Monday, November 19, 2012

Review: Dear Teen Me

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Dear Teen Me:
Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves
Publication date: October 30th 2012
by Zest Books

 

Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends–and a lot of familiar faces–in the course of Dear Teen Me.

 *A copy was provided by Zest Books for review purposes*

We all wonder what high school would have been like if we knew then what we know now. Or at least I do. I would not have been so hard on myself, for one. But on the other hand, if you could change any part of your high school experience, would you risk losing where you ended up?

This novel is filled with high school anecdotes; from funny to heartbreaking, we get snippets of these authors lives that are honest and raw. It’s such a unique and amazing experience to be able to learn more about so many authors that I have come to know and adore. Some stories were, I’m sure, as difficult to read than it was to write. There are some that bring up really tough issues: eating disorders, suicide, rape, abuse, sexuality; while others are very sweet and heartwarming: first kisses, first loves, friendships, and, most of all, making memories. The format of these is very… diverting. It’s a completely fun and refreshing book to read. Each letter is unique: We have some funny ones, some written in comic strips, some that are very profound where we glean at the author’s soul. There are also Q&A sections where we learn even more author tidbits. And my personal favorite: every letter is signed along with a photo of the author in their teens. The hairdos themselves make this book worth checking out!

High school is a different experience for everyone, and no matter how hard, or how fantastic of a time you had, those are memories that stick with you. And in the end, this book shows that these memories build who you are, but they do not define you. They are what makes you you. None of the letters in this book showed regrets, only advice on how to get through it all so they could become the fabulous person they are. I loved that this, a work of non-fiction, could really get such a huge message out there. High school is not fiction, and we all survived.

There are a lot of great books out there that I wish teenagers would read so they could find strength, courage, and meaning from the horrors of high school, or life. This is definitely one of them. No matter if you’re dealing with a “simple” heartbreak from a break-up, or a life altering problem, everyone can find a little bit of themselves in at least one of these letters. It’s candid and authentic; you learn so much about these authors in these brief letters. No matter who you were, or who you are, I would recommend this book to you!

4 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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21 Responses to “Review: Dear Teen Me”

  1. Rhiannon Frater

    Awww….I saw the author at Barnes & Noble the night I went in to see the new mass market paperback of THE FIRST DAYS. She looked very emotional and the people around her looked so proud. She was signing the in-store copies at the information desk (and I did the same thing with my book). So hooray for another Texan!

  2. Alexa

    I love the fact that this book reminds us that all the stuff we do go through makes us who we are today. It will be interesting and really fun to read about each author’s experience!

  3. Christina

    Ha, there’s so much I could tell my high school stuff, but I so would not be willing to relive it, even with the benefit of my current knowledge. Oh HELL to the no.

    I totally agree. This is a perfect book for teens to read, just to know they can get through it and that EVERYONE was awkward during those years, even if they were popular.

  4. Aneeqah

    Wow, I definitely need to pick this one up now! A current high-schooler myself, I’m super curious about all these authors’ experiences! I love how the authors didn’t all do the same thing- it seems like they all expressed their feelings in different formats, which is super cool. And it also looks like there’s a great mix of funny and emotional.

    Fantastic review, Giselle! I will have to take you up on this recommendation and read this one. =)

  5. Sam

    I have to admit, this isn’t something I would usually go for, but I’ve heard good things about it and I’m glad it worked for you. Lovely review as always! :)

  6. Jesse Burgoyne

    Greta review! This is one of those books that I just know I need to read. I don’t usually read non-fiction, but this looks too good and I’ve heard to many wonderful things about it. I’ll definitely be getting a copy of this and then probably passing it along to friends who I will explain NEED to read it :)

    Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

  7. Shooting Stars Mag

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this. I’ve had it on my wish list for awhile now, and it sounds like something I should get my hands on ASAP. I love that all the letters exude a positive message of getting through and becoming a better person in the long run. And having teen photos of the authors is quite a fun addition!

  8. Leanne Yang

    This book sounds so intriguing! I mean, we all read their books but now we kind of see their background as well. They write books about YA, so why not about their own life as a Young Adult. Haha, thanks for recommending this to teens because I’m one as well.

  9. Rebecca

    I love the sound of this. Getting to look back into the past of some of our favourite authors and see what happened along the way which impacted on who they are now. And I love that the letters show no regets and that we get to see into the authors then-lives of our now-rockstars. Plus, it sounds like it delivers a great message and the hairdos alone sound like a win! Love your review, Giselle!

  10. Shirley

    This sounds like something I should read…or at least have read 2 months ago! I reckon had I read this when I still attended high school this would’ve given me so much inspiration :) Great review Giselle! Hopefully I’ll get round to reading this soon :D

  11. Maji Bookshelf

    Aww.. this seems like a really amazing book! Im still in high school, and I know how tough it can be. Its fun, and sometimes it can REALLY suck. I think I should really read this book since im IN high school. Lovely review Giselle!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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