DEAR TEEN ME by E. Kristin Anderson


Reflections on Hard Truths, White Lies, and Miraculous Escapes
Age Range: 12 - 18
Email this review


Plodding through this mostly disposable collection of blog posts is claustrophobically tiring, like watching someone else reflected in a hall of mirrors.

The preponderance of young, white, female authors of commercial series fiction may explain the chatty, repetitious content and tone, larded with perishable pop-culture references. The view that blogs and social networks foster petty narcissism is reinforced here as authors reassure their teen selves that they’ll be hotties, win awards and be admitted to their first-choice colleges. Popularity, dating and looks are major themes. Writers congratulate themselves on surviving parental divorce or mean behavior from peers. Reflecting on one’s teens from a vantage point of very few years (one was 18 when she “looked back”) can sound self-congratulatory and pompous—asserting wisdom without having paid the dues of accumulated life experience. Tough personal stories often feel flat—the short form and high concept work against emotional depth. Scattered among the self-reverential messages are a few gems: Joseph Bruchac’s account of how a personal choice became a foundation for self-esteem; Carrie Jones’ refusal to be defined by stigma; Don Tate’s tough love–style straight talk to his messed-up teen self. Michael Griffo, Mike Jung and Mitali Perkins also avoid cute-speak, conveying genuine feeling and the deeper complexity and contradictions of life as it’s lived, not just blogged.

Some gems for readers willing to get out the sieve. (Nonfiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-936976-21-8
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Zest Books
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2012


ChildrenASHFALL by Mike Mullin
by Mike Mullin
ChildrenGODDESS INTERRUPTED by Aimée Carter
by Aimée Carter
ChildrenBITTERBLUE by Kristin Cashore
by Kristin Cashore
ChildrenTHE IMMORTAL RULES by Julie Kagawa
by Julie Kagawa
ChildrenPUSHING THE LIMITS by Katie McGarry
by Katie McGarry


ChildrenDEFENDING TAYLOR by Miranda Kenneally
by Miranda Kenneally
ChildrenJESSE'S GIRL by Miranda Kenneally
by Miranda Kenneally
ChildrenBREATHE, ANNIE, BREATHE by Miranda Kenneally
by Miranda Kenneally
ChildrenTHINGS I CAN'T FORGET by Miranda Kenneally
by Miranda Kenneally


NonfictionLOVE IS A FOUR-LETTER WORD by Michael Taeckens
by Michael Taeckens
ChildrenI CAN’T KEEP MY OWN SECRETS by Rachel Fershleiser
by Rachel Fershleiser
ChildrenPERFECTLY SECRET by Susan Musgrave
by Susan Musgrave
ChildrenTHE ANATOMY OF CURIOSITY by Maggie Stiefvater
by Maggie Stiefvater
ChildrenLOOKS LIKE DAYLIGHT by Deborah Ellis
by Deborah Ellis