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Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (True Stories) Paperback – October 30, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Fact: The teenage experience doesn't play out like it does in the movies. Stripped of its Hollywood gloss and thrown into harsh reality, it is a daily gauntlet of angst and anxiety and trial, but also of hard-won triumph. Here, in letters to their former teen selves, more than 60 young adult authors discuss friendship, first love, body image, abuse, depression, glory days, horror days, and how the experiences they had as teenagers helped shape them into the (mostly) well-adjusted adults they grew to be. These letters range from humorous to heartbreaking, and teens past, present, and future will find something they can relate to. Julia Whelan and Macleod Andrews do an admirable of job narrating the various letters (Zest Books, 2012) by authors such as Beth Fantaskey, Carrie Jones, Joseph Bruchac, Ilse Bick, and a host of others. The concept is creative, and listeners will love getting to know their favorite YA authors better. Unfortunately, the discs consistently end mid-letter, giving the recording a choppy, interrupted feel. Additionally, graphic segments don't translate well into audio format. This makes a nice supplement to the print version, but is not a necessary purchase. For additional letters, visit dearteenme.com.-Alissa Bach, Oxford Public Library, MIα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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"You know there is no way in hell a guy like him would ever kiss a girl like you, you think."
There are moms who left. Left behind was a girl who had to raise her younger siblings and needed her grandmother to buy her first bra for her. Dads who left an never called, creating an almost obsessive need for attention of any kind. There was a dad who suffered from mental illness in a way that devastated her childhood. And there were great parents who loved, comforted, angered, yelled, supported and loved some more.
"Here's the thing: You're a freak. Always were. Always will be. One day you'll love this about yourself. But right now you hate it."
There are band geeks, theater dropouts, book nerds, smart kids, dancers, jocks, chubby kids, and so much more. Some had a defining moment like when Big Bern (scary Sister Bernard Agnes) recognized you were a fish out of water and suggested you spend some time in the library, the exact spot where you finally fit in. Some just floated through, realizing only now that they missed an amazing opportunity. But they all have something in common. They had no idea who the hell they really were and who the hell they were going to be one day. And that was OK. Because eventually, they would know.
"The goose egg on your forehead will heal, but the loose thread in your moral fiber is probably still there to this day."
There were bullies. Some were expected, and some were unexpected. Those were inexplicably sadder. Sometimes the bullied became the bully just to turn the tide a little bit. There were cruel taunts and jabs that will stay with you forever. But there were friends. A girl who let you know it is OK to stop worrying about homework and tests and just be free. Friends who want to play Dungeons and Dragons or belong to the breakdancing group right along with your rhythm-less self. And did you know Lauren Oliver and Elizabeth Miles were friends in school?! How awesome and crazy is that?!
"Keep dancing by the highway, you splendid little dork."
There are first crushes, first kisses, and attempts to lose your virginity. There are milestones and drudgery, but it is all that time you need to spend finding yourself, losing yourself, and finding yourself again. This is all the advice you wish someone had told you when you were a teenager, but then you stop and realize even if they had told you, you would have ignored them and made those same mistakes again. This book should not only be read by students from middle school through their young adult years, but also adults as well. Parents, teachers, and just the woman debating whether or not to go to her high school reunion because she was once an awkward young girl who dreaded every day of high school. I loved this collection. Loved it. And there is nothing you will ove more than watching someone realize those very authors you look up to were struggling through the same horror show you went through during adolescence. (And not Rocky Horror Picture Show, kind of horror either. There was no bustier and singing. This was more like Jason and hockey mask).
"PLEASE stop pretending you don't know the answers in math class! It's okay to be smarter than they boys. Really. They'll get over it."
Let me list the reasons why I LOVED it:
(1) The format: I loved the way they presented each letter with the letter itself as well as a picture of the author as a teen and their bio. It was cute, and I just adored all the colors. It made reading the book a very enjoyable experience.
(2) The selection of authors/letters: I've seen some of the letters included on the website, but the majority were brand new to me! I loved the variety in them from the funny ones to the sad ones to the heartwarming ones...there was just about every category featured.
(3) The Q and A feature: LOVED all the embarrassing moments/first jobs!
(4) New authors: A lot of the authors I hadn't heard about before, I made a mental note to find out more about them and their books! :)
In all, the Dear Teen Me anthology is an heartwarming and pitch perfect addition to the YA lit world. Best of all, teens as well as adults will be able to find themselves in these letters!