Blog Tour: Dear Teen Me

I’m really exited to be a part of the Dear Teen Me blog Tour.  I’m going to share a short review and then share a letter I wrote to my teen self.

Edited by Miranda Kenneally and E. Kristin Anderson

Zest Books
October 30, 2012
ISBN 978-1-9369762-1-8

Summary (from GoodReads):  Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 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.

Thoughts:  I love the idea of this book.  I found myself nodding along with many of these letters, recognizing my own teen experiences in them.  All of the letters are unique, because they are all deeply personal.  They are broken up with a few letters written as comics, two authors who were and are best friends and wrote their letters to each other, and fun Q&A pages where the contributors answer questions about their teen experience.  I was familiar with some of the authors going in, which made reading their letters interesting, and there are many, many authors whose books I want to read now that I’ve read their letters.

Hands down favorite line, that I think anyone, regardless of age can relate to: “It’s so easy to be dissatisfied with your life, to wish for and plan for better things, but take a moment to look at the things you already have.  They’re pretty awesome.” -Tera Lynn Childs

Dear Teen Me,
You deserve to be happy. That doesn’t mean anybody owes you anything. It means that you need to find joy in everything, where ever you are, regardless of what you have or don’t have. 
If there is one thing I wish you learned sooner it is how to be alone.  Contrary to popular belief… you’re an introvert and once you start spending time alone, you’re the happiest you’ve ever been.  Go see that band that none of your friends like.  Get in your car and take a road trip even though nobody wants to go.

The jury is still out on your decision making process: will this make a good story?  At least you’re consistent… and interesting.

Right now, you feel like you’re going to live forever. You won’t. Try your damnedest to get stuck with nothing but laugh lines.
Steph… and here is a camera phone pic of my senior yearbook photo.


Zest Books Dear Teen Me book page


Miranda Kenneally is the author of the contemporary YA novels Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker (just published), and Things I Can’t Forget (Spring 2013). Miranda is also the co-editor, with E. Kristin Anderson, of Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (Zest Books), and is co-creator of the Dear Teen Me website.

E. Kristin Anderson, in addition to co-editing Dear Teen Me and co-creating its eponymous website, is a writer and poet who has been published in dozens of literary journals. She is also an assistant editor at Hunger Mountain for their YA and Children’s section.

Zest Books is an award-winning publisher of smart and edgy titles that focus on the colorful chaos of teen life. These nonfiction books cover timely topics in creative ways by incorporating solid life advice, practical how-to instruction, and humorous commentary. Zest Books’ catalogue includes 97 Things to Do Before You Finish High School, Where’s My Stuff: The Ultimate Teen Organizing Guide, and Scandalous! 50 Shocking Events You Should Know About So You Can Impress Your Friends. In Fall 2012, Zest Books launches a new line of memoirs and first-person accounts, and Dear Teen Me is the first book in this new line. Zest Books is distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Learn more at


  1. Olivia (The Reading Enchantress) says

    I’ve heard so much about Dear Teen Me and while I knew the gist of it- I’m really glad to get to read your review. It sounds like a great book and I love Tera Lynn Child’s quote, but I also really love what you wrote, “Right now, you feel like you’re going to live forever. You won’t. Try your damnedest to get stuck with nothing but laugh lines.” That’s pure awesome right there, Steph! and a great quote to live by.

  2. Jenny says

    I think I’d enjoy this one. I loved your own letter too. I think all teenagers need to hear something similar. I sure did…heck, I still do!

  3. Bittner says

    See now you’ve got me thinking what kind of letter I would need to write to myself. Mine would probably be an angry “I blame you for all my problems”, but I hope it would turn into an “I’m sorry I’ve hated you for so long” letter…

    I might need to do this exercise and post it to my other blog.

  4. Christina says

    Oh man, I wish my young self had been wise to the fact that I don’t like people all that much, so that I could relish all my time alone instead of feeling lonely.

    You posted a pic! Of course, I would too, if I looked that good back then.

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