What It’s Really like to Be a Teenager

Today I have a book that shares what it’s really like to be a teenager.  While Gossip Girl made for great TV, this book looks at the actual day to day concerns a girl faces as she moves from middle school to high school.  Sofia is a great kid who is dealing with some real pain, but she has good friends and the adults around her are doing their best to make her life as successful as possible.  But that doesn’t mean it will always be easy!

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Title: Speed of Lifespeed of life what it's really like to be a teenager

Author: Carol Weston

Target: Grades 6-9

Series: No

What this book is about:

This book profiles a year in the life of Sofia Wolfe, a fourteen year old at a private girls school in NYC. Her mother has died and she just can’t seem to fully move on, while everything around her is returning to normal. She anonymously seeks out the advice of a columnist “Dear Kate” who has visited her school, and Kate’s advice is helpful and heartwarming. However, when “Dear Kate” starts dating Sofia’s father, awkward is the name of the game. Her father is moving on, now can she?

Why I love this book:

  • First off I loved this author’s other series, Ava and Pip because I feel it accurately captures the way girls feel and speak. This book has the same quality. Yes, “Dear Kate” shares how hard it can be to put in a tampon, that you can get a zit “down there” and that girls do think about how far to take things with boys. Nothing is graphic or inappropriate, but I would have loved a book that didn’t hide from some of the embarrassing stuff I wondered about when I was younger.
  • Sofia and her friends are kids you are rooting for. They all have issues but they are genuinely nice and you want the best for them. The adults are flawed but loving and present, just like real life. If there is one character that may have been a bit of a fantasy it is Sofia’s first boyfriend. He just seemed a little too self aware for a sophomore in high school!
  • While the death of Sofia’s mother is the overall thread which pulls the story together, the main focus of the book is just growing up. So much can change in a year, which feels like a lifetime to kids, but the blink of eye to parents.

Who this book is for:

This is a great book for girls who like realistic fiction with a little sad thrown in. This book actually reminded me to some extent of We Are All Made of Molecules, but this book is more realistic without the quirkiness.  The timing of when girls read this book is the key, however. There are some girls who will readily relate to this book in 6th grade, and other girls who will not begin to relate to it until 9th. Timing is everything here. If you have a girl who is wondering about boys and their own development then the timing is right. If they aren’t quite there yet, hold off.

Final thoughts:

There was really nice advice on real problems girls are facing that never felt preachy. I think the author’s experience writing an advice column for Girls Life, played a key role in that success!

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Speed of Life.   A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.