Books for Kids and Teens About Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Kids who live with -- or have been separated from -- alcoholic or drug-addicted adults have lots to deal with in addition to all the other hard stuff that comes with growing up. Feelings of loss, grief, anger, isolation, and shame crowd in on school experiences, relationships, and even their sense of self. Reading about characters who are dealing with loved ones' abuse of alcohol, opioids, or other substances -- or about teens who are struggling with addiction -- can help kids deal with complex family dynamics and keep hope alive. For more stories of growing up, check out our Coming-of-Age Books and Books About Families.

Sunny Side Up Poster Image
BOOK

Sunny Side Up

age 10+

Funny, moving graphic novel takes on teen substance abuse.

See full review
Three Times Lucky Poster Image
BOOK

Three Times Lucky

age 10+

Funny mystery with spunky girl touches on serious themes.

By: Sheila Turnage (2012)
See full review
Invisible Girl Poster Image
BOOK

Invisible Girl

age 12+

Searing memoir of growing up in troubled family offers hope.

See full review
Solo Poster Image
BOOK

Solo

age 12+

Poignant tale of rock star's son fleeing fame, finding self.

See full review
Again Again Poster Image
BOOK

Again Again

age 13+

Engaging tale of love, possibility, and addiction recovery.

By: E. Lockhart (2020)
See full review
Saint Anything Poster Image
BOOK

Saint Anything

age 13+

Sensitive romance digs deep into difficult relationships.

By: Sarah Dessen (2015)
See full review
All We Can Do Is Wait Poster Image
BOOK

All We Can Do Is Wait

age 14+

Teens face tragedy in compelling, edgy coming-of-ager.

By: Richard Lawson (2018)
See full review
Beneath a Meth Moon Poster Image
BOOK

Beneath a Meth Moon

age 14+

Teen's emotional journey through loss, addiction, recovery.

By: Jacqueline Woodson (2012)
See full review
The Carnival at Bray Poster Image
BOOK

The Carnival at Bray

age 14+

Teen transplanted to Ireland finds her way in moving tale.

By: Jessie Ann Foley (2014)
See full review
The Closest I've Come Poster Image
BOOK

The Closest I've Come

age 14+

Absorbing, realistic, hopeful tale of teen in the projects.

By: Fred Aceves (2017)
See full review
Girl in Pieces Poster Image
BOOK

Girl in Pieces

age 14+

Teen heals from loss and self-harm in gritty, gripping tale.

By: Kathleen Glasgow (2016)
See full review
Heroine Poster Image
BOOK

Heroine

age 14+

Honest, empathetic story of teen athlete's opioid addiction.

By: Mindy McGinnis (2019)
See full review
Hey, Kiddo Poster Image
BOOK

Hey, Kiddo

age 14+

Big-hearted memoir of rocky childhood with addicted mom.

See full review
I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain Poster Image
BOOK

I Felt a Funeral, in My Brain

age 14+

Compelling tale of loss, love, addiction in poetry & prose.

By: Will Walton (2018)
See full review
Losers Bracket Poster Image
BOOK

Losers Bracket

age 14+

Families and worlds collide in gritty story of a foster kid.

By: Chris Crutcher (2018)
See full review
Monday's Not Coming Poster Image
BOOK

Monday's Not Coming

age 14+

Gripping thriller about a girl disappearing without a trace.

By: Tiffany D. Jackson (2018)
See full review
Patron Saints of Nothing Poster Image
BOOK

Patron Saints of Nothing

age 14+

Heartrending tale explores grief, Philippines' war on drugs.

By: Randy Ribay (2019)
See full review
Rani Patel in Full Effect Poster Image
BOOK

Rani Patel in Full Effect

age 14+

Powerful coming-of-age tale deals with abuse, addiction.

By: Sonia Patel (2016)
See full review
The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik Poster Image
BOOK

The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik

age 14+

Angsty, quirky teen's compelling search for meaning.

By: David Arnold (2018)
See full review
We'll Fly Away Poster Image
BOOK

We'll Fly Away

age 14+

Teen is sentenced to Death Row in heartbreaking novel.

By: Bryan Bliss (2018)
See full review