Relationships, Dating, and Tough Stuff

These books feature many different relationships from the good to the bad. They are realistic portrayals of things that are happening to teens in Bloomington and all over the country. Pick one up to learn, to grow, or to find comfort that you are not alone.

Compiled by:
Becky F.
Anatomy of a Boyfriend

Daria Snadowsky
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Snadows)

In her last semester at a private school in Fort Myers, Florida, seventeen-year-old Dom finds her life transformed by her first boyfriend, Wes, a track star at the public school her best friend attends.

Asking For It

Louise O'Neill
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Oneill)

Emma O'Donovan is at a party one night. The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there. But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes....

Bad Romance

Heather Demetrios
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Demetri)

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director―anything but scared and alone. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape. 

Bitter End

Jennifer Brown
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Brown)

When seventeen-year-old Alex starts dating Cole, a new boy at her high school, her two closest friends increasingly mistrust him as the relationship grows more serious.

Doing It

Melvin Burgess
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Burgess)

Three teenage friends, Dino, Jonathon, and Ben, confront the confusions, fears, and joys of adolescent male sexuality.

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

E.K. Johnston
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Johnsto)

At cheerleading camp, Hermione is drugged and raped, but she is not sure whether it was one of her teammates or boy on another team. In the aftermath she has to deal with the rumors in her small Ontario town, the often awkward reaction of her classmates, the rejection of her boyfriend, the discovery that her best friend, Polly, is gay, and above all the need to remember what happened so that the guilty boy can be brought to justice.


Judy Blume
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Blume)

Katherine and Michael, along with various friends and acquaintances in suburban New Jersey, discover the possibilities and limitations of love and personal commitment.

A Girl Like That

Tanaz Bhathena
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Bhathen)

In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sixteen-year-old half-Hindu/half-Parsi Zarin Wadia is the class troublemaker and top subject for the school rumor blogs, regularly leaving class to smoke cigarettes in cars with boys, but she also desperately wants to grow up and move out of her aunt and uncle's house, perhaps realizing too late that Porus, another non-Muslim Indian who risks deportation but remains devoted to Zarin, could help her escape.

Girl Made of Stars

Ashley Blake
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Blake)

Mara and Owen are as close as twins can get, so when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn't know what to think. Can her brother really be guilty of such a violent act? Torn between her family and her sense of right and wrong, Mara feels lost, and it doesn’t help that things are strained with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie.

Giving Up the V

Serena Robar
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Robar)

When Spencer gets birth control pills from her mother for her sixteenth birthday, she finds herself considering the different members of her group of friends and trying to decide whether or not she even wants to date any of them.

Lost It

Kristen Tracy
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Tracy)

As if dealing with her best friend's plot to destroy a poodle and considering losing her virginity to her boyfriend wasn't enough, now Tess Whistle has to find her bearings in a new community when her family moves to a survivalist camp in Utah.

The Nature of Jade

Deb Caletti
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Caletti)

Seattle high school senior Jade's life is defined by her anxiety disorder and dysfunctional family, until she spies a mysterious boy with a baby who seems to share her fascination with the elephants at a nearby zoo.

The Nowhere Girls

Amy Reed
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Reed)

Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.


Courtney Summers
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Summers)

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

Sloppy Firsts

Megan McCafferty
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Mccaffe)

Devastated when her best friend moves away, sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling feels isolated at school and at home, as she struggles to deal with her father's obsession with her track meets, her boy-crazy peers, and her own nonexistent love life.


Laurie Halse Anderson
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Anderso)

A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.


Akemi Dawn Bowman
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Bowman)

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

The Things You Kiss Goodbye

Leslie Connor
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Connor)

High school junior Bettina Vasilisis is trapped in a relationship with her basketball star boyfriend when she meets Cowboy, a car mechanic of whom her traditional father would not approve.

The Way I Used to Be

Amber Smith
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Smith)

After fourteen-year-old Eden is raped by her brother's best friend, she knows she'll never be the way she used to be.

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers

Brian Conaghan
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Conagha)

As the person who cares for his terminally-ill mother, Bobby Seed has a lot on his plate. Add to that a responsibility to watch over his little brother, keeping up at school, and navigating a relationship with a girl who wants to be a girlfriend. But then Bobby's mother makes a request, one that seems impossible. If he agrees, he won't just be soothing her pain. He'll be helping her end it -- and end everything.

What Does Consent Really Mean?

Pete Wallis, Thalia Wallis
(Graphic Novels - 306.7083 Wal)

Following the sexual assault of a classmate, a group of teenage girls find themselves discussing the term consent, what it actually means for them in their current relationships, and how they act and make decisions with peer influence.

What Happens Next

Colleen Clayton
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Clayton)

The stress of hiding a horrific incident that she can neither remember nor completely forget leads sixteen-year-old Cassidy "Sid" Murphy to become alienated from her friends, obsess about weight loss, and draw close to Corey "The Living Stoner" Livingston.

What I Leave Behind

Alison McGhee
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Mcghee)

Since his father's suicide, Will, sixteen, has mainly walked, worked at Dollar Only, and tried to replicate his father's cornbread recipe, but the rape of his childhood friend shakes things up.

You Against Me

Jenny Downham
(Young Adult Fiction - Y Downham)

When eighteen-year-old Mikey's younger sister claims to have been raped and he seeks to avenge the crime, he meets Ellie, the sister of the accused, and befriends her, complicating the situation considerably for all of them.