How do you know if you're on the verge of a nervous breakdown? For seventeen-year-old Stacy Black, it all begins with the smashing of a window. After putting her fist through the glass, she checks into a mental hospital. Stacy hates it there but despite herself slowly realizes she has to face the reasons for her depression to stop from self-destructing. Based on the author's experiences, How I Made it to Eighteen is a frank portrait of what it's like to struggle with self-esteem, body image issues, drug addiction, and anxiety.
Isolated from friends who believe the worst because she has not been truthful with them, sixteen-year-old Annabel finds an ally in classmate Owen, whose honesty and passion for music help her to face and share what really happened at the end-of-the-year party that changed her life.
Lara, 16, is just what most girls want to be: thin, beautiful, and smart. She's dating one of the cutest boys in school, and she's popular. Then she notices that she's gained a few pounds. Unconcerned, she starts to work out harder and watches what she eats. However, her weight keeps going up, and soon Lara weighs over 200 pounds. She spends a week in a hospital on a controlled liquid diet, and the doctors and nutritionists can't understand why she becomes even heavier. Suddenly, she is no longer popular and is faced with ridicule from everyone around her. The story of Lara's weight gain is set against a backdrop of her outwardly perfect, but deeply troubled family life: her father is having a long-term affair, her mother is insecure and obsessed with her (and Lara's) appearance, and her younger brother is angry and rebellious.