Biographies for Teens

May 3, 2018

Interested in biographies? Take a look at some stories for teens by teens.

I have the right to: a high school survivor's story of sexual assault, justice, and hope / Chessy Prout, with Jenn Abelson

A young survivor tells her searing, visceral story of sexual assault, justice, and healing in this gut-wrenching memoir.

The numbers are staggering: nearly one in five girls ages fourteen to seventeen have been the victim of a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This is the true story of one of those girls.

In 2014, Chessy Prout was a freshman at St. Paul’s School, a prestigious boarding school in New Hampshire, when a senior boy sexually assaulted her as part of a ritualized game of conquest. Chessy bravely reported her assault to the police and testified against her attacker in court. Then, in the face of unexpected backlash from her once-trusted school community, she shed her anonymity to help other survivors find their voice.

This memoir is more than an account of a horrific event. It takes a magnifying glass to the institutions that turn a blind eye to such behavior and a society that blames victims rather than perpetrators. Chessy’s story offers real, powerful solutions to upend rape culture as we know it today. Prepare to be inspired by this remarkable young woman and her story of survival, advocacy, and hope in the face of unspeakable trauma.

           

Some assembly required: the not-so-secret life of a transgender teen / Arin Andrews with Joshua Lyon

Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful, and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning first-of-its-kind memoir. Now with a reading group guide and an all-new afterword from the author!

In this revolutionary first-of-its-kind memoir, Arin Andrews details the journey that led him to make the life-transforming decision to undergo gender reassignment as a high school junior. In his captivatingly witty, honest voice, Arin reveals the challenges he faced as a boy in a girl’s body, the humiliation and anger he felt after getting kicked out of his private school, and all the changes—both mental and physical—he experienced once his transition began.

Some Assembly Required is a true coming-of-age story about knocking down obstacles and embracing family, friendship, and first love. But more than that, it is a reminder that self-acceptance does not come ready-made with a manual and spare parts. Rather, some assembly is always required.Now with a reading group guide and an all-new afterword from the author!

In this revolutionary first-of-its-kind memoir, Arin Andrews details the journey that led him to make the life-transforming decision to undergo gender reassignment as a high school junior. In his captivatingly witty, honest voice, Arin reveals the challenges he faced as a boy in a girl’s body, the humiliation and anger he felt after getting kicked out of his private school, and all the changes—both mental and physical—he experienced once his transition began.

Some Assembly Required is a true coming-of-age story about knocking down obstacles and embracing family, friendship, and first love. But more than that, it is a reminder that self-acceptance does not come ready-made with a manual and spare parts. Rather, some assembly is always required.

 

Obsessed: a memoir of my life with OCD / Allison Britz

A brave teen recounts her debilitating struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder—and brings readers through every painful step as she finds her way to the other side—in this powerful and inspiring memoir.

Until sophomore year of high school, fifteen-year-old Allison Britz lived a comfortable life in an idyllic town. She was a dedicated student with tons of extracurricular activities, friends, and loving parents at home.

But after awakening from a vivid nightmare in which she was diagnosed with brain cancer, she was convinced the dream had been a warning. Allison believed that she must do something to stop the cancer in her dream from becoming a reality.

It started with avoiding sidewalk cracks and quickly grew to counting steps as loudly as possible. Over the following weeks, her brain listed more dangers and fixes. She had to avoid hair dryers, calculators, cell phones, computers, anything green, bananas, oatmeal, and most of her own clothing.

Unable to act “normal,” the once-popular Allison became an outcast. Her parents questioned her behavior, leading to explosive fights. When notebook paper, pencils, and most schoolbooks were declared dangerous to her health, her GPA imploded, along with her plans for the future.

Finally, she allowed herself to ask for help and was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder. This brave memoir tracks Allison’s descent and ultimately hopeful climb out of the depths.

 

Americanized: rebel without a green card / Sara Saedi

The hilarious, poignant, and true story of one teens's experience growing up in America as an undocumented immigrant from the Middle East, perfect for fans of Mindy Kaling and Trevor Noah's books.

At thirteen, bright-eyed, straight-A student Sara Saedi uncovered a terrible family secret: she was breaking the law simply by living in the United States. Only two years old when her parents fled Iran, she didn't learn of her undocumented status until her older sister wanted to apply for an after-school job, but couldn't because she didn't have a Social Security number.

Fear of deportation kept Sara up at night, but it didn't keep her from being a teenager. She desperately wanted a green card, along with clear skin, her own car, and a boyfriend.

Americanized follows Sara's progress toward getting her green card, but that's only a portion of her experiences as an Iranian-"American" teenager. From discovering that her parents secretly divorced to facilitate her mother's green card application to learning how to tame her unibrow, Sara pivots gracefully from the terrifying prospect that she might be kicked out of the country at any time to the almost-as-terrifying possibility that she might be the only one of her friends without a date to the prom. This moving, often hilarious story is for anyone who has ever shared either fear.         

 

This star won't go out: the life and words of Esther Grace Earl / by Esther Earl with Lori and Wayne Earl; introduction by John Green

Esther was 16 when she died from complications of thyroid cancer in 2010. Featuring essays from friends, family, and doctors and curated by her parents, this collection—part autobiography, portfolio of her fiction and drawings, and photo album—is a touching eulogy, and it fulfills her dream to be an author. An intimate portrait of a vibrant, deeply engaged teen, this title reveals the power of the internet as a mode for connection, which comes through with each reproduced chat session and blog post.

Esther became a fixture among the Nerdfighters, a community dedicated to intellectualism and creativity, created by YA author John Green and his brother, composer Hank Green, via their popular YouTube channel, the Vlogbrothers. She loved Harry Potter–themed “wizard” rock music and Doctor Who, and she was part of Catitude, a group that ran the Project for Awesome, a Nerdfighter charity campaign. John Green dedicated The Fault in Our Stars (2012) to Esther, and in his introduction to this memoir, he notes that while he’s proud of Fault’s success, “the one person I most want to read it never will.”

 

(All book descriptions provided by Amazon.com) 

Keywords: biographies, teens
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