And here it is: Dear Teen Me is really, really good. Not only is it a heartening read for any teen who's ever felt horribly alone, embarrassed, trapped, and lost (in other words, all teens, ever), but for fans of the authors in this book, it's like a special piece of fan merchandise. Sure, there's tons of tie-ins for big movies and your favorite boy bands--but where's the love for your favorite authors? Right here, apparently.
It gets repetitive, sure. How many prom-gone-wrong stories and terrible first kisses do you really want to slog through, anyway? But getting insight into the teenaged selves of some of my favorite authors--including Mitali Perkins, Ellen Hopkins, Sean Beaudoin, Caridad Ferrer, Faith Erin Hicks, Tara Kelly, Sarah Ockler, Cheryl Rainfield, and Cynthia Leitich-Smith, to name a few--was definitely worth reading the few letters I didn't like.
And now, in honor of the release of Dear Teen Me, I would like to write my own letter to my earlier teen self:
Dear Maggie, circa June 28th 2012:
Well, it happened. You finally hit bottom. You're checking yourself into the hospital because you can't escape the thoughts of hurting yourself, and you will spend five long days here. On the pad of paper they give you, you write almost 40 longhand pages. You will write this on the first night:
"for the first time in my life i am the sanest person in the room."
Only you're not sure if that's true, because you'd be surprised at how normal crazy can sound after five long days. All you know is that you're stuck here, and that you want out. You're desperate to get back home with your family, to feel okay again.
And I'm here to tell you that dealing with bipolar a long road, but you'll get there. At first you'll feel worse much more than you feel better. You'll be manic and depressed and angry and anxious and sad and scared and a whole host of other things you don't want to be. But you'll get through it. Your life will become better than you ever thought it could be, in so many ways.
This experience will bring your family closer together. It will make you realize how strong you are. It will teach you how to believe in yourself. And most of all, surprisingly, it will heal you.
So don't be afraid. There's so much out there to see.If you liked my poor imitation of what a Dear Teen Me letter could be, or if you're a fan of the website, you should definitely add Dear Teen Me on Goodreads, or find it at IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. Happy reading!