In the Land of Teenagers

Get in touch with your inner adolescent: Check out these don’t-miss reads.

By Andrea Chapin

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (Atria Books)Jodi Picoult’s latest is an irresistible thriller about a high school shooting and the judge assigned to the case — a woman with a teenager who witnessed the crime. Reading Nineteen Minutes eerily mirrors parenthood: Whenever you think you’ve solved the mystery of the teenage mind, along comes another surprise.Buy Nineteen Minutes Acceptance by Susan Coll (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)The mother of "three college-aged and about-to-apply-to-college children," novelist Susan Coll has followed the motto "Write what you know" with sympathy toward college applicants everywhere and a satirical eye toward the insanely competitive game. This tale is so instructive that high school guidance counselors should be handing it out. Buy Acceptance Falling Boy by Alison McGhee (Picador)Most of this beautifully written novel takes place in a Minneapolis bakery, which is also the workplace of two teenage boys, one of them a 16-year-old in a wheelchair. Their coming-of-age stories unfold with the edgy humanity of a Sam Shepard play.Buy Falling Boy The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay (Doubleday)An 18-year-old Tasmanian orphan, a used bookstore in downtown Manhattan, an eccentric albino store manager, and a lost Melville manuscript make for a debut novel that echoes a Robertson Davies tale. Hay, who has worked in bookstores much of her adult life, renders a world where the passions of book buyers and booksellers are often peculiar — and always intriguing.Buy The Secret of Lost Things Walking on Eggshells: Staying Close to Your Adult Children by Jane Isay (Flying Dolphin Press/Doubleday)For her insightful book that deals with parenting issues decades after potty training, Isay interviewed people 25-70 to reveal the struggles of relationships between adult children and their parents. As a former book editor who has grown children of her own, Isay finds it "no easier being the parent to an adult child than it was raising children at any other stage of growth."Buy Walking on Eggshells Originally published on, February 2007.

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