Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged adolescence


Those who are avid readers often fondly remember the books that seemed to have changed our lives. Many of the books that have stuck with me, I read during my teenage years. Adolescence is a time in life when people struggle with identity and seek to be understood. The books we connect with at this time can be an extremely powerful influence—sometimes as powerful as a friend, a counselor, or a family member. Not much time has passed since I was a teen, but young adult books seem a lot different to me now.

Letter to My Daughter

I admit that I am influenced by book titles in my choice of books to read. In that sense, Letter to My Daughter was somewhat off putting for me. I was expecting a somewhat predictable story of a mother writing a letter to her daughter.

Justice for Girls?: Stability and Change in the Youth Justice Systems of the United States and Canada

In Justice for Girls?, Canadian researchers Jane B. Sprott and Anthony N. Doob provide a comprehensive and concise overview on girls and juvenile delinquency in these two North American countries. Sprott and Doob address the misconception, fueled by media reports and newspaper articles circulating in the U.S. and Canada, that girls are committing more crimes, and more violent crimes.

Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen

Forget fairytales and fables that threaten rape and violence to women who go off the beaten path, deny their parents, or refuse to marry. Marilyn Chin's novel, Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen, doesn't lock away its female protagonists into a tower so a prince can climb up their hair and doesn't ask the women to honor and obey their parents.

The Secret Lives of Boys: Inside the Raw Emotional World of Male Teens

The Secret Lives of Boys is exactly the kind of book I love to read. It is a collection of well-written case studies that give the reader a snapshot of teenage boys that most adults today don’t see.

Scrapbook of My Years as a Zealot

Previous portrayals of Mormonism in popular media have been widely negative, expressed primitively through cheap jokes about polygamy. Recently, with the emergence of the HBO show Big Love, a positive light has been shown on the teachings of Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saints movement.

Red: Teenage Girls in America Write On What Fires Up Their Lives Today

My teenage years have always seemed to be something that I’ve wanted to forget: awkwardness, feeling clueless about life, not feeling comfortable in my body, navigating love and friendships, hating my family, loving my family, not knowing who my family really was, and knowing that there must be something more to life than what I was doing. Ugh, high school. Now that I’m past my teens and well on to other decades of my life, I haven’t taken the time to look back and consider all of those big Life Questions I once had.

Throw like a Girl

After being asked what she wanted for her readers to take away from Throw Like a Girl, Jean Thompson answered that she hoped they appreciate the “transforming power of literature, how can it remove us from the everyday world and let us see with new eyes.” And this book does just that: it takes us away from the everyday world and then painfully drops us back with the suspicion that this fiction is actually very real. The horrors of normalcy and the tedium of

Growing Girls: The Natural Origins of Girls’ Organizations in America

As a former Girl Scout, I have vivid memories of my first trip to Camp Hoffman where my troop and I listened to the history of the organization. I particularly remember an awful amount of fanfare when my leader discussed Juliette Gordon Low, the fearless founder of the Girl Scouts. After reading Susan A. Miller’s Growing Girls, I feel a little jaded about my 2nd grade introduction to the Girl Scouts.


Sonja is a tale of unrequited love and adolescent bumbling depicted with typical Finnish tendencies towards the grand, dramatic and baroque; that is to say, none. A joke: “How can you tell when you’ve met an outgoing Finn? He stares at your shoes.” I note this because the director, Kirsi Liimatainen, is a Finn, and this highly personal movie is typically devoid of the teary-eyed, blouse-rending that might infect another teen drama about relationships. My pal. Manicella.

Dairy Queen

The word “charming” is too vague, and it makes me think of smarmy real estate descriptions, but…I…can’t…stop…myself. Dairy Queen is just so darn charming that I am forced to momentarily succumb. Catherine Gilbert Murdock has taken a traditional coming-of-age story about a tomboy in a small town and wrung some feisty new life out of it.


If the thought of being 13 again makes you more nauseous than nostalgic, Kickoff is not the book for you. However, if you feel free to channel your inner tween, read on. Donna King, also known as Jenny Oldfield, is the author of several children’s series novels, including the Horses of Half Moon Ranch.

The Films of Su Friedrich, Vol. 4: Hide and Seek

Hide and Seek is a brilliant movie that explores the real life stories of lesbians' self actualization of who they are during their childhood interwoven with the story of one little girl who - though on the outside she is just like the rest of the girls in her class - she knows that there is something fundamentally different about her. There is also some very interesting footage of very old 1950s-style biology documentaries on homosexuality. Are we a product of our genetics or are we a product of our environment?

Girl Stories

A friend once described the experience of being a Smiths fan at age twelve. Listening to the lyrics of “Half a Person”—“Sixteen, clumsy, and shy, I went to London and I booked myself in at the Y…WCA…”—he felt a pang of recognition with that teenager. Precociously morose, he told me, “I felt so old for my age!” Reading Lauren R. Weinstein’s comics, I feel a similar sympathetic pang – albeit from the far side of sixteen. It makes me think that the ageless adolescence of the sensitive, artistic, somewhat nerdy kid is a permanent state of being.