Written entirely by teens, TeenInk uniquely captures the essence of what it means to be a teenager. This collection of prose and poetry represents the honest, forthright and compelling moments that define their lives.
Pieces for this book were chosen from a base of more than 300,000 submissions to TeenInk magazine. In addition, more than 3,800 students in 42 states helped evaluate the final selections for the book.
The power of TeenInk lies in its writers-all teenagers themselves. Their insightful accounts deal with real issues that will resonate with their peers. Their voices reverberate with the emotional highs and lows of the teenage years. These young authors produce fresh, creative, honest, and always compelling words that make TeenInk the standard for teen expression.
Every teen reader will see themselves and their worlds reflected here. In addition, parents, grandparents, teachers, and other caring adults will relish these unique and inspired pieces.
As the voice of teens, the book focuses on their issues: Friends (relationships and trying situations); Families (love and conflicts); Fitting In (peer pressure and prejudice); Challenges (facing obstacles); Loss (of family and friends); Memories (reflecting earlier times); Love (dealing with relationships); Heroes (parents, teachers, mentors); and Creativity (fiction and poetry).
Subsequent books in this extraordinary series will focus on individual topics and explore in even greater depth the extraordinary heart-felt feelings and opinions of today's teens.
About the Author
TeenInk book is the product of more than 300,000 student submissions sent to TeenInk magazine during the past eleven years. This nonprofit monthly publication is read by 3.5 million teens in thousands of schools nationwide. Since its inception, TeenInk (formerly The 21st Century) has published more than 25,000 students. All the pieces in this book are drawn from this wellspring of prose, poetry, art and photography. Stephanie Meyer, editor of the book and magazine, holds masters' degrees in education and social work and has dedicated her life to the welfare of youth. The Meyers have two children. All royalties from the TeenInk books will go to The Young Authors Foundation, Inc. (publisher of TeenInk magazine) to expand reading, writing and publishing opportunities for young adults nationwide
Read an Excerpt
Granted by Andrew Hammer
"I wish she was dead," I said quietly to my cousin as we stood in his living room watching our mothers talk one late fall day freshmen year. My mom and Aunt Sharon spoke of nothing in particular, simply enjoying each other's company. My mother often embarrassed me, and that day was no exception. I was embarrassed by how she dressed, with her dorky Christmas socks and shirt tucked in all the time. Then there was the way she acted: always so joyful, not realizing what it was like being seen with her. The things she said (and firmly believed) also bothered me, such as "Parents don't expect enough of their children," and "The day I say boys will be boys, you may as well just shoot me."
This was not the first time I felt a strong dislike toward my mother, but it was one of the last. That evening I went home unaware of how much influence my mother had in my life. Nearly a week later, I found out. My parents were disappointed with me and my older brother, Peter. They felt we were making typical teen mistakes and didn't like our choice of hangouts, our clothing that didn't fit and, sometimes, our friends. Most of all they hated our music with its loud banging and screaming.
One night, I became so frustrated with my mother when she threw out my favorite CD that I punched a hole in my wall. I quickly rearranged the furniture so no one would notice. Pulling up to school the next morning, I went through the usual routine. I tried to sit low in the seat of our old beat-up station wagon so no one would recognize me as my mother dropped me off.
I tried to get out as quickly as possible. As I gathered my things my mother said, "Good-bye." I managed to utter, "Bye," as I slipped out of the car.
Not much stands out about that day in school. Just before it was over, however, I do remember glancing out the window at an ambulance speeding down Main Street. It reminded me of my first-grade teacher, a scary, old woman who always made us say a Hail Mary for the person the ambulance was rescuing.
Arriving home with my friend, I found my brother, Peter, watching TV with my little brother, Greg.
"Where's Meta?" I asked, noticing my sister's absence. "Out with all the rest of the big eighth-graders?"
"She and Mom went shopping," Peter replied. I made myself a float and sat down to watch TV.
An hour later we heard the distinct crackle of stones in the driveway. Although I knew it would be my mother, my instinct led me to look outside.
"Andy, who is it?" Peter asked.
"It's a cop. He's just turning around."
Then I realized the cop wasn't backing up. The car door opened.
"He's getting out!"
At first, I worried I was in trouble. Peter and I went to the door to meet the officer. I remained as still as possible and hoped politeness would keep away trouble.
Seeing how slowly he approached, I relaxed a bit. As he reached the door, he took off his hat.
"Is your father home?" he asked.
"No, he's still at work."
His questions came fast, and our responses were delayed as our minds worked hard to determine the reason for his presence.
We turned to each other to answer each simple question. We were too busy trying to put things together to be sure our answers were correct.
"Last name, Hammer?" his voice softened.
"I'm afraid I have some bad news for you. Your mother and sister were involved in a serious car accident. Your sister was taken to Children's Hospital. Your mother didn't make it. I'm sorry."
No one said anything for a second that seemed like hours. Even if words existed for all the emotions I felt, there would be too many to write.
Realizing it was my time for questions, I asked when it had happened.
"At about 3:20." I paused and asked where.
"On Main Street near Connection Drive."
A few more questions followed. We then went to the phone to call my aunt.
"Aunt Sharon, I have somebody here who wants to talk to you," I said, realizing I couldn't tell her and handed the officer the phone.
Her shrill cry of "No, not Laura!" was heard by all, and still resounds in my head.
The officer left. I often wonder why he left us, three kids, after telling us this news. We were alone. Greg was still watching TV in the living room. Peter took the job of informing him. I remember glancing in to see Peter kneeling in front of Greg's chair, Greg's face in his chest. Both were crying.
I never did cry that day, although I should have. As people flocked to the house, I was continuously told I must not cry+ I needed to be strong. A man I barely knew drove to my father's workplace to tell him. No one in the family appreciated this.
The following days were bad: three wakes, the burial, the funeral. Each wore away at me. I was angry at the people who surrounded me during these events. They weren't thinking. They said and did what came to their minds, which left me to decipher many mixed messages and unbelievable theories. The worst included a woman who claimed she knew of my mother's death months before it happened; a Catholic priest who told me my mother was in heaven, as if he had forgotten Catholics believe in purgatory; and a conversation about how seriously injured my mother had been.
I was supposed to deal with all this and remain strong in the process. Mom's death was the worst experience of my life. It caused more family problems than any fight Mom and I ever could have had. It caused more pain than any embarrassing thing Mom ever could have done. It caused more frustration than any teenage mistake I could ever make. And, if I had known this ahead of time, I never would have wished for it.
(c)2000. All rights reserved. Reprinted from TeenInk compiled by Stephanie H. Meyer and John Meyer. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.
I felt so many feelings when I read this book. It truly did touch my mind and soul. This is a wonderful book for any audience.
Usually i'm not a real big reader I can't stand to read. When I started reading this book though I couldn't put it back down. I liked this book a lot why? because I can relate to it so much. There are certain things that have happened in my life and when I read these stories that these teens wrote it helped me deal with some of my own problems. I definently recommend this book to
For me this book is almost like a really good movie. You go from laughing at one point to crying the next. I think what makes this book so good is the writers. Teens are the best writers when it comes to there opinion. We have so many opinion about many different things and everyone's view is different and this book does a wonderful way of showing all those different views. I also think that if you're a straight-minded person and you read this book it may open your mind to many different views.
Hi this was a good book. The stories were sad. I real can relate with thes story becasue i fell like that some of the times and in the memrios are the sad one like this one i read I Love you Mom or the one about the kid with his perents were dead they were sad the one i cna realte to are the ones in chalges. Good Book
Teen Ink is truly a standout as one of the best collection of writings by young adults ever produced. The one hundred-plus authors and artists in the book are honest and very real, and the compliers of the book do an admirable job allowing teenagers of all stripes to describe the ups and downs of their world through their own words. You'll be shocked at how movingly and clearly teens can express themselves when someone wants to listen . . . Teen Ink is a great gift for teens, families, friends, educators and anyone who wants to witness the future and reflect on the past all at once. A beautiful book, indeed.
If you're thinking this is more Chicken Soup, just with a different title, you're wrong - Teen Ink is better. Despite an unfortunately frivolous cover, the pages inside are brimming with serious talent, quality writing and amazing tales from the heart of the teen years. The variety of topics is quite impressive, so there really is something for everyone. If you're wondering what it will be like to be a teen, trying to remember what it was like to be a teen or care at all about the young people of today and the world tomorrow, read Teen Ink, and share it with others. It's an astounding discovery.
Okay, once in a while I pick up a book and just CANNOT put it down. TeenInk is that kind of book. I stayed in my pijamas all day long and just sat in awe reading brilliant and eloquently written words. This is a phenomenal book that will touch the heart of any reader. There is something in here for everyone with which to relate. I could not believe the insight of all the teenage authors. WOW!!! The universality of the emotions displayed in TeenInk's pages is truly eye-opening. I strongly recommend this book for any soon-to-be teen, teenager, parent, educator, or anyone with daily contact with teenagers. This is clearly teenage writing at its finest.
These gripping selections on loss,friendship, challenges, and fitting in are culled from the more than 300,000 submissions received by Teen Ink magazine in the last decade.As a former high school teacher, now the parent of two teens, I found the book riveting in its honesty, immediacy, and quality of writing. With no adult filter between writer and reader, the true experiences yank the reader into the world of today's teens. Teens will consume the dramatic stories faster than french fries. I found the deeply felt outpourings to be sometimes scary, often sad, and always revealing. This book will help me to be a better parent.