Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged teen girls

The Latte Rebellion

Asha Jamison’s classmates are quick to categorize her. She is called both a “towelhead” and “barely Asian.” Asha and her best friend Carey have a harder time describing their own ethnicities. Asha is part Indian, part Mexican, and part Irish, while Carey is half Chinese and half Caucasian. When they begin describing themselves as lattes—a mix of coffee and milk—they start brainstorming ways to distribute their idea to other multiethnic teens and coffee lovers.


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.

Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas

Of the many things I accomplished in high school, “leading a political uprising” was suspiciously absent. Yet around the world, teenage girls are organizing their own social revolutions, a trend largely undocumented and unanalyzed before Jessica Taft’s Rebel Girls: Youth Activism and Social Change Across the Americas.


XVI is not a feminist novel. I’m opening my review with this caveat because, as someone who owns a dog-eared copy of The Feminine Mystique, whose heroes are Margaret Atwood and Ursula Le Guin, and who has, at times, stopped shaving her armpits (sometimes one just can’t be bothered), accounts of feminist content in Julia Kar

Not that Kind of Girl

Painting people into camps is really easy to do: either they’re good or bad, respected or mocked, smart or silly. For Natalie, high school—and life—is a pretty simple game of either/or. And she knows what she is: she’s a senior. She’s student council president. She’s going places. There’s no room for the other side, and definitely no room for the myriad shades of gray that make up the vast middle.

A Home For Mr. Easter

Tesana is a teenage girl lacking love. Her mother belittles her behavior, and the kids at school make fun of her. She is huge—both very tall and very overweight. She feels like a walking target, so it’s understandable that she has learned to escape into her imagination. When the bus ride home sucks, she dreams up a unicorn to carry her across the city. But daydreams can’t make everything better. When the popular jocks and cheerleaders try to make a victim of a bunny rabbit, Tesana unleashes all her pent-up anger on them. This is no ordinary bunny. He lays Easter eggs! He talks!

The Carrie Diaries

Sex and the City the television series ended six years ago. One might find this hard to believe, considering the characters and the lavish lifestyles they live have been far from gone in the mainstream media.

The Solitude of Prime Numbers

My best friend often teasingly tells me that the books I recommend to her are all too depressing and sad. I always counter that I recommend books that make me laugh. Now, that either means that I have a sick sense of humor, or it simply illustrates that the stories I most enjoy reading combine painful topics and awkward characters with humor, sarcasm, and witty writing. Paolo Giordano’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers is exactly such a book.

I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World

I'll tell you why I bothered picking up I Am an Emotional Creature: (1) I loved the graffiti-like cover, which reminded me of the doodling I used to pen over my books in high school, and (2) I really respect and enjoy Eve Ensler's writing.

Mathilda Savitch

Despite years of being told not to, I immediately judged Victor Lodato’s novel Mathilda Savitch by the cover. I opened it expecting to speed through a mature version of Harriet the Spy with a twist of Tim Burton’s eccentricity.

The Body Scoop for Girls: A Straight-Talk Guide to a Healthy, Beautiful You

I am skeptical of books that aim to educate teens about all things related to one’s adolescent body, but The Body Scoop for Girls exceeded my expectations. Jennifer Ashton is a gynecologist and CBS medical correspondent who has written a user-friendly manual for young girls I wish I had read when I was entering the tricky terrain we call puberty.

Louder Than Words: Emily

There were two things that drew me to this book. Firstly, the title is Emily and, hey, that’s my name, too! Secondly, and more importantly, the story revolves around a young girl called Emily whose life is plagued by physical illnesses, which she endearingly calls “Emily flu.” Could this book possibly be written about me? Alas, whilst I just suffer from chronic hypochondria, literary Emily has a genuine disease; the rare and incurable West Nile Virus.

Louder Than Words: Marni

Louder Than Words is a series aimed at teenagers about teenage experiences. Atypically, the volumes are also written by teenagers.

Louder Than Words: Chelsey

Chelsey is a thin volume dealing with a heavy topic: it's the first-person account of a teenager in Cincinnati, Ohio who loses her father to violence and her journey of grief, adjustment, and self-discovery over the ensuing few years. Chelsey Shannon is a week shy of her fourteenth birthday when she learns that her father, who'd been working and vacationing in the Caribbean with his girlfriend, has been shot and killed by a would-be burglar who broke into h


I have recently felt there is a shortage of high quality up-and-coming bands, especially bands with strong female leads. The band Total Babe is starting to change my mind. After listening to their new six-song release, Heatwave, I did a quick Internet search and was shocked to find out that they are a trio of teenagers!

She's Shameless: Women Write About Growing Up, Rocking Out, and Fighting Back

Shameless is the magazine I needed as a teen. Instead, I relied on zines picked up from all-ages shows and record shops, with Ms. to fill in the gaps. Zines and Ms. have their place, but it’s heartening to see a need being met so well. In Shameless, young women have a chance to read (and write) about issues of real importance.

An Education

From the moment the film started, the audience of An Education had a collective understanding that what we were about to see no longer applied. Based on the memoir of British journalist Lynn Barber, the film opens with a nostalgically ridiculous montage of ‘60s-era schoolgirls learning their daily lessons: cooking, ballroom dancing, and walking with proper posture (books-on-heads and all).

Skunk Girl

Skunk Girl is Sheba Karim’s first novel. It is told from the point of view of sixteen-year-old Nina Khan, self-described as “a Pakistani Muslim girl” and from a small white town in upstate New York. Although published in 2009, the story is set in approximately 1993. In a fast-paced, entertaining read, Nina narrates her life and drama as the only Pakistani and Muslim girl in her high school.

Dunya and Desie

Dunya and Desie is a 2006 Dutch film with English subtitles from director Dana Nachushtan. In the same vein as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Dunya and Desie is the fun story of two best friends from opposite upbringings and how they find what they are looking for in life.

Ten Things I Hate About Me

I was excited when the book Does My Head Look Big in This? came out a few years ago. In that book, author Randa Abdel-Fattah tells the story of Amal, a young Australian Muslim woman who decides to wear hijab and navigates the challenges of expressing her identity as an Australian Muslim.

Zodiac Girls: Discount Diva

Discount Diva is a fun book for pre-teens eager to read as a hobby. The main character in the book, Tori, who is a Tarus, comes from a poor family and longs to have the finer things in life. When Tori finds out she is a Zodiac Girl, she thinks her days of wearing secondhand clothing is over, but is it? In the age of technology, I know I find myself reading my horoscope to find out what my day, month, and year will be like. But it’s not that easy.

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

CosmoGIRL! Make It Yourself: 50 Fun and Funky Projects

CosmoGIRL!, the little sister of Cosmopolitan magazine, has just released it's own make-and-do book of DIY projects for crafty teenage girls. “Hey _CosmoGIRL!_s,” reads the prologue, “You may not know it, but you're the most positive, can-do, pro-active group of girls that has ever walked the earth. I know that may sound like a big statement, but it's true. You're smarter than ever, you're more independent, and no one can trick you because you see right through it.” So what kind of craft projects followed this empowering statement? Why, “Boy-Of-The-Week” panties, of course!

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.

How Sassy Changed My Life: A Love Letter to the Greatest Teen Magazine of All Time

Before female adolescents in America had Oakland/Portland’s Bitch or Chicago’s VenusZine for feminism 101, there was New York City’s Sassy. In How Sassy Changed My Life, readers are given a magazine-size book that reads like a nostalgic love letter chronicling one of women’s crucial marks in journalism's history.

Zodiac Girls: From Geek to Goddess

Zodiac Girls: From Geek to Goddess by Cathy Hopkins is a re-telling of one of the oldest stories around. Girl goes to new school where she doesn’t know anyone, gets picked on by the school bully and fails to make the team, or in this case, the school play. Eventually, through misadventures and valuable life lessons, she comes to love herself, make friends and stick it to the aforementioned bully. What makes this re-telling different from all the others?

These Girls

Documentarian Tahani Rached is allowed intimate access into the lives of a tight-knit group of teenage girls living on the streets of Cairo, Egypt. This motley band of girls includes Tata, the ringleader; Danya, the self-proclaimed “fireball"; Abeer; Ze’reda; Maryam and Big Sister Hind, who offers advice and a shoulder to lean on. Although these teens are “voluntarily” homeless, viewers soon learn that they have chosen what they consider to be the lesser of two evils: the streets versus their abusive homes. The film opens with Tata riding a horse down a street crowded with cars.

Me, Penelope

Writer Lisa Jahn-Clough presents a deteremined character named Penelope who deals with her life bit by bit and rants while finally facing her proverbial dragons. While finishing high school in her own way, Penelope attempts to accomplish feats she thinks necessary before heading into the college world. Her living situation with her mom Viv (who dates a younger man and detests being called "Mrs." at any point) and a college student, who only appears some of the time, seems to be the ultimate in any high school student's dream.

Zodiac Girls: Recipe for Rebellion

Cathy Hopkins has sold millions of books, most of them written for teenage girls. After reading her latest book, Zodiac Girls: Recipe for Rebellion, I credit her popularity with a tone that both accurately captures the anxieties of adolescent life, and also achieves a likeability of character that is the key to most of today’s popular literature. Formerly an art school student, rock singer, aromatherapist and teacher of meditation techniques, Hopkins has an edge to her, a wit and style only found in people who have lived life outside of the lines to a certain degree.