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Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves

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Dear Teen Me includes advice from 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.

192 pages, Paperback

First published October 30, 2012

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About the author

E. Kristin Anderson

39 books254 followers
E. Kristin Anderson is a poet and glitter enthusiast living mostly at a Starbucks somewhere in Austin, Texas. A Connecticut College graduate with a B.A. in classics, Kristin’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Kristin co-edited the award-winning DEAR TEEN ME anthology and is the editor of the literary anthology COME AS YOU ARE, an anthology of writing on 90’s pop culture (Anomalous Press). Kristin’s poetry and flash fiction have appeared in The Texas Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Puerto del Sol, The Pinch, Barrelhouse Online, Cotton Xenomorph and FreezeRay Poetry and she has work forthcoming in Birdfeast, Entropy, and Harpur Palate. Kristin is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry including A GUIDE FOR THE PRACTICAL ABDUCTEE (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2014), PRAY, PRAY, PRAY: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press, 2015), FIRE IN THE SKY (Grey Book Press, 2016), SHE WITNESSES (dancing girl press, 2016), WE’RE DOING WITCHCRAFT (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2016), 17 SEVENTEEN XVII (Grey Book Press, 2017) and BEHIND, ALL YOU’VE GOT (Semiperfect Press). She hand-wrote her first trunk book at sixteen. It was about the band Hanson and may or may not still be in a notebook in her parents’ garage. Kristin is a poetry reader at Cotton Xenomorph and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked the night shift at The New Yorker. She blogs at EKristinAnderson.com and tweets at @ek_anderson.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 147 reviews
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,364 followers
November 19, 2012
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!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Hannah.
Author 27 books1,813 followers
March 27, 2012
I'm this anthology with a ridiculously personal letter to my 16-year-old eating disordered self. You should read it and judge me quietly. God knows I do.
Profile Image for Jen  Bigheart.
299 reviews126 followers
October 15, 2012
GIVEAWAY at jenbigheart.com

I am so thrilled to talk about this book and encourage everyone to read/buy/scrapbook. I have been reading the Dear Teen Me blog for....a long time. When word came out that it was being made into a book I was thrilled for the editors and contributors! The day I got the book in the mail I read all the way through. I cried, literally laughed out loud, blushed, and said the word "awe" a lot. I read a few stories to my husband and kids and eventually my 14-year-old read the entire book. People we know and love writing to their teens selves - what is not to love?

A few stand out letters were Jessica Lee Anderson's and Ilsa Bick's. Both were totally different stories, but I remember them in detail months after reading. Anderson talks about the pressure of achieving and getting into a good college - something millions of us can relate to. I related a lot to her story, even the epic trip to Mexico. Bick's was a completely different story and absolutely took my breath away. It is one of the longest letters and yet when it ended I wanted another page. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but let's just say her letter talks about a 40+ year-old secret and hidden past. When I meet Bick face-to-face again, this story is something I will be asking her about.
There are also funny lighting round questions like 'What Was Your Most Embarrassing Moment?' and Who Was Your Celebrity Crush?" Some of those answers are hilarious!
Profile Image for Kimberly Russell.
Author 5 books97 followers
October 6, 2012
I love Dear Teen Me so much, and not just because they let me do an entry for them a couple of months ago. http://dearteenme.com/?p=3851

I think the premise is genius and I love that I get a little insight into my favorite authors. I am so happy I won this from Zest Books*! Thank you!

I really could have used this book as a teen. Seriously. There isn’t a single issue that I can think of that wasn’t address in this compilation of letters. Any issue a teen will be confronted with was spoken about. I feel like there is something for everyone. And I genuinely hope this reaches many teens.

I thought the Q&A sheets were great, my favorite being Most Embarrassing Moment.

There were a lot of author’s letters that moved me, but my personal favorites were from: Janet Gurtler, Kersten Hamilton, Ellen Hopkins, and Carry Jones. Also, there were a few whose notes read like their books: Miranda Kenneally, Sara Zarr, and Jennifer Rush in particular. I loved that! It was like a little piece of a new novel or something.

I love that when I finished Dear Teen Me I had a fabulous list of authors I had never heard of before, and I can’t wait to find all of their books.

*I won this from Net Galley but all of my opinions are honest.
Profile Image for Paul  Hankins.
770 reviews277 followers
September 2, 2012
A powerful collection of letters written by some of today's most successful young adult authors to their teen-aged selves.

Among the letters and doodles found in the book are: Tom Angleberger, Cheryl Rainfield, Ellen Hopkins, Geoff Herbach, Ilsa J. Bick, and Riley Carney (hey--wait a minute--Riley just stopped being a teen, but what she has to offer is a universal struggle for many gifted and talented students today. I'm glad she's here).

Carrie Jones and Mike Jung are in the collection as are Sarah Ockler (first kiss, Sarah? Oh my. Church camp?), Nikki Loftin, and Lauren Oliver.

Some of the letters point to the peculiarities that will be familiar to teen readers, but some of the letters are raw and emotional. There is a reader out there that may need to hear the advice of a person out there who followed their writing dreams to make them come true talking back to their teen selves when that dream was brand new.

Profile Image for Jesslivraddict.
392 reviews272 followers
May 25, 2017
Ce livre est composé de plein de lettres adressées par des auteurs américaines à leur Teen-self, soit à elle étant ado.
J'ai trouvé ces lettres très touchantes, montrant que chacun est passé, par des étapes difficiles à l'adolescence, des moments difficiles qui nous semblent insurmontables à l'instant T mais qui construisent petit à petit l'adulte que nous devenons.
A lire, je recommande vraiment cette lecture.

Par ailleurs, cela m'a donné une idée, je suis en train d'écrire ma propre lettre à mon Moi Ado, j'ai tellement de choses à lui dire, surtout que je suis fière d'elle et qu'elle est plus forte qu'elle ne le croit.
J'aimerais faire naître un projet autour de ce livre en VF cette fois. Si des auteurs sont intéressés me contacter via FB ou par mail.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,650 followers
October 20, 2012
Originally posted on A Reader of Fictions.

Dear Teen Christina,

Life sucks right now, and, I'm not going to lie to you. High school is awful, but at least middle school is over, and, so far, that exists as the nadir of your life, and I hope that does not change (it hasn't yet). Also, in junior year, you'll make a friend, a real one, the kind of friend you'll still talk to when you're unspeakably old (aka 25). Also, teen self, you should know that your fantasies of showing up at your ten year reunion incredibly hot and successful and falling in instalove with [insert one of the innumerable boys you crush on during high school] will not be coming true. Also, instalove is awful. Even in your daydreams, I expect better quality material, okay? Just know, young self, that it will get better.

There's a lot more that I could tell my teen self, because there's a lot that I've learned, even just to the extent of realizing how much I don't know. None of these authors had quite the same experience that I did, but a comment here and an embarrassing moment there spoke to me, just as others would to anyone who picks it up.

Robin Benway wrote one of my favorite letters in the anthology. Her second point begins, "High school stops mattering the second you graduate from it." This is both the truest and least accurate statement in here, I feel, and sort of sums everything up. All of these stories are people coming to terms with their middle school, high school or college experiences. In some stories, you can still feel the vitriol or the sadness, emotions still very close to the surface. These moments have a profound impact on your formation as a person. However, once I graduated from high school, I hardly looked back, and I barely remember a lot of it. The late nights frantically trying to produce a two-week science experiment in three days (you won't get a good grade on that one, self, but you weren't going to anyway) really just won't matter. And, if you don't want to, you won't ever have to see those people again.

At Decatur Book Festival, the moderator of a panel I attended made an observation that no authors of young adult fiction were popular in high school. Well, Dear Teen Me shows that this is not true. In fact, I'd say there's a pretty decent representation of different social cliques in here, although, unsurprisingly, the nerds do predominate. There are some cheerleaders, though, and at least one jock. I liked that, and getting a window into other people's high school experiences has a cathartic feeling to it, because no one had it easy. Growing up hurts.

Dear Teen Me is a brief volume, composed of short snippets, generally two to four pages long. About half of the authors go for silly self-mockery, giving an entertaining account of their teen awkwardness and playing for laughs. Most of the rest focus on a specific issue that will haunt their years, something dark and painful: eating disorders, self-harm, rape, abuse, grief over the loss of a loved one. The honesty of these stories and the bravery of the authors for putting that out there is incredible. A couple stories, sadly, didn't really say anything at all. These I did not approve of.

I whipped through Dear Teen Me in a single evening. For teenagers struggling with feeling at home in their own skin (aka all teenagers) or for those of us who still have some things from our teen years we need to get over, Dear Teen Me is a powerful read to help us feel just a little bit less alone. Also, you can see what all of the authors looked like in high school (in fact, Sean Beaudoin's letter will be all about his emo, artsy photograph), which I love.
Profile Image for Gretchen Hohmeyer.
Author 2 books117 followers
October 22, 2012
You may notice that this book has no rating. Certainly it will have to have one on Amazon, Goodreads and the like because they demand it, but Dear Teen Me is, to me, a book that transcends ratings.

What is a rating, anyways? It is a mark of sometimes good technical storytelling, other times it is because of a person’s simple like or dislike of a book. With Dear Teen Me, the former aspect especially holds no place.

Dear Teen Me is not a story. It is a conglomeration of personal, nonfiction stories about the teen years of dozens of YA authors. The concepts of “good technical storytelling” do not apply. The content is just not that kind.

I don’t know what I thought when I requested an ARC of this book. Whatever it was, I only know that the book exceeded my expectations. I was certainly expecting a great deal of “Were you an outsider in high school, because it’s okay to be weird!” and I got that, but not one of these stories was cheesy. Not one was a cliché of an adult trying to empower a teenager. The topics that these authors went over ranged from self-harm and eating disorders to coming out and dealing with abusive parents—and everything in between. Yes, every story had a happy ending and a moral, but you never felt like you were being told. All of the letters—though in some more than others—I felt as if I was intruding on someone’s most personal journal entry, and the that raw emotion on display was not for my eyes.

Dear Teen Me was not a book that I may have picked up of my own volition, simply because I am tired of books where “former teens” share their inspiring stories and tell you how to learn from them. I don’t want to hear inspirational “rah rah” stories meant to make me feel better about myself because it’s okay to be a broody teenager. The authors who contributed here seemed to understand that. No one is lecturing. No one is pretending that wounds leave no scars. No one is shying away from topics sometimes adults and teens alike are afraid of discussing. No one is censoring a thing.

And why would they? They’re writing these for themselves. For their mistakes. For their pain. They just happen to be gracious enough to allow them to be read by others.
Profile Image for Nuzaifa.
140 reviews177 followers
January 3, 2013
"And yes, It does get better.Much better"

Anthologies are not something that I enjoy but I came across Dear Teen Me during Zest Books Blog Tour.There were a lot of positive reviews and I thought I'd give it a try.Dear Teen Me i a collection of letters from YA authors to their younger selves.I loved the format-mostly it consisted of letters but there were a few Q & A sections and some of it was narrated in the form of comic strips.Another feature that makes Dear Teen Me a cool read is the photographs(CUTE!) of the authors during their teens and their signatures!

Still not convinced that you should go grab your copy of this book?Read on then...

The confessions range from heartbreaking to downright hilarious!

Some of these stood out for the first reason namely Ellen Hopkins,Saundra Mitchell,Stephanie Kuehnert,Cheryl Rainfield,Gretchen McNeil,Kersten Hamilton and Jessica Burkhart.It was moving and I could not help but be inspired by them because you come to realize that they have risen above these barriers to become really successful people.Some of the authors touch on sensitive issues like all kinds of abuse,body image issues,sexuality and suicide.

And some of the authors shared sweet stuff like crushes,crazy hairdos,insane moments that they shared with their BFFs and their most embarrassing moments!It was really adorable and kept me laughing out loud!

Most of all Dear Teen was relate-able,it wasn't too preachy and at the same time it gave excellent advice.An Amazing Read-Go Get It Now!

"Remember we define ourselves. Define yourself as awesome."

More Reviews @ my blog, Say It With Books
Profile Image for Mary  BookHounds .
1,301 reviews1,782 followers
November 4, 2012


This book is a collection letters written by popular young adult authors to themselves as teens to tell them that essentially, life does get better. Well, in some cases, it does get way worse than better, but eventually, things do look up. There are all kinds of confessions involved here, some of my favorite authors have dealt with illness, abuse and more adversaries that make my life look like a fairy tale. Most have been threatened by bullies, a lot have had family members die, suffer from drug abuse or even worse.

I had no idea that these authors had to deal with these situations while growing up. It is amazing that some survived at all and a lot of them have incorporated their experiences into their work. It is truly eye opening. Some of my favorites were from Carrie Jones where she explains that a horrible encounter with a boy ended with her having epilepsy. The letter from Ilsa Bick was heart rendering as she talks about her father who was the only survivor of a Nazi death camp. There are also a few lighthearted moments where authors name their celebrity crushes. I wish I would have found the tumblr site for this book before it was released. I am going to send it to every teen I know.
Profile Image for Jenna D..
1,045 reviews145 followers
October 18, 2012
DEAR TEEN ME is a book that I would recommend as required reading for all teens entering high school. That’s right teachers, librarians, principals, school boards – make note: All students should read DEAR TEEN ME during their freshman year of high school. A note to teens: That is not to say this book in any way resembles a text book. It does not. In fact, I believe that you will find that reading entries about your favorite authors when they were teens will be just about the coolest things you ever read in school. Or perhaps not, especially if you prefer the anecdotes of The Scarlet Letter or Beowulf… But I digress.

Today’s most popular YA authors lay it straight, and let kids know that they are not alone in the hell that is being a teen. Young readers will find DEAR TEEN ME, if not somewhat sad and insightful, then at least highly entertaining and downright hilarious. Adult readers will be reminded that they were not the only ones with issues back in the day.
Profile Image for Alma .
1,168 reviews8 followers
January 30, 2016
I love the premise of this anthology. Well known, and not so well known, Young Adult authors write letters (including some comic strips) to their teen selves with photographs from their younger days. In their writings they remember loves won and lost, bully troubles, weight struggles, suicidal thoughts, fears of coming out, physical, mental and emotional abuse, as well as other hurts and indignities suffered by their teen selves.

Read the rest of my review at: http://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.c...

NOTE: Be sure to follow my blog via e-mail to have a chance to win your own copy of the book. See blog for details.
Profile Image for Magan.
352 reviews88 followers
August 21, 2012

Where was this when I was in high school? Really enjoyed the letters & cannot stop thinking about how far I've come since those confusing high school years.
Profile Image for Selina .
50 reviews36 followers
November 9, 2012
A Bookcase to Heaven™ review.


For those who know me, I never ever ever read non-fiction. And all the way until three weeks ago, I had not the slightest inclination of ever breaking that rule.

But, you know, when I saw this book with all the familiar names of authors like Jess Rothenberg (The Catastrophic History of You and Me), Jessica Spotswood (Born Wicked) and Nancy Holder (who wrote so so many dear novels in the Once Upon a Time series), I suddenly had that impossible urge to know what insecurities they had as a teen like myself and what life they led during that awkward phase of adolescence.

Did they have crushes on totally dorky guys?

Did they embarrass themselves constantly like all teenagers do?

Had they ever done something bad? Or naughty?

You bet they did.

And I don't regret for a single moment for picking this book up. Authors aren't gods/goddesses. No matter where they stand today, no matter how confident and witty and glamorous they are now, no matter how very much they appear to have been equally amazing teens-- they have all been that gangly teenager who was at a loss of words, the girl whose cheeks turned pink when her crush simply looked in her way, the boy who got bullied, that teenager who had been left out and wanted to cry. Each and every single one of them.

But, ultimately, they all found strength in writing.

This is a book that I won't want to fly through, simply because I want to slowly savor its goodness, its honesty and its truths. Every single letter in this book (and there are many) all provide a reassuring insight from an adult who has been through the ups and downs of life and can say with the confidence of one who is looking in hindsight that whatever difficulties we are facing as a teen won't last forever.

There's Jessica Corra, who forever remembers the time when a teacher in her school told her to "try the library" when she had wanted to transfer to a public school out of loneliness. And that changed her life. She tells her teen self that "What is important is that you listened to someone and grabbed the lifeline you needed. Asking for help when you need it isn't weakness; neither is accepting help when you don't think you do. Don't be afraid to do that, again and again."

The letter by Heather Davis almost made me cry. She talked about her mother who would leave their family again and again.

"Dear Teen Me,
Over time, her appearances confuse your understanding of what it means to love and be loved. You begin to accept that words don't have to match actions. That sometimes love is a thing bargained for with silence. You start to crave that kind of love, which is a devaluing and insidious one. This craving will stick with you for years. It's something you'll have to learn to overcome.

Keep doing your best. Right now, your little sisters need you. And, I promise you, even if it's many years from now, someday you will know real love. The kind where words match actions. The kind that doesn't leave you hanging. The kind that never lets you go."

The letters are also inspiring, in particular one by Kersten Hamilton. She says,

"It starts with a litter of puppies. They're three days old, and their mother is dead. Everyone says you should drown them because they're going to die anyway without a mama dog to feed them. That's what they say. You're thirteen, but you gave up listening to what people said years ago. You've learned to think for yourself. You don't trust adults.
The fact is, we can't know what the future holds, because it doesn't exist yet-- it doesn't exist until we create it. No matter where you start, and no matter where you are today, you can dream a new tomorrow. Your parents can't stop you. You can create it through the choices you make (like the choice to save a puppy). If you have no adult to trust as a child, choose to become an adult that children can trust."

These letters-- some are so adorable and funny that they will make you laugh involuntarily, some are really thought-provoking, giving you new strength to face the trials and tribulations of teenage life.

Dear Teen Me is like Chicken Soup for teens. Quoting our dear editors,

"This book is for you. For the loners, the stoners, the freaks and the geeks, the head cheerleaders and the kids eating lunch in the library, the starting lineup, the benchwarmers, the glee club, and the marching band. This book is for everyone who has ever felt alone or misunderstood, for everyone who dreads prom and also for every teen in the homecoming court. For the wimps, the Goths, the jocks. This book is for you.

We hope you love it."

Yes, we do. :)

Source: ARC from Zest Books for review purposes as part of blog tour.
Profile Image for Bella.
296 reviews36 followers
November 12, 2012
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

What can I say about Dear Teen Me? Well, first off...where the hell was this book when I was a teen? Oh right! A few of the authors were going through their "things" at the very same time- and some weren't even born yet. ;) Nonetheless, I really could've used a book like this back then. I found it helpful even now. I think it's really important kids understand they are not alone- in any given situation. Someone else is going through whatever it is you're going through- or has. You really can learn from other people's experiences and mistakes. You always have choices. And most importantly...YOU can always make a change.

Why did I like Dear Teen Me? For several reasons. 1. It gives teens hope. 2. You get to see where people you love and admire came from- and OUT OF. 3. It's filled with excellent advice. 4. It can help you understand and relate to other teens. You might be able to help someone else out. Maybe even save a life. 5. It's a wonderfully format, laced with humor, fun graphics, quizzes and pictures of your favorite authors from their teens years. (We ALL had bad hair. I'm just sayin. ;)

This was a tear-jerker. From beginning to end. While none of the situations exactly mirrored mine, the feelings they provoked from the authors were much the same....INSECURITY. LOST. ALONE. SCARED. INTROVERTED. RIDICULED. UGLY. AN OUTCAST. A NOBODY. These are feelings most... if not all, kids feel at one time or another. Many throughout their young years. It does help to know others have been where you are and not only survived, but THRIVED.

Though there are SO many I could choose, here are a couple of quotes that really stood out to me:

"..as soon as you stop being quiet, as soon as you stop hiding, and hiding who you are, things will change." ~ Keeping Quiet, Mariko Tamaki

"Nevertheless, it's going to be awhile...Before you understand that you were there that day, you were one of the players, but the story wasn't about you at all."~ This Is Not Your Story,Saundra Mitchell

And my favorite:

"Please don't worry. You worry enough as it is. All these seemingly wrong turns are actually leading you in the right direction. All those things you want to achieve are just ahead of you, so don't you dare stop reaching for them. They're closer than you realize, and if you stop, if you give up and give in, then all that struggle will have been wasted." ~ 9 Things You Need To Know, Robin Benway

So... without getting into what I endured, and what I put myself through, here's what I would write in my own letter:

You were never really alone. You were and are talented... in many ways. YOU ARE LOVED. Don't let anyone or anything discourage you or stomp on your dreams...they are within your grasp- if you'd only reach out. Don't be afraid to ask for help. That one simple thing could've have changed your whole life. You are worthy; of love, friendship, success and happiness. You, and you alone, hold the key to your future. NEVER. GIVE. UP.

And lastly, to YOU, the reader: GO. RUN. GET. THIS. BOOK...for your teen, for a friend, for your neighbor's kid, for someone you know who might benefit, but would never ask for anything, for...yourself. Dear Teen Me is a MUST READ for EVERYONE! It can change lives, and I can't recommend it enough.
103 reviews47 followers
November 17, 2012
Dear Teen Me is the book that keeps on giving. It gives you hope, inspiration, happiness and encouragement. Hours of content that will just fill you with so much emotion.

Authors like Ellen Hopkins, Lauren Oliver, Carrie Jones and so many more share their embarrassing moments, their deepest secrets, the triumphs and their failures. They bare it all to us, for one reason, to tell you that you are not alone. To show you that you are in wonderful company. You have a band of brothers. To know that some of your idols might have gone through the exact same thing as you, will provide you with so much comfort.

Miranda Kenneally and E. Kristin Anderson were inspired to put together this collection after a twitter conversation involving Hanson(yes, that absolutely amazing 90's boy band). I could instantly relate. To say I was obsessed with Hanson would be a big understatement! My bedroom walls were hidden behind dozen of posters, and my love for Taylor still sparks inside my heart. I was a proud fan of Hanson, if loving Hanson was wrong, I didn't want to be right! My mother bought me a Hanson T-Shirt. Yes, she was granted Mother Of The Year award for that one! I loved this T-shirt and wore it pretty much every day. It was 1998 and my brother was taking me to see Strike (AKA All I wanna do) in theatres. Yes, I wore my Hanson T-shirt. From the minute I walked into the theatre, I was taunted by not one, not two but a group of girls. They pointed, they laughed, they shouted "Hanson sucks". I just ignored it. It was to my horror when we walked into our Cinema for the movie, and the same girls were seeing the same movie. They shouted during the previews how stupid I was, and how Hanson is so "gay". My brother had finally had enough, stood up and gave these girls a taste of their own. Yes, there were profanities, but he too earned Brother of the Year award for that! However, I never wore that Hanson shirt out of my house again.

If I could tell my Teen Self something now, it would be to go out and wear that shirt proudly! If you love something or have a passion for something, don't be afraid to express it. And 14 years later, you still love Hanson!

I know, I got a bit sidetracked there but my point is this; Dear Teen Me was a book that I desperately needed back when I was a teen. To know that I was not the only one for many situations. Now that it is out here for the next generation of teens, you need to read this. It needs to be on the school library shelves. This book is here for you. Please do not give up the opportunity to read it. This is a must read for everyone. Whether you are a teenager now, or you once were. I cannot express enough how much this book affected me. It was truly a pleasure to read!
Profile Image for Ashley.
499 reviews87 followers
October 28, 2012
First off I like to say how the idea of such a book is just fantastic. I would definitely recommend to all YA to read it, especially for those who like to read Chicken Soup books. It really remind people that authors are people. I know all these authors are all well-known and if you are a book lover like me, you kind of worship them on this high pedestal of epic awesomeness. But this book really made me brought these authors down to levels where I can connect with them. It made me realize that their lives were not perfect, and that they went through stuff too and many far more difficult than what I am going through. It really was an eye opener.

The book included all these issues teenagers face and I personally connected to all of them even though I didn't have personal experiences with most. It related to me and probably many others on many different levels. It is like even though you might not have experienced the exact same thing but you either knew someone who did or you personally went through something similar. What's more was that the book was not all "depressing". There were many parts that were hilarious and fun. It really reminded me how life is not always poopiness and dark thunderclouds, there are magic and rainbows everywhere too.

I am currently in the stages between being an adolescent and an adult. I really kind of get to see the spectrum of being able to relate to recent events in my life but also reflect back to my high school, YA life. I know that this book will help me and so many others in the future. So every time I might feel depressed, stressed, sad, or any negative emotions, I will just go to this book and see how these authors are all survivors in their own way and I will know that I will, and am a survivor. I really hope that in the not so distant future there will be more Dear Teen Me with even more authors. Dear Teen Me was strong, heart-breaking, and bold. A definite must read!
Profile Image for Book Whales .
238 reviews28 followers
November 11, 2012
Originally posted @ Book Whales

First of all, I’m not really a non-fiction type of reader but this book became my first ever from the genre. I enjoyed it so much. I even brought this book to work which is a no no. I save people’s lives; the fact that I’m reading it during my shift is bad! But this book had completely taken my stress away. I’m in my early twenties; I’m not a teen any more. This book made me a bit nostalgic.

I only know few authors from Dear Teen Me, and I got to know new writers there too. I find myself laughing, smiling and sad in reading their letters. The array of stories made this book much more interesting. I was never bored. I also enjoyed being transferred to the 80’s and early 90’s. Those crazy hairstyles and 80’s outfits made me ask my mom if she has a photo with that herself.

Dear Teen Me is unique, fun, and original. You have to have this on your shelf.

Overall, this book is a keeper. If you like seeing your favorite authors through their own perspectives, then you will like this book.

Profile Image for Lauren.
1,020 reviews102 followers
October 29, 2012
I've been a frequent follower of the Dear Teen Me website since its start. Therefore, when I heard about the Dear Teen Me book I was beyond excited! I couldn't wait to see what letters and other fun tidbits they would include. Luckily, it was everything I expected, and lots more.

Let me list the reasons why I LOVED it:

(1) The format: I loved the way they presented each letter with the letter itself as well as a picture of the author as a teen and their bio. It was cute, and I just adored all the colors. It made reading the book a very enjoyable experience.
(2) The selection of authors/letters: I've seen some of the letters included on the website, but the majority were brand new to me! I loved the variety in them from the funny ones to the sad ones to the heartwarming ones...there was just about every category featured.
(3) The Q and A feature: LOVED all the embarrassing moments/first jobs!
(4) New authors: A lot of the authors I hadn't heard about before, I made a mental note to find out more about them and their books! :)

In all, the Dear Teen Me anthology is an heartwarming and pitch perfect addition to the YA lit world. Best of all, teens as well as adults will be able to find themselves in these letters! :)
Profile Image for Jodie.
202 reviews150 followers
October 29, 2012
The idea of writing a letter to your teen self is a wonderful idea. If only I could've done this and learned from the very letter that I addressed to myself... So many times you come across teens that "know" everything. Wait, I think that's all teens! And truth is, I probably wouldn't have even listened to myself. Reading Dear Teen Me brought up a very wide range of emotions. I found letters that I could cope with, letters containing mad humor, and letters with deep and heartfelt thoughts and suggestions. Reading letters by authors that you admire is way freaking fabulous in itself. The idea is genius and I loved every page and every story. I found things I assumed I would, and found things I never would've imagined. Deep thoughts, and heartfelt emotions. Going back through time and trying to encourage yourself to make better choices or to prepare yourself better for whats to come. If only, or get ready, or just listen... So many things can be said. So many things I wish I could've said to myself. But the truth is, I was so stubborn, I don't think I would've listened. And I really should've. I really wish I would've.
Profile Image for Hollowspine.
1,422 reviews31 followers
August 20, 2014
I reserved this book from the library thinking it would be interesting to read authors letters to themselves as teenagers, I thought perhaps it might give me some insight into teenage lives, but I found most of the letters...a bit dull. If I had looked more closely at the contents before reserving the book I would have realized that I had not read a single one of the contributing authors.

I thought that I read enough teen lit that there would be at least a couple whom I would recognize, but sadly it was not true. I had not only not read these authors, but with only a few exceptions will most likely not read anything by them in the future.

I think that I was not really the right audience for this piece of work. I was annoyed when the writers wouldn't 'spoil' the future for their past selves and therefore left out what sounded like interesting stories. I was bored when the letters talked of the typical teenage dramas and in-jokes between past and future populars.
Profile Image for Lana.
1,063 reviews
February 10, 2017
"Life isn't about finding the one thing you're good at and never doing anything else; it's about exploring yourself and finding out who you really are on your own terms and in your own way.
Letter: Just be yourself! by: Stephanie Pellegrin"

Pick an issue. Any issue that you struggled with or are struggling with during your teenage years. Have one in mind? Good. You will find at least one author that experienced something similar to yourself. Almost anything that I could think of, any topic had a place in this book. And although every entry turned out positive (especially the ones centred on self harm, abuse and suicide), almost all the letters felt a bit depressing. I wouldn't have wanted to read this in one sitting, even though I could. A few chapters in between other books were more than enough. I definitely liked some letters more than others but it was nevertheless enjoyable to read about the teenage years of some of my favourite authors!
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,403 reviews462 followers
July 17, 2014
Tempting though it may be I am not going to extrapolate from these letters, not to authors at large, not to anything. This is a collection of letters from mostly still quite young authors, offering advice, encouragement, support, and insight to their younger selves. Everyone had bears to cross, some were finding love, others were bad hairstyles, some were alcoholic, absent, or abusive parents. For all of these writers, it did get better: they found their voices, their people, their partners, their safety, their recovery, their looks, whatever. Some advice is general, some incredibly specific, and a fair few offer glimpses of joys to come.

An excellent reminder that no matter what our problems are, we are not alone. And no one thinks high school is a high point.

Library copy.
Profile Image for Cathe Fein Olson.
Author 4 books18 followers
December 17, 2012
As a high school librarian, I was excited to read Dear Teen Me so I could share it with my students, especially as many of my favorite authors were included in the collection. I found the book just so-so, however. I was hoping for more advice for teens but this seemed more authors just summarizing events in their lives, and many were like private messages understand only to the author. While many of the events were of interest to teens, the short treatment didn't allow the reader to be really pulled into their stories. A few letters with universal messages stood out to me, such as Riley Carney's letter to stick out high school and not give up her dream of writing; and Charles Benoit's eventual success at remaking himself. The Q and A sections were enjoyable as well.
Profile Image for Estelle.
862 reviews80 followers
October 25, 2012
Wow. The whole time I was reading this I was constantly thinking of friends that might get a kick out of this too. An amazing collection of stories that have the ability to make you feel comforted and hopeful, even when the going gets tough.

Even the bios were fun to read... and I probably have about 100 books to add to my TBR because so many of these authors are new to me.

I definitely could see high school kids getting a kick out of something like this. It could even fit into the college environment for great discussions and writing exercises. (Because, gee, it is hard to write these letters and pinpoint ONE thing.)
Profile Image for Erica.
1,271 reviews677 followers
October 22, 2012
This was such a neat book to read. I can easily say this is my favorite anthology I've ever read. I loved reading all the different letters. I laughed, I cried, and sat there thinking "awwww" to some of them. This is one of those books I want to shove into the hands of some teens I know who are struggling, so they can see that things do get better and how some of the things that seem like the biggest deal in the world end up not being so or may even have a positive effect in the future. The pages simply flew by, I couldn't stop reading all the different letters. Dear Teen Me is one of those books everyone should read!
Profile Image for Maison Moonchild.
205 reviews10 followers
October 16, 2012
I read an ARC copy on Netgalley.

I loved this. I wish there was something like this out when I was a teen. As a teen the only book that was remotely similar was Go Ask Alice. I love that this book covers so many different issues, and makes you feel like you're not alone. This should definitely be assigned reading for all teens in schools. It is a book that every reader will benefit from.
Profile Image for Gabrielle Carolina.
1,183 reviews158 followers
October 29, 2015
If there is ever a Dear Teen Me 2 I want to be included! I'm putting that out in the universe right now.

It is amazing how many authors share a similar, discouraging, origin story.

Makes me want to reach my hands out through the years, "Hold on little fighter(s) it's all about to be brighter!"
Profile Image for Jessica Burkhart.
32 reviews18 followers
July 29, 2012
I was lucky enough to contribute to this anthology. I can't wait to read the other essays and am so grateful to be part of it!
Profile Image for Sara Kocek.
Author 4 books16 followers
July 26, 2013
This book is addictive. Once I read one essay, I couldn't stop--I had to read them all! I loved the mix of letters included. A great read.
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