Dear Teen Me from author Jenny Han (BURN FOR BURN, FIRE WITH FIRE, THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY)

Teen Jenny!

Teen Jenny!

Dear Teen Me,

First things first, the mocha matte lipstick has got to go. I know you spent $18 on it at Lancôme and it’s your prized possession, but it is not a good look for you.

I’ll tell you what else is not a good look. Pining for that boy. You know the one. He’s bad news. He’s never nice to you in public, and he isn’t even cute! Even now, all these years later, I don’t know what your love for him was all about. What was it about him that kept you so fascinated? He inspired stories and poems and even a short play. What did he do to earn all that?

I’ll tell you a secret from the future—you are not going to marry this boy. He ends up having a drug problem, meeting a girl on the Internet when the Internet was still new, dropping out of college, and running away to live with the girl from the Internet. Then he comes back home, gets a girl pregnant, and is now living with his parents raising his kid and working at his parents’ store.

Grown-up Jenny!

Grown-up Jenny!

Now, I’ll tell you what is a good look. You. You are a good look! You look great! You are not fat, no matter what HE says. In fact, don’t believe anything he says, ever. Only listen to me, and to you. Believe me when I say that you will never look better than you do right now in a bikini. You should be wearing a bikini at all times! You are a teenaged girl and all teenaged girls are beautiful. It’s true. I know this to be true because I am from the future. You are young and fresh, and infinite possibilities lie ahead of you. Just pick one. And then pick another, and another. You can do anything, be anything.

Just put down the mocha matte lipstick and stop trying to make a bob happen for you. You are never allowed to wear your hair in a bob. Also put down the tweezers! There will be one fateful day in 1996 that you overzealously tweeze your eyebrows, and future you is still paying for that dreadful mistake.

Lastly, thank you for not smoking. Your skin looks great at thirty-two. You’re welcome.

Love-love-love,

You/me


Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, August 2013.

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, August 2013.

Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of THE SUMMER I TURNED PRETTY series, SHUG, and the BURN FOR BURN trilogy, co-written with Siobhan Vivian. She is also the author of the chapter book CLARA LEE AND THE APPLE PIE DREAM. A former children’s bookseller, she earned her MFA in creative writing at the New School. Visit her at DearJennyHan.com.