11 books all cutting-edge millennials read as teenagers

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Were you a teenage edgelord? Did you grow up with Something Awful, Rotten, or, God forbid, 4chan? If you’ve hung up your hot shots, but still look back on your darkest years without total disdain, you’re in luck. I have 11 books that all daring Millennials read as teenagers that will take you on a walk down memory lane.

If you have to wonder if you were “nervous” or not, you probably weren’t. Millennial nervousness hinged on the value of surprise, whether carefully calculated or fired in an endless barrage. It was… memorableto say the least.

And look, if you were a millennial edgelord who felt bad about some of the things you did or said, like the videos you made your friends watch or the off-color jokes South Park-style? Well take comfort in the fact that you, hopefully, are not like that anymore.. Because let’s be real, a batch of our peers turned out to be South Park republicans or worse.

Now, if you’re here to find out what the edgelord culture was like, you deserve a warning. Although they can be nostalgic reading To some, most of the books every edgy Millennial reads as a teenager aren’t for the faint of heart. I’ve tried to include content warnings wherever possible, but in case I’ve missed a few, consider this your general warning: dead pigeon, don’t eat.

black and white photo of someone smoking on a kitchen floor

11 books all cutting-edge millennials read as teenagers

Cover of the book Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews

Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews

Looks like everyone’s mom had a copy of this on her shelf. Flowers in the Attic is the first novel in a series that follows the Dollanganger family. The story here centers on four siblings, Chris, Cathy, Carrie, and Cory, who move in with their mother, Corrine’s wealthy parents, after the death of her father, Christophe. There, they learn that their late father was their grandfather’s half-brother, making Corrine and Christophe’s marriage incestuous. Corrine and her mother conspire to win back her dying father’s goodwill by sequestering the children in a series of isolated rooms, effectively hiding their existence from her grandfather. flowers it only gets more twisted from there, with murder, rape, incest, and rampant child abuse playing a pivotal role in the story.

Book Cover Exquisite Corpse of Poppy Z. Brite

exquisite corpse by Poppy Z. Brite

I am convinced: if you read this book as a teenager, you are part of the Hannibal fandom now. Set in New Orleans at the height of the AIDS epidemic, exquisite corpse follows four gay men, two of whom are cannibalistic serial killers. When Andrew and Jay first meet, each intends to torture, kill, and consume the other. Instead, the two men join forces and launch into a sadistic love affair. A second plot follows Lucas, a pirate radio DJ whose growing despair over his HIV-positive status leads him to become close to his teenage ex-lover Tran, a decision that puts him on a collision course with Andrew and Jay. exquisite corpse it carries numerous content warnings, including obvious cannibalism and torture, as well as homophobia, anti-Asian racism, and necrophilia.

Lilith's Brood by Octavia E. Butler book cover

Lilith’s brood by Octavia E. Butler

Originally published in three separate volumes between 1987 and 1989, Octavia E. Butler’s Lilith’s brood centers on a small group of humans who have been saved from Earth’s apocalypse by the Oankali: a race of tentacled aliens who adapt and survive by breeding with other species. After spending 250 years aboard the Oankali ship, a human woman named Lilith wakes up to discover that aliens have restored her home planet to its former glory, but want to introduce the human “talent” for cancer into their own gene pool. . …causing Lilith to breed with an Ooloi, a third gender Oankali. Despite being published 35 years ago, Lilith’s brood feels incredibly timely to read today, at a time when we are unfortunately still debating biological essentialism, how to live on a dying Earth, and questions of consent.

Cover of the book The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey

Little Gashlycrumbs by Edward Gorey

If you were a fan of this book, you can probably quote it in full. Little Gashlycrumbs contains an alphabetic rhyme chronicling the deaths of 26 children, beginning with “A is for Amy, who fell down the stairs.” It’s dark, it’s funny, and it’s what all the edgy emo kids were reading in the early 2000s.

Cover of the book Confidential Confessions of Reiko Momochi

confidential confessions by Reiko Momochi

if you take it special abc for after schooldial the stakes up to 11 and turn it into a manga, you’ll get confidential confessions. This manga anthology series deals with self-harm, coercive sex work, sexual assault, drug addiction, and more, all related to teenagers. Her willingness to face these issues head-on makes Reiko Momochi’s manga series downright shocking at times, and even ill-advised to read. One story contains an in-depth discussion of suicide methods that has stuck with me for the last 20 years, so this is her warning to make sure she’s in a good frame of mind if she’s picking this one up again. .

Cover of the book Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami

Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami

There are some books you just can’t stop reading, and Coin Locker Babies It is one of them. Based on a real-life phenomenon in 1980s Japan, the novel centers on two young boys, Hashi and Kiku, who are abandoned in coin-operated lockers as newborns. I’d tell you this book gets downright harrowing in places, if one of those places wasn’t its first line. If you’re a fan of the sheer weirdness of postmodern fiction and can digest the novel’s grossest scenes, including the aforementioned first line, in which Kiku’s biological mother sexually abuses him before locking him in a box and abandoning him, You are inside. for a wild ride with this one.

Charmed book cover by Chuck Palahniuk

Obsessed by Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk has a knack for taking things to a strange place, but it’s his more experimental novel that deserves attention here. Obsessed follows 17 writers, alternating between their experiences in doomed retirement and the stories they write and share. The most famous of these stories is “Guts,” the story of a teenager whose masturbation habits put him in a life-and-death struggle at the bottom of his family’s swimming pool. Bent “the purest distillation of Chuck’s style and sensibility” For Peter Derk, reading “Guts” was like a rite of passage for nervous, bookish Millennials. other stories in Obsessed dealing with all forms of sexual exploitation, dismemberment, transphobic violence, and suicide, so trust me when I say that a masturbation accident is the least of your worries here.

Cover of the book Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates

Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates

Quentin P wants to create the perfect companion. So he kidnaps young people, drugs them and lobotomizes them with an ice pick. Inspired by Jeffrey Dahmer’s murder spree, Zombie takes the form of Quentin P’s diary, taking us through the killer’s fascination with his victims, his methods of torture, and his personal views on the quality of his work. It’s far from an easy read, and it hasn’t aged well at all. Reading Zombie In the 21st century, you will surely notice the problematic combination of mental illness with criminality and homicidal tendencies.

Book Cover Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

real battle by Koushun Takami

Before The Hunger Gamesthere was real battle. Koushun Takami’s subversive novel takes place in a fascist Japan of the near future. Just like in Panem, terror is the name of the game, and what better way to keep people from rising than to kidnap their children and force them to kill each other? Trapped on an island rigged with explosives and each armed with a random weapon, a class of ninth graders must duel to the death if they want to get out alive. Along the way, we learn about their tragic home lives, including sadism and sexual abuse. As their numbers dwindle, a handful of teenagers mount a resistance effort that no one can forget, making real battle perhaps the most triumphant book on this list.

Cover of the book Johnny the homicidal maniac by Jhonen Vásquez

Johnny the homicidal maniac by John Vasquez

Although he is perhaps best known for creating invader zimJhonen Vásquez’s breakthrough project was Johnny the homicidal maniac. The eponymous Johnny C. is out to rid the world of jerks, jerks, and people who could hurt it. He has left rivers of blood in his wake, often killing in broad daylight, but no one links him to his crimes. However, when Johnny’s anonymity and apparent immortality begin to weigh on him, his mental state deteriorates and he finds himself coming face to face with God, Satan and his own demons. riddled with violence and blood, JTHM it may be the tameest entry on this list.

Cover of the book Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

As of 2020, approximately a third of millennials have at least one diagnosed behavioral health condition. we may have Gen-Xers as Elizabeth Wurtzel to say thank you for helping to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness. That doesn’t change the fact that many of us struggled to access mental health care growing up. Many are still fighting today. Wurtzel’s 1994 memoir, Prozac Nationit was a beacon for Millennials who realized that they were different from their peers and consequently learned that they were not alone.


Want more books every edgy Millennial reads and loves? Look at these lists of dark and twisted books Y books millennials read that could never be published today.

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