Dear Teen Me,
A few days before your 30th birthday, you’ll get an e-mail from the folks at Zest Books, asking you to review – and blog about – their upcoming collection of letters from YA authors to their teenage selves –
First, remember when you were nine years old? You used to draw the four-room cabin you planned to live in when you grew up, complete with interior decorations. And you used to tell people that you were going to live in that cabin, away from all the sturm und drang of the outside world (yes, you really did used to talk like that – and yes, I promise there are boys who will like you for it when you start talking like that again), and be a writer, editor, and book reviewer, communicating with the outside world via telephone and fax machine. Remember how adults used to tell you that was totally unrealistic, and you’d better come up with a “real job”?
Well, guess who’s laughing now.
You don’t live in a four-room cabin in northernest Michigan (though it’s not to say you didn’t try), but you do write, edit, and review books for a living, and you don’t travel into some sturmy-und-drangy office to do it. You have an office, at home, and you communicate with the outside world via the Internet.
Internet. (IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Motorola.) Tell your parents to invest in it now. Trust me.
Anyway, you said yes, because DEAR TEEN ME fit into your schedule and also your blog’s theme (a “blog” is like a newspaper column, only on the aforementioned Internet). And now, a few months later, you’re glad you did.
DEAR TEEN ME is a collection of letters from young-adult writers to their teenage selves. Some of them reminisce about the silly things you did as a kid that turned out to be not so silly after all. Others reminisce about silly things that turned out to be TERRIBLE. Still others recount events you’ll be glad to know you never have to live through – and events you’re glad to hear someone else lived through too.
All of them are accompanied with drawings and photos of their writers, who you will feel are old friends by the time you’ve put the book down. There are letters from writers like Tom Angleberger, Robin Benway, Ellen Hopkins, Carrie Jones, Lauren Oliver, and Sara Zarr. Also Stasia Ward Kehoe, who is also a stop on the DEAR TEEN ME blog tour today. Yay!
You won’t recognize all these names just yet, teenself, because they’re not all published yet. That’s okay. Neither are you. But you will be.
PS: No, you don’t ever really learn to like your name – but you do learn to love it for meaning YOU.
PPS: Yes, you really did make it to age 30. You also got married. No, I’m not saying to whom – it would totally spoil the surprise!
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