Dear Dr. FYA,
I am looking for a birthday present for my younger sister. We have a complicated relationship: she is turning 19, 6 years younger than I am, but she seems much younger than her age. Last year she dropped out of high school, quit her job, moved out of my parents' house and moved in with her boyfriend and his grandparents. She was adopted from another country when she was 5 and struggles with feeling like she belongs. For about five months now she has had no contact with anyone in my family and doesn't respond to any of us when we email, call, text, or Facebook message her. We grew up in a conservative Christian home and I'd love to send her a book or two that might speak to her as well as acknowledge that there are ways of living outside of how we were raised: something a little more risque than what we were allowed to read at home, but still thoughtful. About the only thing we have in common is our love of reading. I thought I knew a lot of books, but I just can't think of the perfect book. Please help!
Thank you so much,
First, I'm so sorry you and your sister are going through this. I hope you're able to reach your sister in some way, and it's great you want to reach out to her. I've put together a list that touches on identity, religious questions, and even adoption, although I drew a blank when it came to one book that takes on all three. YA authors, here's your chance!
For some generally gritty, realistic books about diversity and how hard it is to be different trying to fit in, check out the list we did a while back for an SAT prep request -- especially Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez. Sadly, all the brilliant suggestions in the comments were lost in the move, but I used my super secret security clearance to dig them up and bring you the best of them, and I'm sure there will be billions more great ideas from all the lovely readers.
Growing Up Religious Books
Identity/Adoption/Breaking Up With Family Books
Sometimes Life Sucks Books
Best wishes with your sister! Readers, what do you have for K.?