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Identity Crisis: A Booklist For Teens

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As your summer vacation ends and the new school year begins, it's time to consider: Who are you? Who are you now, who do you want to be, and will you/can you/SHOULD you try to reinvent yourself?

Here's a list of twenty fiction books for teens that deal with the topic of identity, from realistic fiction to fantastic fiction and beyond.

Being Henry David by Cal Armistead
A boy wakes up in Penn Station. He has no memory of how he got there, how he got his head injury, or even his own name. His only possessions appear to be a ten-dollar bill and a copy of Walden by Henry David Thoreau.

You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle
Every five years, five children were filmed for a documentary about their lives. Now that Justine is a 16-year-old celebrity, she's reluctant to film the next installment and let the public back into her life.

Bitter Melon by Cara Chow
Frances' mother expects her to get into Berkeley and become a doctor. But when a scheduling mixup puts Frances in a speech class instead of calculus, she discovers a new talent and starts to question the future her mother imagined.

Beta by Rachel Cohn
Elysia has been having feelings and memories that she's definitely not supposed to have. Maybe the scientists were right about teenage clones being too unstable.

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
When Janie sees a picture of a child who was kidnapped over a decade earlier, she is astonished to recognize herself.

Beauty by Lisa Daily
Molly is a frizzy, ugly mess until a mysterious artist sketches her picture at the town fair and the next day she wakes up looking impossibly beautiful.

Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale
After Rosie's mother dies, Rosie learns that she was switched with another baby at birth and that her whole life was based on a lie.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
Each time she and her father move to a new town, McLean reinvents herself with a new personality at each school. When she decides to try to put down roots and make friends in Lakeview, how will she know if these kids like the "real" her?

The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson
Owen has no idea that he's anything but ordinary until he survives a drowning that should have killed him.

How Beautiful the Ordinary: Twelve Stories of Identity edited by Michael Cart
Twelve different authors share stories about such life-changing topics as love, death, happiness, gender, and sexuality.

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Rafe sees his new school as a place to start over and lead a label-free life. Instead of being known as "that gay guy," he just wants people to treat him like a regular guy, which in this case means straight.

You Don't Know Me by David Klass
If I had one wish, it would be that the next time you looked at me, you would look into my eyes and finally see who I really am.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer
An alien species has invaded earth, and each one is living inside a human host. But Melanie's mind is fighting back against the alien inside her.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
After Jenna wakes up from a coma, she finds it hard to remember anything that happened before her accident.

Mexican Whiteboy by Matt de la Pena
Danny Lopez's father is Mexican and his mother has blonde hair and blue eyes, so he never quite fits in. If he goes to Mexico to find his roots, will he also be able to find himself?

Permanent Record by Leslie Stella
An Iranian-American teenager struggles with pressures at school, even though his father gave him a new name to make it "easier" for him to fit in.

The Wave by Todd Strasser
In this novel based on a true story, a history teacher conducts a classroom experiment about the Nazi movement and the power of group pressure.

Slated by Teri Terry
Can you know the truth if your memory has been erased? Kyla is sixteen years old, and she's being released from the hospital after nine months. She doesn't remember anything that happened before that.

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Tally lives in a world where everyone is "ugly" until they turn sixteen, when they go under the knife and are magically transformed into "pretties."

Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
Years ago, Jennifer and Cameron used to be best friends. Now "Jenna" has transformed herself into someone pretty and popular, and when Cameron comes back into her life they both have to deal with how and why their lives changed.

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