Book picks similar to
White Chalk by Pavarti K. Tyler


abuse
coming-of-age
contemporary
literary-fiction

Summer Girl


Linda Watkins - 2018
     Jake Chambers is also on a collision course with the past as he returns to Cutter Island for the first time in more than a decade. And, as the ferry approaches the wharf, he finds his mind filled with thoughts of a summer long forgotten and a girl destined to haunt him forever. From award-winning author, Linda Watkins, comes a story of love, loss, survival, and, most of all, hope...SUMMER GIRL, A Novel.

Pearl


Deirdre Riordan Hall - 2016
    Unless you’re courageous. I’m not, but I’d like to be.Pearl Jaeger is seventeen and homeless after drugs, poverty, and addiction unraveled the life she shared with JJ, her formerly glamorous rock star mother.This moment of happiness is fleeting; someone will take it from me. When tragedy brings a chance to start over at an elite boarding school, she doesn’t hesitate. Yet the only salvation comes from an art teacher as troubled as Pearl, and she faces the stark reality that what she thought she wanted isn’t straightforward.I trace the outline of my reflection in a window. I am no more than a replica of my mother. This is not the self-portrait I want to paint.Through the friendships she forms at school—especially with Grant, a boy who shows Pearl what it means to trust and forgive—she begins to see a path not defined by her past. But when confronted with the decision to be courageous or to take the easy way forged by her mother’s failures, which direction will Pearl choose?

What I Saw


Beck Nicholas - 2016
    But is anyone ready for the consequences of telling the truth? A stunning new YA novel about the complicated romance between a girl with everything on the line and a boy with nothing to lose following a king hit incident that leaves the high school golden boy in a coma, from the author of FAKE.

Catch A Falling Star


Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo - 1999
    In this collection, Hidalgo returns to the writing of the realistic short story while remaining true to the style of the travel essays, which some critics believe to be her most inspired work.

I Know an Old Lady


Margaret Standafer - 2020
    Teenagers are celebrating the first taste of freedom as they line their pockets with newly printed driver’s licenses and long-awaited paychecks. Days off are spent at the town’s only lake, nights under the yellow lights of the drive-in restaurant.But Billy Tupper’s life is a far cry from that of other teenagers. One mistake too many lands him in front of a judge who sentences him to a summer working for Old Lady Baxter, the victim of his latest carelessness…and the rumored child killer of Munroe, Kansas. As Billy sweats his way through endless months of mowing her lawn, weeding her garden, and painting her house, he also searches for the evidence to prove she’s guilty, but what he finds, and what he learns about himself, will change his life forever.I Know an Old Lady is a touching coming-of-age story of loss and redemption, of understanding and compassion, and of a family torn apart and slowly put back together.I Know an Old Lady is Billy Tupper’s story.

The Fields


Kevin Maher - 2013
    It's the first summer of lust for 14-year-old Jim Finnegan, a boy trying to become a man in 1980s Dublin. Jim's vivid and winning voice leaps off the page and into the reader's heart as he watches his parents argue, his five older sisters fight, and the local network of mothers gossip. Jim hilariously recounts his life dealing with the politics of his boisterous family, taking breakneck bike rides with his best friend, dancing to Foreigner on his boombox, and quietly coveting the local girls from afar. Over the summer, Jim wins the attention of a beautiful older girl, but he also becomes the unwilling target of a devious religious figure in the community. His life starts to unravel as he faces consequences from both his love for his girlfriend and his attempts to avoid the Parish Priest. When he and his girlfriend take a ferry for a clandestine trip to London, the dark and difficult repercussions from the trip force Jim to look for the solution to all his problems in some very unusual places. The Fields is an unforgettable story of an extraordinary character. It's a portrait of a boy who sinks into troubles as he grows into a man, and the loving but fractured family that might be his downfall -- or his salvation. Lyrical, funny, and endlessly inventive, it is a brilliant debut from a remarkable new voice.

Pure Sunshine


Brian James - 2002
    It's not about the girls or the fights or the fading streetlights. It's about two nights that weren't going to be different from the rest but then took a turn. It's about trying to find out who you are and who your real friends are. It's about everything being the same, the same, the same. It's about nothing being the same again. It's about Brendon, Will, and Kevin -- three friends on different paths -- and the weekend that put them to the test.

The Belief in Angels


J. Dylan Yates - 2015
    Somewhere between routine discipline with horsewhips, gun-waving gambling debt collectors, and LSD-laced breakfast cereal adventures, tragedy strikes a blow from which Jules may never recover. Jules's story alternates with that of her grandfather, Szaja, an Orthodox Jew who survives the murderous Ukranian pogroms of the 1920s, the Majdanek death camp, and the torpedoing of the Mefkura, a ship carrying refugees to Palestine. Unable to deal with the horrors he endures at the camp, Szaja develops a dissociative disorder and takes on the persona of a dead soldier from a burial ditch, using that man's thoughts to devise a plan to escape to America. While Szaja's and Jules's sorrows are different on the surface, adversity requires them both to find the will to live despite the suffering in their lives--and both encounter, in their darkest moments, what could be explained as serendipity or divine intervention. For Jules and Szaja, these experiences offer the hope they need to come to the rescue of their own fractured lives.

Swimming Sweet Arrow


Maureen Gibbon - 2000
    Vangie and June make out with their boyfriends together in the same car; they pass dirty notes to each other during the day at school. They tell each other everything: "That was the kind of friends we were".After they graduate, things begin to shift. Vangie gets a job waitressing and moves in with Del; June, unable to get a job anywhere but the local factory, moves in with Ray and his older brother Luke. As they become more involved in their lives with their men, they see each other infrequently, but not so seldom that it doesn't become clear to Vangie that there's something dangerous going on, that June has crossed a line with the men in her life that even Vangie would not.

Unbearable Girl


Julie Camper - 2013
    Unfortunately, being the head cheerleader, on the honor roll and most popular girl in school isn't perfect enough to save Dianna from her from her father's belt, which is the only parenting tool he thinks he needs. With the start of 10th grade and his angry punishments increasing in frequency and intensity, she isn't sure she'll make it to 11th. That is, until she meets Laurie Burns. Laurie is the biggest nerd in school, wears ugly clothes and annoys everyone around her with her know-it-all attitude. She also has a warm, caring heart and opens up her life, and her family, to Dianna in a moment of crisis. Can this weird, unusual girl and her equally unusual family be the key to finally finding the love and security she needs?

The Secret We Kept


Ayana - 2017
    Dealing with a mom who is mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive and classmates who bully her on a daily basis, she did not want anything else to add to her list of stress. But after spending one night with her high school crush and the school's most popular boy, Anthony Royal, things take a serious turn. Anthony Royal, boyfriend to Kimberly's worst enemy Veronica Mills, finds himself in a messy situation. He is tired of dealing with his overbearing parents who run his life and a girlfriend who cares about nobody but herself. Spending the night with Kimberly on their school field trip wasn't supposed to happen and getting her pregnant was definitely not in his plan. Knowing his parents will want to get rid of Kim and the baby, he decides not to tell them and help raise the baby with Kim in private. But what will happen when things start to get too complicated and spiral out of control? Will they still be able to keep their baby a secret or will it be revealed? Find out in The Secret We Kept...

All That's True


Jackie Lee Miles - 2010
    Then my mother started drinking and my father started having sex with Donna, my best friend's stepmother. She's not even thirty years old." With an equal mix of joy and sorrow, All That's True follows Andi's poignant-and sometimes laugh out loud-journey to young adulthood, where she struggles with the elusive nature of truth and the devastating consequences of deception. "Jackie Lee Miles is a wise and perceptive writer with a keen understanding of human frailties." –Julie Cannon, author of Truelove and Homegrown Tomatoes "Perfect in voice and detail, chock full of girl talk and seat-of-the pants crises, Miles' book is a winner." -Rosemary Daniell, award-winning author of Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing (and Sisterhood) Can Change Women's Lives "Miles is a fascinating new voice in Southern fiction. Readers will rejoice." -Karin Gillespie, author of Bet Your Bottom Dollar "For those of us looking for relationships that feel authentic, you will find them in this novel!" -Edward Mooney, Jr. author of The Pearls of the Stone Man (20100629)

Save Me


Stephanie Street
    It had been more than three years since the last time. Back then I never rang the bell or knocked, instead walked in knowing I was as welcome there as if it were my own house. But that was a long time ago. Things have changed since then. Or maybe they haven’t as much as I’d like to think. Either way, desperate times called for desperate measures and I was desperate. I finally got the go ahead on the play I'd written. It was my ticket out of here. The only problem- there hadn’t been a dramatic production at my high school in over a decade. It had taken some serious effort to find a teacher willing to sponsor the play and participate as the resident voice of authority over the newly formed drama club, of which I was currently the president and only member. And so here I was, at the house across the street. Because everyone knows any great production needed a celebrity. And Cole Parker was the closest thing to a celebrity our little town could claim. “Joie! What a surprise!” Mrs. Parker greeted, a furrow forming between her brows even as her lips curled into a happy smile. “Hi, Mrs. Parker. Is Cole home,” I asked, nerves shaking my voice. “Of course, he’s up in his room. Should I call him down or do you want to go on up?” “Oh, no. I can go up.” I glanced up the stairs. “Are you sure that’s okay?” “I’m sure. Go on up. He’s supposed to be doing homework.” Mrs. Parker’s expression turned jokingly sour. “But he’s probably watching SportsCenter.” I laughed, because even though I hadn’t talked to Cole in a long time, I felt certain she was right. Taking a deep breath, I took the first step leading to the second story of the Parker’s home. Memories pulsed through my mind with each one. Cole and I as little kids, sliding down the steps in slick sleeping bags. Picnics on the landing with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and grape Kool-Aid. Building castles and spaceships with Legos in his room for hours and hours until his mom called us down for dinner. Forcing him to play house after his sister, Macy, was born, pretending she was our daughter. Ha. Maybe I could use that one as blackmail. Too soon, I stood in front of his door. I slid my damp palms down the thighs of my bootcut jeans. Through the door, I heard sports commentators. I pictured Cole easily in my mind. Just because we hadn’t spoken in years didn’t mean I hadn’t seen him as recently as a couple of hours ago. In fact, I’d seen him not thirty minutes ago when he pulled his beat up old Camaro into the driveway out front. I’d given it that long to shower and eat. Cole would be reclined on his bed, books strewn around him. He was a good student and would get his homework done, even with SportsCenter on. His dark brown hair would still be damp from his shower and he’d smell like Acqua Di Gio. He’d started wearing it before- well, just before. And he’d be wearing some kind of Cambridge High garb. Sweats and a t-shirt. If I was a betting girl, that’s what I’d gamble on. He’d caught my eye a few times since well, then, and I’d seen it in his eyes. The confusion. The anger. Emotions he attempted to hide behind a mask of indifference. Every time, I turned away from him as quickly as I could. It was fine. He didn’t need me. And I didn’t need him. He had his football team. His basketball team. The love and adoration of the whole school. What did it matter he didn’t have me? It didn’t. I had my writing. And as soon as I could- I’d be out of here.

Cygnet


Season Butler - 2019
    She is a bright new voice in literature.”  —Bernardine Evaristo, Booker Prize-winning author of Girl, Woman, Other“It’s too hot for most of the clothes I packed to come here, when I thought this would only be for a week or two. My mother kissed me with those purple-brown lips of hers and said, we’ll be back, hold tight.”The seventeen-year-old Kid doesn’t know where her parents are. They left her with her grandmother Lolly, promising to return soon. That was months ago. Now Lolly is dead and the Kid is alone, stranded ten miles off the coast of New Hampshire on tiny Swan Island. Unable to reach her parents and with no other relatives to turn to, she works for a neighbor, airbrushing the past by digitally retouching family photos and movies to earn enough money to survive.Surrounded by the vast ocean, the Kid’s temporary home is no ordinary vacation retreat. The island is populated by an idiosyncratic group of the elderly who call themselves Wrinklies. They have left behind the youth-obsessed mainland—“the Bad Place”—to create their own alternative community, one where only the elderly are welcome. The adolescent’s presence on their island oasis unnerves the Wrinklies, turning some downright hostile. They don’t care if she has nowhere to go;they just want her gone. She is a reminder of all they’ve left behind and are determined to forget.But the Kid isn’t the only problem threatening the insular community. Swan Island is eroding into the rising sea, threatening the Wrinklies’ very existence there. The Kid’s own house edges closer to the seaside cliffs each day. To find a way forward, she must come to terms with the realities of her life, the inevitability of loss, and an unknown future that is hers alone to embrace.Season Butler makes her literary debut with an ambitious work of bold imagination. Tough and tender, compassionate and ferocious, understated and provocative, Cygnet is a meditation on death and life, past and future, aging and youth, memory and forgetting, that explores what it means to find acceptance—of things gone and of those yet to come.

Diary of a Witness


Catherine Ryan Hyde - 2009
    . . .Ernie doesn't have a lot of friends at school. Just Will. They have stuff in common—like fishing. But more important, they have common enemies: the school jocks, who seem to find bullying just another sport. For the most part, Ernie and Will take life at high school in stride. Until Will has one very bad day. Now nothing is remotely funny. Ernie finds himself a witness—to loss, to humiliation, and to Will’s anger—an anger that’s building each and every moment. Ernie doesn’t want to believe his best friend is changing, but he can’t deny the truth. Soon he has a choice: join or die. Or can he find another way? Praise for The Day I Killed James:“Teens who have experienced crushing rejection or who have laughed at the ardent feelings of a classmate will devour this original, gripping story.”—Kirkus Reviews