Growing pains are an essential part of teenage life, for better and for worse. Some “mistakes” turn into positive, life-changing experiences, and some apparent triumphs seem, in retrospect, like low points. Some first kisses leave you feeling on top of the world, and others can make you want to hide under a rock. In Dear Teen Me, your favorite YA authors - including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, Tom Angleberger, and Carrie Jones - revisit critical moments from their young lives and offer advice and guidance to their teenage selves.
Listen to find out...
The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. Some authors focus on a hilarious mistake or one especially big day, others offer words of hope for desperate times. So whether you’re a theater kid, a band geek, a bad boy, a good girl, a loner, a stoner, a nerd, or a jock, you’ll find friends - and a lot of familiar faces - in Dear Teen Me.
At times inspirational, at times cute, at times harrowing, this book will keep you company and make you smile when you are looking for that little bit of escape to somebody else's memories. No part of it is unpleasant.
Nevertheless, a few of the stories feel a bit banal, as though the respective author received a request for a submission from the editors and responded out of politeness, not because she had anything earth-shattering to share. On the same note, many of the authors are a bit too similar, in style, in story but especially in outlook. The vehicle of a letter to one's 16-year-old self also doesn't work in every case, a few stories bend over backwards to stick with it. These capable writers deserve better.
In the end, the book feels a bit like a pet project of two writers for which they recruited their friends, not something for which I need to give up time that could be spent listening to other inspiring stories - including works by the very authors who contributed to this book.
5 stars for narrator MacLeod Andrews, 3 stars for Julia Whelan. There is a distinct difference in the quality of the narration. While the female authors, read by Ms. Whelan, all sound the same (and somewhat patronizing toward their youthful self), Mr. Andrews infuses every male author with a distinctive voice of his own. They thereby break free from being a generic "person who used to be 16 and has some insights", and become a very specific adult with a very personal relationship with the 16-year-old self he is writing to. His narration clearly implies the idiosyncrasy of every bit of insight delivered. It is through his narration that the audiobook fills the space the editors must have envisioned for it - one of diverse views and stories.
What made the experience of listening to Dear Teen Me the most enjoyable?
The fact that every teenager feel so alone, when in reality at some point we all went through broken-hearts, being singled out, listening to music other your age thought was not cool etcThis book should come in a free high-school edition. It would make health-class easier on everyone...
What other book might you compare Dear Teen Me to and why?
Well, the "Adrian Mole" diaries maybe? Even if it is fiction it is right on the spot on both small(prom) and bigger issues(bullying)
Which character – as performed by Julia Whelan and MacLeod Andrews – was your favorite?
One of the guys cannot pick one.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Yes: A girl discover a disability which makes her legally blind. Then says truthfully:" It will be hard for you to be different, but you'll manage. The quote was not word by word right, but gave the important context of her letter.
Any additional comments?
I am not a teen, but since I am around the authors age I can recall everything which sparked their wish to create this book.