When I was in junior high I loved stories that I could relate to. For me, this meant realistic fiction. Even if I hadn't had similar experiences to the characters in the book I could still relate to their struggles and learn to walk in someone else's shoes for a short period of time. This summer I read two stories about teens growing up under diverse conditions. Each one of them had a unique story to share .
Suzy Swanson doesn't talk, she thinks a lot, but she doesn't speak. She used to talk all the time, but not anymore; not since her best friend died. The Thing about Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin tells a story of loss and the road to forgiveness when your last memory of a good friend is one that you would rather forget.
Gary Schmidt is one of my favorite authors of realistic fiction. In Orbiting Jupiter, he tells the story of Joseph, a teenage father who has never seen his daughter. It is also the story of Jack, the son of Joseph's new foster parents. Together Joseph and Jack learn about what it really means to be family, and why it seems that Joseph's life is always revolving around a tiny girl that he has never met.