When I was given the opportunity to join the Dear Teen Me blog tour I was thrilled! Dear Teen Me is such a fantastic compilation of advice and stories form some of today’s hottest authors written as letters (in some cases, graphic novel format) to their teen selves. Yea, brilliant!
click the banner for the full tour schedule including bloggers and authors!
Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves. (Zest Books, October 30, 2012, $14.99; ISBN 978-1-9369762-1-8) edited by Miranda Kenneally and E. Kristin Anderson. Zest Books, a leading publisher of nonfiction for young adult readers, is distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It is available wherever books are sold!
As part of the blog tour I was given my choice of posts, literally I was given a list of like 10 things I could do to participate, and of course I immediately chose to write my teen self a letter. You know, just like in the book. Apparently I fancy myself a writer.
It’s so typical me. I couldn't just pick something easy, interview one of the participants in the book. Do a giveaway. No. I had to choose the one thing that would force me to drudge up the horrid memories of *gulp* high school.
Thing is I had a lot a lot of advice I could pass down to Teen Me. As I pondered over my mistakes, my hardships I realized one story stood out, one very truly defined who I am through and through today.
MY DEAR TEEN ME LETTER:
Just keep your head down and walk. It’s going to be fine.
Ugh. But they know.
Of course they know, your 5’4” and 98 lbs. You eat lunch twice a day, one of them during the class just before lunch…you’d have to be duller than an eraser to think you could hide it for long.
But I didn’t tell anyone!
Pssh. Right? No one but your 5 closest friends oh and don’t forget when you burst through the front door of school, running mach 5, after parking the car like a blind person…I’m sure NO ONE knew anything was up.
Jesus. I’m talking to myself…no..not even talking to myself that might actually be ok. No, no I’m mentally arguing with myself! That’s totally the definition of sanity.
No your not talking to yourself, don’t worry. At this point you can claim to be talking to the baby.
Yeah. Sorry doll face, you’re going to be “That Girl” in high school. Junior year is going to be the biggest challenge you face, but I’m here to tell you to hang on.
There’s going to be stares, uncreative (and untrue) comments about your sexual promiscuity. The father is going to take off faster than an Olympic runner fighting for Olympic gold and if Google Maps had existed back then, by your 7th month, they would have been able to locate you. Easily.
But words are just that. They will make you stronger in the end, no matter how much they hurt at first. You’ll lose the weight eventually, and in the end one tiny, little person with out knowing it will change the lives of everyone you know.
For 7 months you’re going to be stubborn as hell. Well, let’s be fair here you’ve always been that way and always will, but on this one thing you will be doubly stubborn. You’ve convinced yourself you can do this. Have a baby, finish school, have a job, go to college, have a life. No amount of convincing on the part of your parents and friends will make you waiver on this for a moment.
You’ll drop out of school and start being home schooled so you can get a job. Just to prove the point you can take care of yourself, and this baby. You’ll start buying baby things, bottles, diapers, and start to stock pile it all. To prove you know what a baby needs. You’ll go to all of your doctor appointments, driven by your mother of course, because you don’t have a car…
And then slowly, one day it starts to sink in. You start to see, you actually can not do this at 17. Not if you want your life and this baby’s to amount to anything. The tiny amount of money you have saved won’t even get you into Section 8 housing. And you’ll never be able to afford a car once the baby comes. Gas, insurance, payments, that’s all really expensive, right? How will you get around in the winter? Wait around for people to come pick you up? That sounds great. What would we eat? How much is milk? Showing you are growing up is not the same thing as being a grown up.
Like kismet, your god parents are looking to adopt. They have been trying for 3 years, but the waiting lists are long. One night, when they are over talking to you mom in the living room you will get up for something to eat, and as you pass back through the living room you’ll tell them you would like them to adopt your baby. You’ll go back downstairs to eat your food and watch TV while you hear them celebrating upstairs. For once, some one is legitimately excited 100% about this baby. The excitement isn’t tainted with worries of how to take care of him, or what he’ll be told one day about his father. Just pure joy and not a drop of anything else.
And you smile. For the first time in really long time because you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that while this may very well be the hardest thing you ever do it is most definitely the right thing.
Zachary is born in July of 1997. You watch him grow up through photos, and visits once or twice a year. Eventually he will start to talk to you on the phone, and when he does he’ll ask for things his parents won’t buy him, typical kid! *smile*
You’re going to get sad. You’ll cry. You’ll grab you stomach and remember when he was still tucked safely there, when he was still yours. You’ll sometimes wish that you had just tired to raise him, but life always reminds you in it’s own way how that would have never been the best idea. And when you feel this way, you’ll simply have to look at a photo of him with his parents and see their faces. And you will feel better knowing you gave two people something all their money and success couldn't buy them. And that you gave one little boy a life you only dreamed of for him. You will know you built the most perfect family when you were only 17 years old.
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ABOUT ZEST BOOKS & DEAR TEEN ME CREATORS:
Miranda Kenneally is the author of the contemporary YA novels Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker (just published), and Things I Can't Forget (Spring 2013). Miranda is also the co-editor, with E. Kristin Anderson, of Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (Zest Books), and is co-creator of the Dear Teen Me website. TWITTER | FACEBOOK
E. Kristin Anderson, in addition to co-editing Dear Teen Me and co-creating its eponymous website, is a writer and poet who has been published in dozens of literary journals. She is also an assistant editor at Hunger Mountain for their YA and Children's section.TWITTER | FACEBOOK
Zest Books is an award-winning publisher of smart and edgy titles that focus on the colorful chaos of teen life. These nonfiction books cover timely topics in creative ways by incorporating solid life advice, practical how-to instruction, and humorous commentary. Zest Books’ catalogue includes 97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School, Where’s My Stuff: The Ultimate Teen Organizing Guide, and Scandalous! 50 Shocking Events You Should Know About So You Can Impress Your Friends. In Fall 2012, Zest Books launches a new line of memoirs and first-person accounts, and Dear Teen Me is the first book in this new line. Zest Books is distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Learn more at www.zestbooks.net.