TITLE: Notes On Being Teenage
AUTHOR: Rosalind Jana
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Young Adult, Autobiography, Self Help
RATING: 4/5 Stars
How would you describe yourself? Do you like to stand out, or fit in? Are you an Instagram junkie, or is Snapchat more your thing? Are you watching Zoella on YouTube, or reading Rookie on your phone? We're all different, and no-one's teenage years are the same. But we do all have one thing in common - being a teenager is about discovering who we are, and who we want to be.
It can be tricky, building and forming your own identity and sense of self, and sometimes, advice from someone who has been there and done it in the not-too-distant past can come in useful. Enter Rosalind Jana, who's crammed more into her 20-odd years than most (including winning the Vogue Talent Contest for Young Writers AND 'Well Dressed' at the Observer Ethical Awards, but don't tell her we told you that...). Notes on Being Teenage covers all aspects of teenhood, from the serious (mental health issues, bullying, staying safe online), to the slightly-less-so (dating, style, fashion, starting a blog) and everything in between. Rooted in her own experiences as a blogger, part-time model and eco-fashion-expert, but also as a teen who struggled with scoliosis, bullying and her dad's depression, Rosalind is well-placed to offer advice and guidance to anyone navigating their teenage years.
She's also spoken to loads of teens about their experiences, too, and their stories, problems, advice and wisdom are gathered here as well, along with interviews with inspirational and interesting people like Louise O'Neill, Juno Dawson and Rosianne Halse-Rojas. All this combines to form a warm, witty, wise book not just on how to survive but how to thrive as a teen. Essential reading for smart girls of any age.
What I Liked:
- This book was impressive in the vast array of topics that Jana chooses to cover. She really did cover pretty much everything that a teenage might have to consider during that turbulent time in their life: mental health, body image, sex, relationships, fashion, bullying, etc. You name it, Jana has probably written about it somewhere in this book. It was nice to read Jana's opinion on all of these matters, especially as it mostly coincided with my own and it gives me hope that young teens will end up reading this book and learning from it.
- Jana is a very talented writer. She wrote in a way that connected with her intended age group, but intelligently too. She promoted acceptance and positivity throughout each chapter, and I really loved the way she styled her book, filling it not only with her own thoughts on each matter, but a bunch of interviews with 'experts' (prominent figures in the YA community among others), quotes from teens that she has spoken to and a huge list of resources for each subject should the reader want to better educate themselves or receive more advice on any given subject.
What I Disliked:
- While I can't really call this a 'dislike', Jana's book is very much intended for teens and sadly, I'm a little older now. Her opinions, though well formed, are quite vague and require a lot of further reading if a teen or someone older wished to look more deeply into the subjects she chose to discuss (hence why I was pleased to see the extra resources). I would have appreciated reading this book a lot more when I was younger and more vulnerable. It would certainly have reassured me about many things that I struggled with or worried about, which still makes it a great tool for teens to use right now.
Despite not connecting with this book due to it's intended audience being a little younger, I really do like this book a lot. When I was a teen, I had so many questions but my own anxieties and fear of not fitting in prevented me from asking them. Jana's words would really have put my mind at ease, and I love the message of acceptance that she promotes in every chapter. It's okay to have a different body, okay to dress differently, okay to think differently and okay to be unsure. Many people overlook how difficult being a teenager is and I am so happy that people like Jana are writing on the subject in order to raise awareness on some of the issues that teens nowadays are facing.