Books about grief and loss for teens

Catching Teller Crow

Books can help teenagers to process sad feelings, especially when they find it hard to talk to adults. We’ve suggested some books that can help those going through tough times, and which are also excellent reads for everyone.

Also check out our booklists for 5 to 8 year olds and 9 to 12 year olds.

  • The Boy in the Black Suit

    Author: Jason Reynolds
    Publisher: Faber and Faber
    Interest age: 14-15
    Reading age: 14+

    When Matt’s mum tragically dies from cancer, it feels like all the joy is sucked out of his life. Then he meets a girl called Love. This is a profoundly beautiful, open-hearted, funny, tear-jerking, readable and relatable story, which explores grief in the truest sense.

  • The Girl Who Became A Tree

    Author: Joseph Coelho Illustrator: Kate Milner
    Publisher: Otter-Barry Books
    Interest age: 12-14
    Reading age: 12+

    In Joseph Coelho's story told in poems, the ancient Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo is seamlessly woven into the modern-day tale of a 14 year old girl who becomes lost in the tangled woods of her grief and anger .

  • Catching Teller Crow

    Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina
    Publisher: Penguin
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 12+

    A beautifully told, outstanding and thought-provoking novel. Themes of race and the treatment of Aboriginal peoples interweave with those of grief and letting go, but without ever becoming overbearing, with the focus on the town's mystery. 

  • Out of the Blue

    Author: Sophie Cameron
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 13-18
    Reading age: 10+

    Angels are falling from the sky, and it is 17-year-old Jaya who finds a live one. The urgent drama of saving the angel plays out against Jaya’s grief for her dead mother. Out of the Blue is a unique, charming novel by a powerful writer. 

  • Long Way Down

    Author: Jason Reynolds Illustrator: Chris Priestley
    Publisher: Faber
    Interest age: 12-16
    Reading age: 12+

    Written in verse, Long Way Down is breathtakingly gripping and spectacular. You almost read it without breathing; the action is so tense, the language so powerful. Give it to every teenager you know!

  • Summer Bird Blue

    Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
    Publisher: Ink Road
    Interest age: 13-18
    Reading age: 10+

    Rumi struggles with loss and anger and ultimately finds her way back to the thing that gives her relief: music. A stunning and visceral depiction of survival after devastating grief and the potential of music to heal. 

  • Aftershocks

    Author: Anne Fine
    Publisher: Old Barn Books
    Interest age: 12-14
    Reading age: 12+

    Louie and his dad are almost killed by a tsunami during a trip to the strange, desolate Endlands, and his dad chooses to stay and help the people devastated by the disaster. An absolutely masterful tale: a futuristic ghost story about loss, love and grief. 

  • The Million Pieces of Neena Gill

    Author: Emma Smith-Barton
    Publisher: Penguin Random House
    Interest age: 12-18
    Reading age: 12+

    A beautifully written story about grief, mental illness, family, friendship, empathy and love.