Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (True Stories)

Dear Teen Me

Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Michael Griffo, 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 these pages.

“A winning collection for both teens and former teens, alike.”

— Library School Journal




“Typically, Young Adult authors are adults. Sure, they have lived through high school and their awkward teenage years, but they aren’t currently entrenched in them. Perhaps they have glorified those times, or maybe they view them like being the lone survivor of a zombie plague- all alone and waiting to be devoured by the beasts surrounding you. Either way, they aren’t part of the target audience for whom they write their books. So can they make the young adults they write for believe they lived through the same situations? Yep. With one book. In Dear Teen Me, a collection of letters from the authors to their teen selves, you will get a glimpse of just how much they can connect to the teens they write for.

“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.