Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Suicide in YA Novels

*I started this post ages ago and somehow, September has just gotten away from me! Better late than never, right?*

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and since I have recently read a couple of books that address the issue of suicide, I thought I should put together a quick post. There is no shortage of books that deal with suicide. A quick search of my library catalog turned up over 30 titles in the Teen collection with the subject heading of suicide. I have not read most of them. I don’t need to because I have real life experience with coping with a suicide. But I recognize their value and hope that they always find their way into the hands of the reader in need. Books are powerful. Books can save.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. Elise has endured a lifetime of bullying, but she wants nothing more than to just fit in. After a final failed attempt to gain popularity, she nearly succumbs to the desire to end it all. In her moment of despair she has no idea what joy is waiting for her to stumble upon.

this song will save your life

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he plans to kill himself and his former best friend. The novel is a heartbreaking look at one teen’s final hours as he says goodbye to the four people who meant the most to him.

forgive me leonard

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This is quickly becoming a classic. Hannah Baker committed suicide, but before she killed herself she recorded thirteen tapes explaining the reasons she ended her life.

thirteen reasons why

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. Sure, this is a zombie apocalypses story, but it’s not all blood and guts. The author manages to address heavy issues such as abuse, death and suicide.

this is not a tesstNonfiction

There are plenty of books both fiction and nonfiction that deal with bullying. They are powerful and important. However, there are also a few amazing nonfiction books that I find to be inspirational without being preachy. They remind readers that there is hope for the future.

Dear Teen Me by E. Kristin Anderson (editor). This is a collection of letters that authors have written to their teen selves.


Post Secrets by Frank Warren. This began as an art project and experiment and became an overnight phenomenon. This book is a collection of anonymous secrets. Some are sweet, some are horrendous. All remind readers that they are not alone.

post secrets

I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets by Rachel Fershleiser (editor). This book is a collection of six-word memoirs by teens. Some names you will recognize, others are just ordinary people.

i can't keep

According to the CDC, suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. If you or someone you know needs help, you can find 24-7 assistance on a suicide hotline.

“Everything…affects everything”
― Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why


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