Memoirs for Teens & Young Adults

Teens and Young Adults (Millennials) are constantly being chastised for checking out of reality by being on their phones, but sometimes Milennials are being caught up in great stories posted on Twitter or Instagram, stories that give us hope that humanity still exists out there in this world. If you enjoy reading about the human existence, then you’ll love this blog post; the Aurora Public Library District has dozens of memoirs for teens and young adults that will speak to their own experiences in life.

There are plenty of classic memoirs that you’ve undoubtedly had to read for school at one time or another, but what would your reading experience be like the second time around, when you aren’t forced to read in order to take a test or write a paper? Here are some classic memoirs you can check out today:

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, A Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson by Mitch Albom

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

A Child Called “It” by David Pelzer

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells

Night by Elie Wiesel

We also have memoirs from contemporary people who are probably more familiar to you. You would probably enjoy reading these memoirs for the entertainment they will provide:

Nevertheless by Alec Baldwin

Unfiltered:No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me. by Lily Collins

Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham

I Got This: To Gold and Beyond by Laurie Hernandez

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

I Don’t Belong to You: Quiet the Noise and Find Your Voice by Keke Palmer

The Maddie Diaries by Maddie Ziegler

Of course, we have plenty of empowering memoirs by individuals whose experiences can teach us as well as touch us:

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

Let Me Stand Alone: The Journals of Rachel Corrie by Rachel Corrie

A Stolen Life and Freedom: My Book of Firsts by Jaycee Dugard

Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen by Jazz Jennings

Positive: Surviving my Bullies, Finding Hope, and Changing the World by Paige Rawl

Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai

It might come as a surprise to you that we have memoirs in the form of graphic novels, too:

March by John Lewis

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi

Smile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

And, of course, we can’t forget the memoirs on the Indiana Digital Download Center:

I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda

Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance by Simone Biles

This Book is Gay by Jame Dawson

Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith by Gabrielle Douglas

This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester

Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang

Unslut by Emily Lindin

Have you read any great memoirs lately? What are some of your favorites? I recently read Scrappy Little Nobody, Talking as Fast as I Can, and The Maddie Diaries. I would definitely recommend!

Happy Reading!

It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too)


If you’re looking for the next book to make you laugh out loud one minute and weep the next, then Nora McInerny Purmort’s memoir It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) is the perfect fit for you. In 271 pages, Purmort offers advice, anecdotes, and glimpses into her past to help those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or for those who have watched someone grieve and might not have known what to say or do. Purmort does not claim to be an expert on grief, but she does offer her own story of losing her husband, father, and baby within weeks of each other and how she’s working on getting through it.

Nora’s boyfriend Aaron is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer for which there is no cure. In the subsequent weeks and years following his diagnosis, Nora and Aaron decide to get married and have a baby. In the memoir, Nora emphasizes how important it is to live in the moment because we never know what is coming around the corner. She only got three years to be Aaron’s wife but, as she reiterates throughout the memoir, there is nothing she would have changed, not even the petty parts. It is important to remember that we are all imperfect humans who do and say imperfect things, especially in times of great sadness and loss.

Purmort constantly surprises the reader throughout the memoir by cutting through the thick sadness that surrounds the deaths of those she loves with humorous stories and vignettes into her own life. Rather than focusing her memoir on the respective deaths of her father and husband, Purmort instead offers memories and stories of her loved ones as she chooses to remember them in life. She is a gifted storyteller who can make her readers laugh one sentence, cry the next, and then laugh hysterically again in the next paragraph. Purmort manages to make her readers feel like an old friend in the way that she bares her thoughts and feelings, both good and bad.

This memoir is kind of like an unofficial guidebook for dealing with grief or how to approach a situation in which someone else is grieving and not knowing what to say or do. Nora McInerny Purmort is incredibly snarky, sassy, sarcastic, serious, and sad all in one book. Even if you aren’t experiencing the immense grief that comes with the loss of a loved one, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) is a must-read for the fall.