Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia’s Dead End Kids by Donna Gaines
Honestly one of the greatest books I’ve ever read. I was going to try and summarize it but Amazon does a way better job:
The author, a freelance journalist working on a story about four teenagers in northern New Jersey who, in 1987, killed themselves in a suicide pact, gained entry into the world of the so-called “burnouts” of Bergenfield. Gaines, a former social worker and a devotee of rock music, began hanging out with local kids whose lives were much like those of the teenage suicides. Her reflections on the primacy of death in the culture of these nomads in a middle-class society are expressed in an earthy, colloquial style that marks the author’s empathy with alienated youth. This is a hard-hitting, disturbing report urging adults to “renew our social contract with young people.”
Sounds morbid but it was probably the most interesting book I’ve read. The way I came to read this is kind of a funny (or not) story.