11 Compassionate Novels For Teens Who Have Always Felt Different

It's easy for teenagers to feel alone. Growing up is difficult, and can feel isolating at times. Luckily, there are plenty of novels out there that feature protagonists who don't fit in with their peers, but still manage to be the heroes of their own stories. The books listed here celebrate unique teens who march to the beat of their own drum. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Heartfelt YA Novels: Our 11 Picks

Title Author
1. The Moonlight Dreamers Siobhan Curham
2. Lost Boy Shelley Hrdlitschka
3. Ballads of Suburbia Stephanie Kuehnert
4. Lemonade Mouth Mark Peter Hughes
5. The Weight of Zero Karen Fortunati
6. Big Fat Disaster Beth Fehlbaum
7. The Belief in Angels J. Dylan Yates
8. The Way the Light Bends Cordelia Jensen
9. My Beautiful Hippie Janet Nichols Lynch
10. Under Rose-Tainted Skies Louise Gornall
11. More Than Good Enough Crissa-Jean Chappell

Fun Activities For Teens

If you're trying to expand your social circle, consider inviting people over for some of these fun activities:

8 Great Films Based on YA Novels

  1. The Fault in Our Stars based on the book by John Green
  2. Divergent based on the book by Veronica Roth
  3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone based on the book by J.K. Rowling
  4. The Princess Diaries based on the book by Meg Cabot
  5. Holes based on the book by Louis Sachar
  6. The Hunger Games based on the book by Suzanne Collins
  7. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist based on the book by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
  8. Bridge to Terabithia based on the book by Katherine Paterson

Literary Charities

If you want to spread your love of YA literature with those in need, then you should consider looking into these non-profit organizations that help kids and teens get access to books and high-quality education.

The Science of the Teenage Brain

In Depth

For some, high school is the best time of their lives. For others, it's a period of confusion and isolation. Thankfully, there are many authors crafting relatable fiction that can help those who don't fit in to feel less alone. Here, in no particular order, are 11 novels that show teens understanding and compassion.

In the #1 spot is "The Moonlight Dreamers" by Siobhan Curham. Amber lives in London with her two dads, and is the target of bullying at school. Her love of Oscar Wilde inspires her to search out others who dream big like she does, and soon life brings Amber, Maali, Sky, and Rose together. The girls form a secret society where they celebrate their differences and encourage one another to follow their passions.

At #2 is "Lost Boy" by Shelley Hrdlitschka. Jon is a teenager raised in a strict religious community. After he is caught kissing a girl, he's forced to leave and strike out on his own. Having lived his entire life in a sheltered environment, he's not prepared for what the real world will be like, and seeks out others like himself who have had to adjust to an entirely foreign society that is full of temptations.

After he is caught kissing a girl, he's forced to leave and strike out on his own.

At #3 is "Ballads of Suburbia" by Stephanie Kuehnert. Kara keeps a notebook of news clippings about tragic events from the suburbs, with plans to write her own killer rock ballad. But the realities of teenage life get in the way, and after a nearly-fatal overdose, she leaves town without warning. Years later, Kara returns to Oak Park to face the music and confront her past.

For #4 we have "Lemonade Mouth" by Mark Peter Hughes. The source material for a popular Disney Channel movie, this quirky read follows five friends who come together in detention and decide to form a band named Lemonade Mouth. Written as an oral history of the now-successful band, readers will easily be able to identify with at least one of the five bandmates, outcasts who work together for a common cause.

At #5 is "The Weight of Zero" by Karen Fortunati. Catherine has struggled for years with bipolar disorder, and the dark depression she's named Zero. Unable to see an alternative, she saves medication in an old shoebox for the day Zero appears again, prepared to take her own life. In anticipation, she eagerly tries to complete her very small bucket list. But, with the help of her supportive family, new friends, and an optimistic psychiatrist, Catherine realizes she isn't alone in this fight after all.

Catherine has struggled for years with bipolar disorder, and the dark depression she's named Zero.

In the #6 spot is "Big Fat Disaster" by Beth Fehlbaum. After her politician father ditches her family, Colby moves with her mom to a relative's trailer. Colby's mom blames her for discovering the affair, and has always been critical of her weight. After a video of her gets out on the Internet, Colby is humiliated, and when perception of her changes after a tragic accident, she knows it's only a matter of time before everyone turns on her again. This hard-hitting book is a thoughtful analysis of a culture where appearances matter more than anything.

At #7 is "The Belief in Angels" by J. Dylan Yates. Growing up on a small island near Boston, Jules lives in a chaotic household with her hippie mom. She's forced to grow up fast, with violence and drugs entering the picture at an early age. Her story is intertwined with that of her grandfather, who in the 1920s had to deny his heritage in order to escape the Ukraine and make it to America.

Coming in at #8 is "The Way the Light Bends" by Cordelia Jensen. Linc's adopted sister, Holly, is everything their parents could have dreamed of. Artistic Linc, on the other hand, cannot seem to do anything to make them proud. She feels alone at school and unwanted at home, and is desperate for a way to get her parents' approval. Written in free verse, this insightful novel creates a visceral experience, putting the narrator's emotions front and center.

Artistic Linc, on the other hand, cannot seem to do anything to make them proud.

At #9 is "My Beautiful Hippie" by Janet Nichols Lynch. It's 1967, and the Summer of Love has just begun in San Francisco. No one could have anticipated that conservative, classical-music-loving Joanne would fall in love with a hippie. Martin is a free-spirited vagabond who introduces her to a culture of psychedelic drugs, rock music, and anti-war rallies. Joanne's worlds clash and she must decide which life she wants to lead. Does she return to her family's safe, traditional ways? Or does she follow the values of her new life?

At #10 is "Under Rose-Tainted Skies" by Louise Gornall. Norah suffers from agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder that cripples her with fear at the prospect of leaving the house. Norah meets her neighbor, Luke, and the two find themselves falling for each other between horror films and vanilla ice cream. Luke is the first person to make Norah feel normal, but deep down she is convinced he deserves someone who doesn't hide indoors.

Finally, at #11 is "More Than Good Enough" by Crissa-Jean Chappell. Trent is floored when his mother tells him he's going to be sent to a reservation in the Everglades to live with his recently-paroled father. Only half Miccosukee, Trent feels little connection to the community. At his new school, he runs into Pippa, an old childhood friend, and the two partner up for a project where they must film their lives. Over the course of the assignment, Trent takes a hard look at himself and tries to figure out where he truly belongs.