I love YA. I love representing YA manuscripts and interacting with the YA writing community online. But more than that, I am representative of a huge portion of the YA reading audience. Because YA book buyers fall (mostly) into two categories: fifteen year old girls and those of us who still feel fifteen at heart.

I love reading YA. Those firsts are moments I love reliving, because I still feel fifteen. (And I’m definitely not). But I taught high school for six years, and it’s hard to grow up when you’re surrounded by those tumultuous emotions, that whirlwind where everything feels like it’s Life or Death, like this might be the Most Important Moment of your life.

But thankfully I’ve gained a few insights since I actually was 15. And I’ve seen going around, first on twitter and now on several blogs, letters or advice to your teenage self.

I have to say I can’t really think anything I’d do differently if I suddenly had the chance to go back. Okay, well maybe a couple things. But through all that drama (and oh, there WAS drama), I don’t have regrets.

And even if my future and older self came to give me advice when I was in high school, I would have scoffed at it. (I was one of those teenagers who Knew Everything, trust me, and I wasn’t going to listen to anyone, let alone myself).

But here’s my top five anyway.

5. It’s the little things that make you feel alive: leave your windows open, walk barefoot, eat dessert first, stay up to see the sunrise, buy yourself flowers, change your hair color often, and laugh as loud as you want.

4. One day that obsessive personality and hardcore perfectionism will serve you well, but focus them. Reading Cry the Beloved Country to the point of memorization is probably not the best use of your time.

3. It doesn’t matter how pretty the guy is - it matters that he’s nice to you.  A swoonworthy smile, a six pack, and chiseled hip lines don't ever make him less of an ass.

2. You'll never have another teacher like Mrs. Hall - she really is that awesome.  But it doesn't matter.  The written word, books, and Lucky by Alice Sebold will save your life.

1. What you think of yourself is the only thing that matters.

**And yes, these are authentic high school photos**

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Kristina Fugate said...

This is a great post! It makes me feel all nostalgic for my freshman year. The drama was scandalous, but it was well worth it. I made some really awesome memories that year.

Thanks for sharing :)

Emilia Plater said...

That last one is something I'd love to tell my 15-year-old self, too. (But she'd be like PSSHH) Crazy what 2 years can bring :D This post is awesome!! And you look adorable in those pics, hehe <3

Dan said...

I'd only have one word for my fifteen-year-old self:

Microsoft. :)

Kate Larkindale said...

I still feel fifteen too. It freaks me out sometimes when I look in the mirror and don't see a fifteen year old looking back at me.

Kate Hart said...

OMG, high school Suzie is too cute for words.

Kara said...

Looove #3 :D

Lindsay said...

Love this! =] #4 made me laugh.

Meredith Barnes said...

Great post, Suz. We love you!!

Bast said...

If I could go back and talk to my 15 year old self, he wouldn't listen. Instead, he spend all his time trying to figure out time travel.

Liked your list though.

Ariane said...

It scares me that Lucky will save you :( I hope you were okay, when you were a teen. That book is a tough savior.

Great advice though. I wish I could tell my younger self similar things.

Unknown said...

I loved this post:
I understood #3 then.
Needed to know reading less might have been a good idea.
Would have loved to have done everything on #5 then rather than ten years later.

Romance, Rumours and Rogues said...

Great post, Suzie, making me feel very nostalgic!

Unknown said...

You are about the cutest thing ever. Just sayin'. *love* those pics.

Mackenzie Brady said...

COACH BOB!!!! haha loved the pictures.