A valuable primer for helping teens cope with adolescence.



A pediatrician offers advice on raising teens in the 21st century.

In this debut parenting book, Abraham focuses on the experiences of children with varied cultural experiences. She addresses the particular needs of expatriates, immigrants, and those with blended cultural backgrounds while also covering the fundamentals of stress, puberty, brain development, and education that apply to all teens. The author—an American born to South Asian parents, married to a German, and based in the Netherlands—draws on a combination of personal experiences, stories of her patients, the results of a survey she conducted, and existing research on child development. The manual is organized thematically, and each chapter opens with representative questions from parents and teens that are answered at the end. Abraham’s topics include devising communication strategies, establishing self-esteem and resilience, dealing with substance abuse and risky behavior, and managing learning disabilities and other neurological conditions. The author is a strong and fluent writer and does an excellent job of using anecdotes to personalize the big-picture subjects explored in the text. The chapter on brain development is particularly well done, combining scientific information about the physiological factors that often lead teens to make poor decisions with strategies for mitigating the effects of impulsiveness and immaturity in real-world situations (“Provide information on issues before they occur. Consider role play to help young people address peer pressure and make smart choices”). An appendix contains the results of Abraham’s survey of parents and teens, and resources for additional reading are provided in each chapter and in the book’s endnotes. Although the work’s title spotlights teens in cross-cultural contexts, much of the volume is more generally applicable to the age group as a whole. The author occasionally mentions issues that are more particular to children who cross between cultures (different definitions of adulthood in home and local cultures; how to maintain strong connections when moving internationally). Readers who are already well versed in the literature of parenting teens will find little new information here, but those looking for an introduction to the genre will find the book a solid guide.

A valuable primer for helping teens cope with adolescence.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9998808-4-2

Page Count: 424

Publisher: Summertime Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.



The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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