I’ve been helping Mister BS build a classroom library. I recently snagged a copy of Ellen Hopkin’s Crank at the Friends of the Library book sale for him, and his students have loved it and are asking for more books like it. I’ve also had a couple of readers in the library ask the question, and while I had a few go-to recs, novels in verse and problem/issue novels are not my favorite, so I didn’t have a huge list of off-the-top-of-my-head recommendations. So of course I made a list. I wanted a balance of novels in verse and problem/issue books, and some easier reads and some award winners. There are new titles and older titles. While there are lots of other potential read-alikes for Ellen Hopkins, I wanted to give a broad range.
Books for Fans of Ellen Hopkins
Bleed Like Me by Christa Desir Goodreads | Amazon
This fast-paced, edgy novel about obsessive teen romance is prefect for fans of Ellen Hopkins.
Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt Goodreads | Amazon
Though this isn’t written in verse, the short chapters and dreamy quality of the prose give a similar feel. The story will also appeal to fans of Hopkins. In this novel, a girl who is looking for love in all the wrong places.
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick Goodreads | Amazon
This compelling free verse novel portrays one girl’s struggle with cutting.
Street Love by Walter Dean Myers Goodreads | Amazon
This verse novel is about young love against a backdrop of poverty and violence in NYC.
My Book of Life by Martine Leavitt Goodreads | Amazon
A teen struggles to escape a life of forced prostitution in this heart-breaking novel.
Beneath a Meth Moon by Jacqueline Woodson Goodreads | Amazon
In this moving novel, a girl tries to deal with the pain of losing her mother and grandmother in Katrina by using crystal meth, and then struggles to overcome addiction. Woodson writing is lyrical, as she does often write in verse and the short chapters make this a quick, fast-paced read.
What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones Goodreads | Amazon
This is a series of poems about a boy-crazy 15 year old girl is not as gritty as Hopkin’s novels, but the style will appeal to her fans.
Tweak by Nic Sheff Goodreads | Amazon
This memoir of a teen who grappled with addiction will appeal to fans of CRANK.
Hold Still by Nina LaCour Goodreads | Amazon
When Caitlin’s best friend committed suicide, she left behind a journal, and through it, Caitlin learns to grief and process her guilt, and how to love again.
Dirty Little Secrets by Cynthia Jaynes Omololu Goodreads | Amazon
Lucy’s mom is a hoarder, and in order to hide it, she’s pushed everyone away. The struggles she faces are nerve-racking and heart-breaking. Readers who like books about tough issues but are interested in something outside of abuse and addiction should check this one out.
Planet Pregnancy by Linda Oatman High Goodreads | Amazon
This novel in verse about a teenager who discovers she’s pregnant is a quick, engrossing read.
Sold by Patricia McCormick Goodreads | Amazon
This moving and award-winning novel in verse about a Nepalese sold into sexual slavery will give readers a global perspective on a tragic and heart-breaking global issue.
What books would you add to this list?