Each year the librarians at the Orem Library pick one book to read as a community. This fall, we’ve traveled to the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina for The Ballad of Frankie Silver by Sharyn McCrumb. Based on actual events, this is the true story of an 18-year-old frontier girl, hanged for murder in Burke County North Carolina in 1833. Click here to learn more about Orem Reads and to find out how you can receive your free copy of the book. As we read The Ballad of Frankie Silver and explore the legends, natural wonders, history, culture and contemporary issues of Appalachia, we’ve compiled for you a list of some of the best teen books set in the same region.

Best Teen Books Set in Appalachia

The Serpent King

By Jeff Zentner
Teen Fiction

The son of a Pentecostal preacher faces his personal demons as he and his two outcast friends try to make it through their senior year of high school in rural Forrestville, Tennessee without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self.


Best Teen Books Set in Appalachia

A Sky for Us Alone

By Kristin Russell
Teen Fiction

 In Strickland County, a forgotten stretch of land in southern Appalachia, there isn’t a lot of anything to go around. But when eighteen-year-old Harlowe Compton’s brother is killed by the Praters, the family who controls everything from the mines to the law to the opioid trade, he wonders if the future will ever hold more than loss. With Tennessee, Harlowe feels for the first time that something good might happen, that he might have found the rarest thing of all: hope. Even as she struggles with the worst of the cards she’s been dealt, Tennessee makes Harlowe believe that they can dare to forge their own path, if they only give it a shot.


Best Teen Books Set in Appalachia

Be Not Far from Me

By Mindy McGinnis
Teen Fiction

Lost in the Great Smoky Mountains, rising high school senior Ashley Hawkins must fight for survival without any tools, growing in awareness that the world is not tame, and neither are people.


Best Teen Books Set in Appalachia

When the Whistle Blows

By Fran Cannon Slayton
Teen Fiction

Jimmy Cannon tells about his life in the 1940s as the son of a West Virginia railroad man, loving the trains and expecting one day to work on the railroad like his father and brothers.


Best Teen Books Set in Appalachia

In the Wild Light

By Jeff Zentner
Teen Fiction

Attending an elite prep school in Connecticut on a scholarship with his best friend (and secret love), sixteen-year-old Cash Pruitt, from a small town in East Tennessee, struggles with emotional pain and loss until his English teacher suggests writing poetry.

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