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PG 15: Books for Older Teens

Scenario: Frustrated teen reader searching the kids section for something, anything they haven't read yet. Read it, loved it. Read it, hated it. Too young. Too babyish. Whatever. And most of the stuff in the adult section looks like a boring assignment for English class.

Cut to: Pleased teen reader browsing the shelves of our PG15 section for the edgier stories with serious, life-changing issues and repercussions. Sweet. Not all the books in PG15 have happy endings. Even the fairy tales finish with a twist. Language may be coarser, sexual content may be more than hinted at, violence may be planned or random. All, however, offer insight into the lives of teens who are faced with new and often overwhelming situations. Characters learn from their experiences, and their hope for a better day is a strong theme. PG15 changes frequently, and all the books are chosen by McNally Robinson Bookseller Joan.

This is a selection of our current PG 15: Books for Older Teens titles. To find other titles or authors, or just to browse, please use the search box.

Aftercare Instructions

- Young adult hardcover

by Bonnie Pipkin - $24.99 - Add to Cart

“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything. As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage. Aftercare Instructions, a debut full of heart and hope, follows Gen on a big-hearted journey from dorm rooms to diners to underground theaters—and ultimately, right into readers' hearts.

American Street

- Young adult hardcover

by Ibi Zoboi - $21.99 - Add to Cart

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

Bad Romance

- Young adult hardcover

by Heather Demetrios - $24.99 - Add to Cart

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 California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone. Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. 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. Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

The Doubt Factory

- Young adult softcover

by Paolo Bacigalupi - $16.99 - Add to Cart

Everything Alix knows about her life is a lie--at least according to the dangerous young man who's been stalking her. But could her dad really be a bad guy at the helm of an organization that covers up the deadly wrongdoings of some of the country's most rich and powerful? Alix has to make an impossible choice between her father and the mysterious young man she's not only falling for, but who's asking her to blow the whistle on the man who raised her. This Edgar Award and Locus Award nominee will make you wonder: could someone you have loved and have known for your whole life actually have the heart of a killer?

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

- Young adult hardcover

by Mackenzi Lee - $23.99 - Add to Cart

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy. So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores. Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

Goodbye Days

- Young adult hardcover

by Jeff Zentner - $21.99 - Add to Cart

What would you say if you could spend one last day with someone you lost? One day Carver Briggs had it all--three best friends, a supportive family and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts. The next day it all crashed and burned, literally, after he wrote them out of existence with an inane text sent to his friend Mars--the last words his friends ever see. Carver can't stop blaming himself for the fatal crash and he's not the only one. Eli's twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. Even worse, Mars' father, a powerful judge, pressures the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver's actions. But Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli's girlfriend, who is the only person to stand by him at school, and Blake's grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her--having him stand in as Blake for one last day doing all their favourite things so they can share memories and say a proper goodbye. Soon Eli and Mars's families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver--but he's unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to prison or a complete breakdown?

Just a Girl

- Young adult hardcover

by Carrie Mesrobian - $21.99 - Add to Cart

By her senior year of high school, Rianne has exhausted all the fun there is to have in small-town Wereford, Minnesota. Volleyball season is winding down, the parties feel tired, and now that she’s in a serious relationship with reformed player Luke Pinsky, her wild streak has ended. Not that she ever did anything worse than most guys in her school...but she knows what everyone thinks of her. Including her parents. Divorced but now inexplicably living together again, Rianne wonders why they’re so quick to point out every bad choice she’s making when they can’t even act like adults—or have the decency to tell Rianne whether or not they’re getting back together. With an uncomfortable home life and her once-solid group of friends now dissolving, the reasons for sticking around after high school are few. So why is Rianne locking step when it comes to figuring out her future? That’s not the only question Rianne can’t answer. Lately she’s been wondering why, when she has a perfect-on-paper boyfriend, she wants anything but. Or how it is that Sergei, a broken-English-speaking Russian, understands her better than anyone who’s known her all her life? And—perhaps the most troubling question—why has Rianne gotten stuck with an “easy girl” reputation for doing the same exact things as guys without any judgment?

The Radius of Us

- Young adult hardcover

by Marie Marquardt - $26.99 - Add to Cart

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just daily routine, but who you are as a person. Gretchen Asher knows this, because that’s how long a stranger held her body to the ground. When a car sped toward them and Gretchen’s attacker told her to run, she recognized a surprising terror in his eyes. And now she doesn’t even recognize herself. Ninety seconds can change a life — not just the place you live, but the person others think you are. Phoenix Flores Flores knows this, because months after setting off toward the U.S. / Mexico border in search of safety for his brother, he finally walked out of detention. But Phoenix didn’t just trade a perilous barrio in El Salvador for a leafy suburb in Atlanta. He became that person — the one his new neighbours crossed the street to avoid. Ninety seconds can change a life — so how will the ninety seconds of Gretchen and Phoenix’s first encounter change theirs?

The Sun Is Also a Star

- Young adult hardcover

by Nicola Yoon - $21.99 - Add to Cart

Two teens--Daniel, the son of Korean shopkeepers, and Natasha, whose family is here illegally from Jamaica--cross paths in New York City on an eventful day in their lives--Daniel is on his way to an interview with a Yale alum, Natasha is meeting with a lawyer to try and prevent her family's deportation to Jamaica--and fall in love.

Symptoms of Being Human

- Hardcover

by Jeff Garvin - $21.99 - Add to Cart

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn't exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in über-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley's life. On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it's really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley's starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley's real identity, threatening exposure. And Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful

- Young adult hardcover

by Eric Lindstrom - $23.49 - Add to Cart

For sixteen-year-old Mel Hannigan, bipolar disorder makes life unpredictable. Her latest struggle is balancing her growing feelings in a new relationship with her instinct to keep everyone at arm's length. And when a former friend confronts Mel with the truth about the way their relationship ended, deeply buried secrets threaten to come out and upend her shaky equilibrium. As the walls of Mel's compartmentalized world crumble, she fears the worst--that her friends will abandon her if they learn the truth about what she's been hiding. Can Mel bring herself to risk everything to find out?

The Way I Used to Be

- Young adult softcover

by Amber Smith - $14.99 - Add to Cart

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes. What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be. Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, all while learning to embrace the power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart.

We Come Apart

- Young adult hardcover

by Sarah Crossan - $23.99 - Add to Cart

Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess' home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship slowly blossoms into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and their hope and dreams of a better future. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?

Whisper to Me

- Young adult softcover

by Nick Lake - $14.99 - Add to Cart

Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She's trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won't let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely. Desperate for his forgiveness, she's telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She's hoping that love - love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself - can save both of them after all.