10 Young Adult Books That Scarred Us For Life

Books for younger readers are supposed to be fun to read. Well, before Harry Potter made us have nightmares about Lord Voldemort, these classic young adult books made us too scared to ever try drugs, make out with boys, or not be sad enough about the Holocaust.

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    • Kristen

      The truth: I LOVE Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret. so much so that I still read it once a year. I guess because getting my period happened really young for me (way before any of my friends) it made me feel less alone (and I know you wanted to know that disgusting detail of my life lol). I was haunted by Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples. The title character is Pakastani nomad teen whose husband-to-be is essentially given to her older sister after the man her sister was arranged to marry is killed and she is then selected to be a second wife of a much older man. She runs away, only to have her father catch up with her and the book ends with her father beating her for disobedience while crying. Oh and the camel she runs off with dies too. Breaks its leg, which I assume means dying like it does for a horse. I was depressed for months after that.

    • Jana

      A Summer To Die…everytime I got a bloody nose after this one I was convinced I had cancer. And now that my sons get endless bloody noses I worry everytime that they have cancer!

    • sk

      omg! the spiders on the face story was my recurring nightmare all through childhood! i still get freaked out when if i find a spider in my bedroom or bathroom!

    • Katie

      Oh thank god, I thought I was the only one who read “Don’t Die, My Love” at midnight under the covers while crying my eyes out.

    • Amanda Chatel

      I had totally forgotten about “Flowers in the Attic” – thanks, Ms. Marcus, for bringing that one up. Another one that really bothered me was “Izzy, Willy-Nilly.” Granted, I was never a cheerleader, but the fact that she lost her leg in a car crash at such a young age and her life was turned upside down really upset me long after I finished the book.

    • Sarah G

      MADE MY DAY.
      I remember almost every one of these.
      And yes–everything you say is too true…

    • Kitsey

      Lurlene McDaniel! Ughhh!!

    • Patty

      when i was dorming in college, once a week i’d read lurlene mcdaniel books and eat frozen pizza. crying profusely while eating isn’t a good look, FYI.

    • Nhan

      oh my god, Where the Red Fern Grows… why would they make 10 year olds read that!?!

      i think the girl with the green ribbon was in In A Dark, Dark Room, and not Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, but i totally loved both of them

    • Lindsay Cross

      In 4th grade, our teacher had reading time every day after recess. We had a little alcove in the room where everyone grabbed blankets and pillows and tucked in to hear the story. We read books like The Giver and Number the Stars. But the most heart-wrenching for me was Zlata’s Diary. It was a diary from a young girl in Sarajevo. I can just remember thinking, “Oh my Gosh, this girl is my age!” It was just incredibly sad.

    • anonymous

      Out of extreme curiosity (and also because of my extremely weird personality and messed up manner of thinking) I’ve decided to read these books…Doesn’t that sound dandy? :)

    • Sonya

      My third grade teacher (who was in her twenties then) always read us books aloud, a little every day. She decided to read us Bridge to Terebithia, and omg the whole damn class bawled. She had to comfort all of us and then she never read us another sad book after that.

    • Caiti

      I read some of these books when I was younger but they never really mad me cry or anything.