One of the aspects of my job that I was particularly good at was connecting teens with books they’d love.But it wasn’t always easy — there have always been strong, compelling narrative voices in the books for teenagers, but they've been primarily limited to fiction.It was no problem putting adult nonfiction into the hands of teens, but I could never understand why the YA nonfiction shelves didn’t thrive.
Almost every teen lacks self-confidence at some point and so has even more of a struggle to fit in somewhere.In economic terms, this is what is called “manufactured demand.” They will do this by scaring us in our everyday life, seducing us with pictures of a perfect life and then misleading us by telling us what to buy.This is basically what consumerism is all about: creating a niche in the market and then making a profit. Do not define yourself by your external features, but rather by your personality and being true to yourself and your beliefs.At some point between running, writing, and starring in her Fox sitcom, *The Mindy Project,*comedian Mindy Kaling found time to write a heartfelt essay for readers of Tavi Gevinson’s Web site, Rookie.Founded two years ago by the former child fashion blogger turned teen TED speaker, the site offers intelligent advice to teen girls about relationships, bedroom décor, and the kinds of prickly issues that adult-commandeered teen magazines would never know how to tackle. I was a pretty good student and had a couple of decent extracurricular activities, but I was by no means the best in my class, or even near the top.Kaling’s open letter, in which she relates her awkward pubescent days to today’s teen experience, can be found in the site’s second print publication, I think about you all the time. I spent all of eighth grade faking that I had my period, down to sticking Kotex in my underwear in case anyone needed proof. Path Number Two: Being a Teenager Now Is Bullshit You cannot escape your teenage years. My hair was greasy, I smelled weird, I wore stretchy boot-cut jeans two sizes too small, and I had terrible cystic acne that frequently gave me whiteheads. But according to the Internet, I never really existed until I was 22. But I was still accepted into an Ivy League college. I would die if I were 15 and had to fill out a Facebook profile PLUS a Twitter bio PLUS update an Instagram to make myself appear cool and beguiling.Sometimes with anger—because, let’s face it, you tend to be very loud and inappropriately expressive on the subway—but more often with affection, because I know how hard this time is for you, and you are cute and don’t know what the hell you are doing, like yearlings whose legs are still wobbly. Now it feels like you need to be a straight-A student, speak an obscure language, and also have spent a year living with brown bears or something to get into college. And that’s all on top of doing homework and chores and stuff.They want to be seen, want to be heard, and want to be able to share the things they’re experiencing and can often feel they’re grappling with alone. I worked across a variety of libraries, each with their joys and challenges, and I made it my goal to serve the teens in each of those places with respect, dignity, and a sense of humor.Too often, it’s the young adult librarian alone who is their advocate and who appreciates their fluctuating hormones, interests, and behavior in the library.Still others take on alcoholism and recovery, confidence, plastic surgery addiction, and grappling with life after surviving a school shooting.Each voice is raw and vulnerable, sharing some of the lowest of lows alongside some of the brightest glimmers of light.