Reading List: National Suicide Awareness Month

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September is National Suicide Awareness Month, also known as Suicide Prevention Month. Award-winning titles in this booklist share stories of characters who are struggling with thoughts of suicide or who are grieving the loss of a family member or friend who has committed suicide. As always, with reading there is understanding. It is our hope that this booklist helps someone who is dealing with thoughts of suicide or otherwise impacted by it. This list is geared towards readers ages 12 and up. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Find more help at




0689838840 24 hours
By: Margaret Mahy

During his first twenty-four hours after finishing high school, seventeen-year-old Ellis unexpectedly becomes part of an inner-city world far different from his comfortable life, which helps him deal with his best friend’s recent suicide. Esther Glen Award, 2001 Winner
9780385755887 All the bright places
By: Jennifer Niven

Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school–both teetering on the edge–it’s the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the “natural wonders” of the state of Indiana, and two teens’ desperate desire to heal and save one another. Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award, 2017 Winner; Southern California Independent Booksellers Award, 2015 Winner Young Adult Novels
9780763662776 Backwards
By: Todd Mitchell

Is it possible to fix a tragic future by changing the past — while experiencing life backwards? At the moment Dan’s life ends, the Rider’s begins. Unwillingly tied to Dan, who seems to be shuffling through life, the Rider finds himself moving backwards in time, each day revealing more of the series of events that led to Dan’s suicide. As the Rider struggles to figure out what he’s meant to do, he revels in the life Dan ignores. Beyond the simple pleasures of a hot shower and the sun on his face, the Rider also notices the people around Dan: his little sister, always disappointed by her big brother’s rejection, and his overwhelmed mom, who can never rely on Dan for help. Most of all, the Rider notices Cat with her purple hair, artistic talent, and misfit beauty. Colorado Book Awards, 2014 Finalist, Young Adult Literature; Crystal Kite Member Choice Award, 2014 Finalist Author (Southwest)
9781772600537 Caterpillars can’t swim
By: Liane Shaw

When wheelchair-bound Ryan saves Jack from drowning, he discovers that Jack may be turning to suicide to avoid coming out as gay to their small town. Zilveren Zoen (Silver Kiss), 1998 Winner Teen Novel
9780316221337 Forgive me, Leonard Peacock
By: Matthew Quick

A day in the life of a suicidal teen boy saying good-bye to the four people who matter most to him. Nevada Young Readers’ Award, 2015 Winner Young Adult
9781598877564 Impulse
By: Ellen Hopkins

Three teens who meet at Reno, Nevada’s Aspen Springs mental hospital, after each has attempted suicide connect with each other in a way they never have with their parents or anyone else in their lives. Georgia Peach Teen Readers’ Choice Award, 2008 Winner; Kentucky Bluegrass Award, 2008 Winner Grades 9-12
9781429935890 Keeper of the Night
By: Kimberly Willis Holt

Isabel, a thirteen-year-old girl living on the island of Guam, and her family try to cope with the death of Isabel’s mother who committed suicide. Discussion guide at the end of the book. Parents’ Choice Award, 2003 Gold Fiction
9781554690862 Me, myself and Ike
By: K. L. Denman

Seventeen-year-old Kit is paranoid and confused, and although neither he nor his family and friends understand what is happening to him, the attentiveness of Kit’s brother Fred becomes immeasurably important. Governor General’s Literary Awards, 2010 Finalist Children’s Literature; White Ravens Award, 2010 Winner Canada English
qcnmdJlkiRfpiMkk My heart and other black holes
By: Jasmine Warga

Seventeen-year-old Aysel’s hobby–planning her own death–takes a new path when she meets a boy who has a similar plan of his own. Goodreads Choice Award, 2015 Nominee Young Adult Fiction
9780385739771 Orchards
By: Holly Thompson

Sent to Japan for the summer after an eighth-grade classmate’s suicide, half-Japanese, half-Jewish Kana Goldberg tries to fit in with relatives she barely knows and reflects on the guilt she feels over the tragedy back home. Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, 2011-2012 Winner Young Adult; Crystal Kite Member Choice Award, 2012 Winner; Parents’ Choice Award, 2012 Silver Fiction
9781595141712 Thirteen reasons why: a novel
By: Jay Asher

When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing thirteen cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah’s voice recounting the events leading up to her death. Abraham Lincoln Illinois High School Book Award, 2013 Winner; Delaware Diamonds, 2011 Winner; Florida Teens Read, 2009 Winner; Garden State Teen Book Award, 2010 Winner Fiction Grades 9-12; Gateway Readers Award, 2009 Winner; Heartland Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature, 2009 Winner Young Adult; Iowa High School Book Award, 2012 Winner; Kentucky Bluegrass Award, 2009 Winner Grades 9-12; Sequoyah Book Award, 2010 Winner High School; South Carolina Young Adult Book Award, 2010 Winner Young Adult
9780763633653 Under the Wolf, Under the Dog
By: Adam Rapp

Sixteen-year-old Steve struggles to make sense of his mother’s terminal breast cancer and his brother’s suicide. Schneider Family Book Award, 2006 Winner Teen


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