Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dear Teen Me: A Letter to My Younger Self

Well it keeps on going, but it does stop here today.
Was that lame? Probably, but that's me!

How many times have you looked back on your teenage years and cringed, wishing you could offer your younger self some guidance? That is exactly the inspiration behind DEAR TEEN ME: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves (Zest Books, October 30, 2012) the book by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally, in which nearly 70 Young Adult authors -- including Ellen Hopkins, Nancy Holder, Lauren Oliver, Tom Angleberger and more -- write letters to their teenage selves. (Learn more at

Inspired by the blog of the same name (, these heartfelt letters offer advice and guidance for today's teens and cover issues they face everyday, such as losing a friend, diversity, poverty, crushes, and eating disorders. A mix of funny and heartbreaking letters, notes, and graphic entries, the Dear Teen Me anthology shows readers of all ages that they are not alone.

I've been a huge fan of Dear Teen Me since the letters first started appearing online. They were usually the first posts that I'd go to in my Reader Feed. Reading Dear Teen Me was like reading the daily paper for other people, the day didn't start without it. I loved these posts because they were completely relatable. I identified with so many authors in the horrors and highs of their teen years. But what I connected to the most was the authors who allowed themselves to become vulnerable. Many of them shared their private and personal stories. Stories that some people wouldn't even share with their closest friends. Many times I was brought to tears by their courage for sharing this with the blog readers.

So when I heard that Dear Teen Me was becoming a book, I knew that it was something that I had to have. And with this blog tour, it is something that I get to be a part of. Reading the authors' letters would always make me consider what I would want to say to my teen self. Would I have a list of do's and don'ts? Would I want to warn the younger me of any trouble that may come ahead? Would it be serious? Light-hearted? I'd actually drafted the letter a few times in my mind, never saying the same thing because there was just too much I wanted to say. Now I don't have to wonder. I've taken the step and wrote the letter.

Hey you,

It’s me. The older you. Are you surprised to be getting a letter from me? I think about you a lot. All the time really. You inspire me daily- because even as a teen, you know who you are and it has helped me be who I am now. I’m sure you’re rolling your eyes (a habit that’s never broken), but you better believe it. You’ve got a good head on your shoulders. You’ve surrounded yourself with some great friends who like to have a good time, and even though they may tease you relentlessly for being the cautious one - the voice of reason, they love you for it.

But I need to tell you, don’t be so cautious. Take some chances. You are the only person holding you back. Step into the spotlight. You are fantastic. Dream big. Dream bigger. I know you’re worried that you will never know more than your small town and can’t wait to get out. You will get out, but not in the ways you imagine. You don’t move far away (that yearbook prediction proves false), but you will travel. You will go to college. Remind me again why you didn’t apply to any colleges your senior year? In the end that doesn’t matter, but don’t limit yourself. You are the only person holding you back.

Another thing, and hear me out, DON’T be afraid to have your first kiss. Don’t run away (I can’t believe you ran away) from that sweet boy at the beach you wants to give you that kiss. He’s nice. He’s cute. And if it doesn’t go well, don’t worry. You’re leaving for home in a few hours and will never see him again. And a couple of months later when that other boy leans in to kiss you at the end of the double-date that didn’t start out as a date, kiss him. He may not be the boy who you want to be your first kiss, but you need the practice. Because when you do have that first kiss with the boy you’ve been chasing for months, the boy who you want to be your first kiss, it is terrible. AND. IT’S. ALL. YOUR. FAULT. And there is no more kissing that boy. Just to let you know.

And just one more thing, most important of all, keep writing in your diaries and journals. Don’t stop after your sophomore year just when things really start to get interesting. I don’t want to spoil anything for you by telling you everything that happens, but let me just say there are some really fun times ahead. There are some cute boys, some not so good for you boys, and outrageous adventures with your friends (ok, so maybe you did take a few chances). These events inspire me. And I'm ready to write about them. Don’t worry I’ll dress them up and change the names to protect the innocent (and the guilty). And while my memory is good at this much older age, I’m going to need those journals.   

Until my next letter (yes, that was a warning, there will be more),


The Dear Teen Me Tour continues until November 16th. If you haven't had a chance to visit the previous stops, you go HERE for a complete list.  There are a variety of posts - reviews, top-ten lists, contributing author posts, giveaways, and more  
Dear Teen Me letters. 

You can catch up on all things Dear Teen Me here:

Zest Books website:
Dear Teen Me site:
Dear Teen Me Twitter:
E. Kristin Anderson Facebook:
E. Kristin Anderson Twitter:

1 comment:

  1. I never knew you ran away from your first kiss! And you don't have to be the nicest of the mean girls club ;)


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