receiving mysterious packages. Are they from her ex-boyfriend, a secret admirer, or someone playing a cruel trick?

Not As Crazy As I Seem


George Harrar - 2003
    He covers his hands before opening doors, eats things in groups of four (his lucky number), and hangs up his shirts (with all their buttons buttoned) by color. Some kids say Devon’s crazy, but he knows better—these are the tricks that keep bad things from happening, and he can’t imagine giving them up. Devon calls it “controlling things.” His doctor calls it obsessive-compulsive disorder. When Devon starts at a new school, his compulsions start to get him in trouble, and before long he realizes that his only choice is to confront his behaviors and the events that trigger them. In a compelling story of growing up different, George Harrar introduces us to a boy who just might change the way we think about “crazy.”

Skin


Adrienne Maria Vrettos - 2006
    I'VE GOT IT ALL HERE, GROWING LIKE A TUMOR IN MY THROAT.I'm telling you because if I don't, I will choke on it. Everybody knows what happened, but nobody asks. And Elvis the EMT doesn't count because when he asked, he didn't even listen to me answer because he was listening to my sister's heart not beat with his stethoscope. I want to tell. It's mine to tell. Even if you didn't ask, you have to hear it. Fourteen-year-old Donnie's older sister, Karen, has always been the one person in his life on whom he could totally depend. But as Karen slowly slips away in the grip of an eating disorder, Donnie finds himself alone in facing the trauma of his parents' faltering marriage and his new life as an outcast at school. Donnie makes it his responsibility to cure his sister's illness and fix his parents' issues, letting every part of himself disappear in the process. It is more important -- and somehow easier -- to figure out if today is a day when Karen is eating, or to know if Dad and Mom are sleeping in the same bedroom, than to deal with his own problems. In the end, though, Donnie must decide whether to float through life unnoticed, or to claim his rightful place as a member of his family and of the world. This powerful story from a brilliant new talent introduces a memorable boy in Donnie, who, from his funny and painfully honest point of view, describes a harrowing year that leaves both him and his family forever changed.

Rosie Girl


Julie Shepard - 2017
    After her father passes away, seventeen-year-old Rosie is forced to live with her abusive stepmom Lucy and her deadbeat boyfriend, Judd, who gives Rosie the sort of looks you shouldn’t give your girlfriend’s step-daughter. Desperate for a way out, Rosie would do just about anything to escape the life she’s been handed. Then she finds a letter her dad wrote years ago, a letter confessing that Rosie's birth mother isn't dead, as she believed, but alive somewhere—having left them when Rosie was a little girl for reasons he won't reveal. Rosie resolves to find her birth mom, and she'll put everything on the line to make that happen. She hires a PI paid for by her best friend, Mary, who turns tricks for money. Unlike Rosie, Mary's no delicate flower and when she sees the opportunity to make some cash and help out her closest friend, she takes it. Romance blooms when the PI Rosie hires hands the case off to his handsome nephew Mac, but Rosie struggles to keep her illicit activities with Mary a secret. Things begin to unravel when Rosie starts getting creepy anonymous texts from johns looking for Mary. And then there's Mary, the one person Rosie can count on, who's been acting strangely all of a sudden. As Rosie and Mary get closer to finally uncovering the truth about Rosie's mom, Rosie comes face to face with a secret she never saw coming. With the ultimate unreliable narrator and twists and turns around every corner, Rosie Girl is an unforgettable tale of identity, devotion and desperation.

Cutters Don't Cry


Christine Dzidrums - 2010
    More specifically she cuts herself to numb emotions. In a series of raw journal entries, the confused teenager writes to her estranged father, filling him in on what's happened in her life since he left her nearly 18 years ago. Throughout the course of her letter writing, Charity chronicles her penchant for cutting, a serious struggle with depression and her inability to vocally express her feelings.

Skin and Bones


Sherry Shahan - 2014
    Sherry Shahan's SKIN AND BONES, pitched as ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST meets LOVE STORY set in an eating disorder hospital in which an aspiring ballerina and a quirky nerdboy fall desperately in love only to become each other's next deadly addiction, to Wendy McClure at Albert Whitman

Teach Me to Forget


Erica M. Chapman - 2016
    So, she’s made a plan—bought the gun, arranged for her funeral, and picked the day. Everything has fallen into place. Then, on the day she intends to take her own life, she meets Colter, a boy who recognizes her desperation and becomes determined to stop her.Ellery won’t be swayed so easily, but as she struggles with her hopelessness it becomes clear Colter has good reasons for his vigilance—deep, personal reasons. And whether Ellery likes it or not, he can’t let go.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock


Matthew Quick - 2013
    It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

A Trick of the Light


Lois Metzger - 2013
    But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they're getting confusing at school. He's losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he's a mess. Then there's a voice in his head. A friend, who's trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that's holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.

Welcome to the Slipstream


Natalka Burian - 2017
    Van is used to having to land on her feet, because her mother and her surrogate grandmother move from city to city all the time like corporate gypsies, but Alex introduces Van, a talented musician, to a group where her guitar skills may shine. But just as she's about to play her first gig, her mother is lured in by a con man promising a "vision quest" in Arizona, and Van must go on the road to find and save her mom.

Break


Hannah Moskowitz - 2009
    Everyone knows that broken bones grow back stronger than they were before. And Jonah wants to be stronger—needs to be stronger—because everything around him is falling apart. Breaking, and then healing, is Jonah’s only way to cope with the stresses of home, girls, and the world on his shoulders. When Jonah's self-destructive spiral accelerates and he hits rock bottom, will he find true strength or surrender to his breaking point?

Red Tears


Joanna Kenrick - 2007
    But beneath the surface she has a wretched secret. Because, for Emily, life isn't as much fun as it would appear. Her friends are going off her and her parents only seem to care about her troubled brother. Tension, pressure, anxiety, anger and self-hatred - where does it go when no one will listen?

The Perfect Cut


Julie Burtinshaw - 2008
    He doesn’t care about his parents. He doesn’t care about his friends. He doesn’t care about school. He just doesn’t care anymore. The only time Brian comes alive is in the few seconds it takes for the razor to slice through his skin. But he never cuts deep enough to cause any real damage. At least, not yet... In The Perfect Cut, Julie Burtinshaw has written an incredibly honest and perceptive novel about cutting, revealing why this dangerous practice has become an increasingly common form of stress relief among young adults. Told from the perspective of the grief-stricken Brian who, in his mind, has run out of options for coping, it’s clear that while he makes some bad choices, he’s not a bad person. The book ends on a grace note, reassuring young readers that even terrible obstacles can be overcome, and that where there’s life, there is hope.