Anderson, E. Kristin & Keneally, Miranda (ed.). Dear Teen Me. 192 p. 2012. Zest Books. Paperback $14.99. ISBN 9781936976218.
I'm thrilled to be a part of the Dear Teen Me blog tour!
This book, based on the awesome Dear Teen Me website, hits bookstore shelves on October 30th from Zest Books. Distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Zest is one of my very favorite publishers of teen nonfiction. I know I can always count on something edgy, entertaining, and informative from them, and Dear Teen Me is no exception. It's a compelling read.
Dear Teen Me is an anthology of letters from authors of young adult fiction giving advice and insight to their teen selves. Contributors include Ellen Hopkins, Lauren Oliver, and Sara Zarr, among many other fantastic authors. Ranging from heartbreaking to hilarious, their letters share the most soul-baring, cringe-inducing, and life-altering moments they experienced during their teen years. There is an overall message of hope and affirmation in these letters-- a reminder that we all experience ups and downs in the process of growing up, and we can all come out on the other side, older and wiser.
It's the perfect book to curl up with on a contemplative evening. If you're an adult, this book will make you think about what you would want to tell your teen self, and remember what it was like to be at a such a pivotal point in your life. If you're still a teen, it will make you think about what you're trying to get through right now, and encourage you to realize that you're not alone.
Now here's the part where I take you on a nostalgic pictorial tour of my own teen years...
But before we journey back in time to the 1990s, I should mention that if you read all the way through this post, there's a giveaway at the end! Okay, here we go--
I was a teen in San Diego during the mid-'90s, and I remember those years fondly. I was kind of a bookish geek, but given the fact that I'm a librarian now, that's no surprise, right? Middle school was hard for me. I had trouble figuring out who I was and where I fit in. But by high school, I was feeling more comfortable in my own skin. Not perfect, but pretty happy.
I had really long hair.
I reveled in wearing pleated miniskirts and Mary Jane high heels Thank you, Clueless, for that fashion aesthetic!
I did a lot of plays and musical theater, and absolutely loved performing. Every theater experience was so important to me-- from playing an extra in Our Town as a freshman to getting the lead role in Steel Magnolias during my senior year. (I can't quite explain my fashion choice in this picture from a musical revue, but I'm pretty sure vests were considered stylish at the time.)
I was a cheerleader. Mostly to earn the PE credit, and certainly not because I was an amazing dancer. I wasn't! It took me forever to learn each routine (and also, I never actually understood football). But I tried really hard, got to know a great group of girls I might never have spoken to otherwise, and had so much fun.
I had an awesome group of friends. We used to pass notes in class, use ridiculous code names to talk about cute boys, and laugh at inside jokes built up over layers of years.
If I were writing a letter to my teen self, a la Dear Teen Me, I might include the following...
- Study harder. Seriously!
- You're not the only one feeling angsty. It's just part of being a teenager. You'll be okay.
- Do me a favor and stick with ballet instead of quitting after 6 months.
- Please don't wear this outfit:
The dress is cute, but why the hat? Why?? Oh, 13-year-old self, bless your heart. I'm pretty sure you were exceptionally pleased with that ensemble.
Since leaving my teen years behind, I like to think I've matured and maybe even gained some wisdom along the way. But... well, confession time: I used to get in trouble with my high school librarian for spinning the giant world globe in the library. It absolutely begged to be spun! It rumbled in the most satisfying way with each spin... which was, of course, the reason I got shushed and scolded.
Last weekend, I visited my high school for its centennial celebration and had the opportunity to peek into the gorgeous, brand-new library during the festivities. What did I see? THE GLOBE.
What did I do?
Some things never change.
Do you think my high school librarian would believe I'm a librarian now?
Hey, Teen Me, you did all right.
Now that you've gotten a peek into my teen years, I'm sure you're eager to read the (much more insightful) letters in Dear Teen Me. Well, lucky you: Zest Books is giving away an awesome Dear Teen Me prize pack to one reader of my blog!
To win a copy of Dear Teen Me (autographed by 4 - 5 contributors, plus postcards and bookmarks!), comment on this post by Monday, November 5, and tell me about your favorite or most regrettable fashion choice of your teen years. Pictures earn a double entry. Be sure to leave your email with your comment so I can notify the winner. Contest open to US residents only.
Be sure to visit all the stops on the Dear Teen Me blog tour, and take a look at the Dear Teen Me events page to see if there's a book signing at a location near you!