I just finished (in one day) Half a Life by Darin Strauss, and I highly recommend this memoir.
When he was 18, Strauss was driving a car that struck and killed 16-year old bicyclist Celine Zilke. Not unexpectedly, the tragedy continued to haunt and affect him for many years. Strauss bravely describes and discusses meeting Celine’s parents, her classmates, and his own in the days after the accident. Strange legal troubles grow out of the situation, although he was cleared of any wrongdoing shortly after the collision. Uncertainty about how to bring up the accident affects Strauss’s ability to maintain relationships in his college and courting years. He attends his 10-year reunion and discovers that others think about him in surprising ways. All of this is conveyed in language that hits just the right notes—not full of self-pity or guilt, just honest questioning of himself and others touched by Celine’s death.
Although adults can certainly gain important lessons from this book, I hope Half a Life finds its way to any young adult readers looking for ways to make sense of the hands dealt to them or their friends and family.