The Best MG/YA Novels About Death, Dying, or Those Left Behind
April 9th, 2012 by Liza Wiemer

DEATH. It’s inevitable. And even though DEATH isn’t the biggest fear for MG/YA, (alienation from peers is number one according to a child psychologist friend who conducted a study on the topic) it is still a topic YA think about. Yesterday, I finished reading The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder. It was another powerful read about the main character dying of cancer that left my head spinning and my dreams mingled with images right off the pages. When I woke up, I started thinking about how many MG/YA novels I’ve read on this topic. I searched my Goodreads list and I realized that DEATH is definitely a reoccurring theme. No, I am not DEATH obsessed at all. But it’s everywhere – from the Hunger Games to Under the Never Sky to Across the Universe—all fantastic novels I highly recommend. In those novels, characters are murdered and DEATH is prevalent. But they don’t necessarily address the deeper issues of DEATH. So, I decided to compile a list for readers who are looking for some of the BEST novels that dig into this topic. In no particular order:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, WhoRuBlog post: http://www.whorublog.com/?p=1043

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder, my Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/227446798

Before I Die by Jenny Downham, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/245856732

Winter Longing by Tricia Mills, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/215029968

Fracture by Megan Miranda, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/243297421

Mercy Lily by Lisa Albert, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/151807847

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz, Goodread review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/226657322

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223975181

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223975181

Elsewhere by Gabriella Zevin, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/274770802

Between by Jessica Warman, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/207351225

The Everafter by Amy Huntley, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/162762230

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/174050466

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/150999990

Deadline by Chris Crutcher, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/104403811

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/91838896

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/115787142

Read and added on April 21, 2012 – after recommendations from several YA book bloggers: The Catastrophic History of You and Me, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/195927203


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (author), Siobhad Dowd, Jim Kay (illustrator), Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/234705851

Radiance, Shimmer, Dreamland (Riley Bloom Series, 1, 2, 3) by Alyson Noel, Goodreads review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/223997625

Would love to know your favorites. Feel free to share by clicking on comments. 



5 Responses  
Jennifer writes:
April 9th, 2012 at 10:37 pm

Awesome list! Thanks for sharing. I will check these out.

Erica writes:
April 10th, 2012 at 4:28 pm

I love this list! The ones on it I have read, I loved, so I definitely need to check out the others 🙂 Ooo, you should add The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg to that look. It’s one of my faves and is an afterlife book 🙂 And Touching the Surface by Kimberly Sabatini, but that one isn’t out til fall.

Karen, TLT writes:
April 11th, 2012 at 7:14 am

This is a really good list. So glad to see Deadline on it. I reviewed The Catastrophic History of You and Me and Fracture on my blog, they were both good. I post my list on the blog here http://teenlibrarianstoolbox.blogspot.com/2012/03/quotable-ra-sometimes-it-is-among-dying.html

stacy - girlsinthestacks.com writes:
April 24th, 2012 at 6:44 am

I’m not a death fan, it’s not a theme I like reading about, but every time I do I enjoy the book. You have some great titles on this list!!

WhoRuBlog » Blog Archive » The Best YA Novels About Suicide writes:
June 14th, 2012 at 7:25 pm

[…] series of blog posts with  lists on “The Best YA Novels About ________” The first was The Best MG/YA Novels About Death, Dying, or Those Left Behind, so I decided to continue with a list on suicide. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay […]

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