If you enjoy realistic contemporary YA about character overcoming shortcomings and learning from their mistakes, this is the blog post for you. If you're just someone who recently loved Wild Bird, you're also in luck - there are actually some similar books out there!
3:47 a.m. That's when they come for Wren Clemens. She's hustled out of her house and into a waiting car, then a plane, and then taken on a forced march into the desert. This is what happens to kids who've gone so far off the rails, their parents don't know what to do with them any more. This is wilderness therapy camp.
The Wren who arrives in the Utah desert is angry and bitter, and blaming everyone but herself. But angry can't put up a tent. And bitter won't start a fire. Wren's going to have to admit she needs help if she's going to survive.
In her most incisive and insightful book yet, beloved author Wendelin Van Draanen's offers a remarkable portrait of a girl who too a wrong turn and got lost--but who may be able to find her way back again in the vast, harsh desert.
- Bad by Jean Ferris - After getting caught robbing a convenience store, young Dallas is sent to a residential treatment center where she'll learn to confront the darkest parts of herself - and the decisions that led to her going to treatment. Both books are about girls who enter treatment because of their bad behavior - and their parents being unsure about how to deal with them.
- Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman - After a mental breakdown, Caden is sent to a psych ward to get his head back together. Caden encounters all sorts of characters on the psych unit, but he's also left to battle the demons in his head - all of which take the forms of a vicious sea captain and his heartless crew. This book differs from Wild Bird slightly - while it's still about a teen in treatment, Caden's reasons for entering treatment differ greatly from Wren's.
- The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin - Matt is a teenager who essentially acts as a parent to his little sisters - and also as protector from their cruel and abusive mother. When their mom gets a new boyfriend who seems like he might be able to help the kids, Matt is stuck with a difficult decision - does he need to handle this on his own or is it time to get adults involved in protecting his sisters? Matt's situation is very different from the situation in Wild Bird, but it is still about a teenager dealing with problematic living situations and unhappy circumstances and having to decide to change and overcome those circumstances.
What other books would you add to this list? Have you read any of the books on this list?