High school is a place where many teens, like myself, have felt like popularity outshines the importance of school. Teens often believe that high school is some type of hierarchy like the films, High School Musical or Bring It On. But, being a teen is much more complex than having hundreds of followers on Instagram, Jordans, and nice outfits. Teens go through so much peer pressure and struggle for acceptance, especially in this generation, where keeping up with the new “wave” is critical, falling in love for the first time can end one of two ways, and fighting to make a foundation for our futures is do-or-die. It’s not all about impressing others either. Teens deal with so many personal things like; having one parent or not having parents at all, dealing with their sexual preference or acceptance for their true character, and praying to get into college by putting together a breathtaking transcript. Sometimes we are misunderstood and our opinions seem to fall through the cracks because we are on the horizon of being adults but still children. I have found answers to these problems and my own, through books about coming-of-age. Sometimes reading these types of books bring me more resolutions than my parents, siblings, or friends can advise. I would love to recommend some books to you that have helped me, in hopes that they will help you. So take note, you, on the other side of this screen.
A Teen’s Escape 101
I have always been the high schooler who was very into sports and was known by almost everyone at school, which partially made my experience fun. But, I know for many, this is not the case. Some teens are the musicians, STEAM geniuses, or the socially quiet ones. No matter what you might fall under, just know you are unique because you are you. I was not always the student-athlete. Freshman year I was a quiet person who was too isolated to even ask my teachers questions. This is all a part of growing confidence and character. The more you involve yourself, the better communication skills you will gain. This was one of my favorite books to read when I was a freshman in high school. It's filled with great advice and is one of the most entertaining ones I have ever read. Although this book might make you cry, you’ll find positivity in what you read and hopefully apply it to personal situations.
Here is another book I believe will really change you and the way you perceive love. It's about the friendship of two girls named Annie and Liza who meet in the museum after one is enchanted by the other’s voice while she sings grazing through the halls. Soon they become more involved, learning about each other’s personal lives, taking trips around the city, and growing intimate with one another. This book has been known to be banned by schools, probably because it’s so raw. It really shows what life is like for young teens that are part of the LGBTQIA community, and how feeling accepted has barriers. Coming of age is not just about approaching adulthood, it’s about learning to be, think, and react like a mature adult. Coming of age is also not about growing facial hair, getting your first tattoo, or doing things your parents wouldn't like. It's registering to vote, getting your first job, learning how to treat people, and learning how to handle situations the appropriate way. Here’s a word of advice to you that took me some time to understand myself. Love as far as relationships go, are two beings that share a bond stronger than they do with anyone else and this is a bond only they understand. We are taught that the perfect image of love is a man and woman, but what if everyone looked the same? If you find yourself often judging people who love the same gender, this is the perfect book for you to feel the loving vibe that these two girls share and make you consider the fact that everyone deserves to be happy.
Written by Diversity & Inclusion Apprentice, Brianna Sandoval
Brianna was one of seven teens chosen as a 2018 Diversity and Inclusion Apprentice. She spent all summer and part of the fall at the Pacoima and Junipero Serra libraries learning the ropes and adding her flair. Brianna's passions include getting good information and literature into every teens' hands and helping others through their angst.