Books on Addiction for Youth

Reading these books offers an opportunity to open a discussion about drugs and addiction with your youngster. For pointers on how to talk with young people about Addiction go to

Summaries below of “The Seventh Wish” and “Falling”


“The Seventh Wish”

Author: Kate Messner

Age Range: 9 – 13 years

  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (June 7, 2016)

  • Story set on Lake Champlain

When Charlie Brennan goes ice fishing on her town’s cold winter lake, she’s hoping the perch she reels in will help pay for a fancy Irish dancing solo dress. But when Charlie’s first catch of the day offers her a wish in exchange for its freedom, her world turns upside down.
Charlie catches the fish again and again, but each time, her wishes go terribly and hilariously wrong. Just when things are finally starting to turn around, a family crisis with her older sister forces Charlie to accept the fact that some of the toughest challenges in life can’t be fixed by wishing.
The family crisis is Addiction to heroin of Charlie’s older sister at college. Charlie’s life and the lives or her parents are turned upside down. This is a story about what addiction does to the person addicted, and to that person’s family written for ages 9-13. It offers parents the ability to share a story about and discussion with their young children about addiction before they reach Middle and High School.


VT Author: Doug Wilhelm

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Ages: 12-16
Everyone expected fifteen-year-old Matt Shaw to be Jeffords Junior High’s star basketball player. But Matt never went out for the team. He won’t even touch a ball anymore, and he hardly talks to anyone. No one understands why he’s changed, but Matt knows that it’s his “golden child” older brother who’s really been doing all the changing. Matt can’t imagine what would happen to his family if word got out about Neal’s drug habit and the strung-out strangers he’s seen coming and going from the house when their parents aren’t home. Matt can’t tell anyone what he knows – not his parents, not the police detective who refuses to leave him alone, not even Katie, the one girl he’s ever really had feelings for. But even Matt has to wonder eventually if he’s holding on to someone he may already have lost.
With his unparalleled ear for teen dialogue and emotions, Doug Wilhelm’s new novel is a captivating look at falling apart, falling in love, and all the falling in between.
Part romance, part friendship story, and part dark drama, this contemporary novel, set in the author’s Vermont hometown, gets exactly right the way many teens talk and what they care about. Matt and Katie meet on the Net. Katie is tight with her girlfriends, though not with her single-parent mom. Matt is a basketball star, but instead of playing, he’s spending his time plugged into his music and walking the streets alone. Could he be reacting to his older brother’s doing drugs–and also dealing? There are several big holes in the plot (Matt’s successful parents, for instance, worry about Matt but not about his brother), and the message is obvious. Still, young adults will like the fast talk from the teens’ viewpoints, whether it’s delivered through Instant Messaging chat or the tender, urgent words of lovers. The addiction scenes are stark, and the story holds surprises to the end.


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