13 Teen Death Novels From The ’90s That Actually Exist

You know you want to pick up a Lurlene McDaniel book about high schoolers dealing with their mortality, but which one do you chose?

1. Maybe you’re in the mood for a teenage love story. With cancer.

Why does Julie’s life suck?
-No one understands that she and her boyfriend will be together forever
-Also, he has cancer

2. You could try one that suggests a possible positive ending.

Why does Megan’s life suck?
-Her best friend is dead
-She has a crush on a cute boy, but he’s in liver failure

3. Maybe mix things up, and pick one where both teens are terminally ill. Also, a wedding!

Why does April’s life suck?
-She has an inoperable brain tumor
-Her husband has cystic fibrosis
-Her husband is in a race car accident
-Race car accidents are not good for people with cystic fibrosis

4. You might want one with the inevitable end up front.

Why does Elly’s life suck?
-Her sister is so popular she makes her feel lame by comparison
-Her sister died

5. Or you could need a little hope mixed in with your crushing despair.

Why does Katie’s life suck?
-She needs a heart transplant
-Because she needs the transplant she can’t run track

6. Try one where the protagonist is in no immediate danger of dying (but to keep the balance everyone else has to kick it.)

Why does Beth’s life suck?
-Her whole family is dead
-She has to move in with her aunt and cousin
-Her cousin is kind of a jerk
-On the other hand, neither she nor her boyfriend have a terminal illness

7. Or a story about a high schooler giving his girlfriend the best present ever-a spare kidney?

Why does Jessica’s life suck
-Her kidneys are failing
-Her boyfriend kindly offers one of his, but his parents aren’t onboard

8. Or would you rather one with slightly confusing stakes?

Why does Dawn’s life suck?
-She has cancer
-Her best friend has cancer

9. Or one that asks a question with a seemingly obvious answer?

Why does Sarah’s life suck?
-She has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant
-She can’t get one from her parents because she was adopted
-She can’t get one from her birth mother because she has cancer too
-She can’t get one from her birth father because he’s dead

10. One whose title serves as a complete summary is always a good bet.

Why does Anne’s life suck?
-She’s HIV positive
-She’s getting worse
-She’s met a cute boy, but can’t bring herself to tell him about her condition.

11. Maybe one that boasts both an upfront death and the threat of a teen’s demise?

Why does Erin’s life suck?
-Her little sister is dead
-Her head, really, really hurts
-Whenever she’s around this one super hot, popular guy, her head kills. He’s basically her Voldemort. But really cute.

12. You could read one that’s very straightforward.

What makes Kara’s life suck?
-She’s dying of cystic fibrosis
-She’s made a new friend who’s also dying of cystic fibrosis

13. Better go with the most inappropriately upbeat cover.

What makes Desi’s life suck?
-Well baby Alicia, who lives at a childcare center where Desi works is dying, for one (of AIDS)
-She feels emotionally disconnected from her mom (a void she tries to fill with dying baby Alicia’s love)

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