Rather than attempting to be a comprehensive, overbearing, ‘cover to cover fix’ for all teen problems, author Lucie Hemmen has chosen to focus in on 10 key problems teen girls face. The use of young adults to recount the things that did and didn’t work for them paired with ‘exercises’ at the back work together to make a friendly tone that doesn’t talk down to teens. As a parent, I found the book to be quite good. For my 12 year old, who is about transition into middle school from 6th grade, she found it useful to identify areas/issues that could become very problematic in coming years. The results of doing the CBT-themed exercises were surprising.
The book breaks down into 10 ‘tips’: Know what you bring to the party, Leave your comfort zone, Increase contact, Nurture connections, Weed out negative social habits, Communicate through conflict, Communicate for closeness, Be your best self in social media and texting, Be more and think less, Practice balance.
All topics are rooted in CBT (cognitive behavior therapy): being mindful rather than instinctual as well as writing down thoughts/ideas. As such, there is a lot of ‘extra’ work in each chapter of actually writing things such as “positive thoughts today’ or “qualities my friends like in me”. Fortunately, they aren’t daunting and written well to be interesting.
Overall, the focus is on being confident and true to oneself as well as developing positive interpersonal skills (e.g., being involved and having great friends). This is more for your average teen girl rather than a very troubled one having issues with sex and drugs at a young age. It’s more about building than fixing, in that respect.
My daughter and I have read other CBT type books but I feel this one has a great balance of applicability to brevity. It doesn’t try to cover too much and isn’t so wordy that it talks down to teens. The author cleverly uses examples from older girls to make a lot of the points and then summarizes them to drive the points home. The exercises turn that information into direct applicability to each teen so the concepts are no longer general or nebulous.
In all, both my daughter and I found the book to be very helpful and useful. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.