Thursday, July 18, 2013

Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself

You know that proverbial handbook you think every child should get on his/her 13th birthday?  This would be it.

Break These Rules is a collection of essays from authors like Sara Zarr, Gary D. Schmidt and Jennifer Nielsen (who is Skyping with my awesome library teens at the end of August!)  These essays are written to middle-schoolers and high-schoolers on how to approach the "rules" of adolescence. 

This collection is fantastic, encouraging teens to be themselves.  Reminding them they don't have to choose between being a nerd or a jock, that quitting can sometimes be the right choice, and not to fixate on being someone else's (unrealistic) ideal.  There are essays on religion, travel, and figuring out what will work best for you after high school.

Wendy Mass's essay on Daydreaming was (my Mom likes to reference my being in Sarahland...I think it's a pretty fun place, I won't deny liking to go to there).  As a teen, I liked what I liked- even if it wasn't popular- but could've used the reaffirmation of this collection: that it's okay to be yourself.  As my friend once put it- "You're very 'This is what I like! And I hope that's okay with you...' when you should be 'Yeah, this is what I like! and if you don't like it, screw you!"  Sara Zarr's and Gary D. Schmidt's essays on religion hit home a bit, too.  I think anyone reading will relate to the situations and emotions put forth by these authors.

A heartfelt and funny anthology, Break These Rules is a must-read for teens, those who were once teens, and especially- those who were once teens who are currently working with teens...and tweens...and 20-somethings.  I dare you to read it and not feel empowered to go forth and do great things.

Break These Rules is published by Chicago Review Press. Digital ARC provided by NetGalley.
Release Date: 09.01.2013

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