Filtering self help through a pop-culture lens, motivational speaker Shipp explores the challenges and situations teens encounter in the course of their adolescence. The guide goes from dealing with backstabbing friends to pursuing dreams to career advancement and touches on health, wealth and more. There’s a phony sort of hyperbole that dominates the text: The author’s attempts to emphasize the need for constant examination end up portraying adults and everyday life as corrupt. Mentors earn a grudging respect, but only after the author works to scare teens into believing every adult is out to create carbon copies of themselves. Constant straw-man arguments cheapen the advice and suggest that easy decisions and solutions are possible. Placing teens into either/or scenarios denies them the opportunity to push boundaries and explore their limits and hollows out the essential message. Though he employs contemporary references and self-deprecating humor, Shipp obscures his positive message through scare tactics and skewed scenarios. (Nonfiction. YA)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-312-64154-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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There are some funny moments, particularly in the simple black-and-white cartoons of a girl and boy that accompany the text...



Jokes about cheese logs abound in this humorous but sometimes-belabored etiquette guide ostensibly aimed at teens.

Following an introduction that defines what makes a person seem like a dick, seven chapters address situations ranging from initiating romantic relationships to behaving responsibly at after-office get-togethers. An uneasy line is straddled in terms of its intended age range. Readers are dutifully exhorted to make sure they wear proper attire to school dances: “Most schools have dress codes for dances. Read them carefully!” Yet there’s also advice on how to politely use a coffee shop as your office if you’re working from home. Further, a section on safety and manners at parties seems at times to employ the euphemistic term “sugary beverages” for alcohol and suggests “If you are buzzing on sugar or if someone spiked the punch, DO NOT DRIVE.” This cagey approach to the topic of teen drinking is confusing at best and at worst, may strike readers as condescending.

There are some funny moments, particularly in the simple black-and-white cartoons of a girl and boy that accompany the text throughout. However, as etiquette goes, there’s not much that is new here and a real question of whom this is for. (Nonfiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-936976-02-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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Most valuable here is the explicit, intimate, and informative nature of each writer's words



Seventeen women write about losing their virginity in this work of nonfiction.

Editor Keyser begins with a compelling if didactic preface that acknowledges the mixed messages in mainstream culture about sex and implores young women to be informed and purposeful in making their own sexual decisions. Each candid narrative is then presented in its author's own style. A trans woman describes her lovely and affirming first time with a trans man by saying, "It felt as though our genitals had switched places." In startling contrast, another woman describes her disappointing encounter as a first-year college student by using the slang term "bush" for her pubic hair and remembering that her obnoxious hookup partner commented that "he'd never fucked a girl with a full one before." In between each memoir, Keyser writes a very brief commentary on the preceding and proceeding story—segues that seem unnecessary, as readers will be able to see their own parallels and differences in each of these varied experiences from writers who fall along a wide range of sexual orientations. A conversation between Keyser and a teen librarian concludes the collection, along with a solid list of online and print resources for teens and their parents.

Most valuable here is the explicit, intimate, and informative nature of each writer's words . (Collective memoir. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-58270-590-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Beyond Words/Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015

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