I’d rather bring out the Princess Within my Teen than the Drama Queen

Princess WithinTitle: The Princess Within for Teens
Author: Serita Ann Jakes
Genre: YA Nonfiction
I requested this book from the publisher and was thrilled to receive it.

This title caught my eye. As the mother of a tween, I’m always looking for tools to assist me in guiding her on this life journey. You all know I’m a librarian and she’s an avid reader. This makes books a great tool. We’ve found that it’s easier for us to discuss the actions of characters or people in the book then direct personal statements. Maybe I’m avoiding conflict or eye rolling… I choose to believe I’m being resourceful. So there. Given that, I selected this title because of the description from Amazon:

Girls of all ages want to feel like Cinderella at the ball. But maybe you feel more like Cinderella beforethe ball–overlooked, inadequate, hurting, maybe even used and abused. Sometimes it’s hard to feel beautiful, in God’s eyes or your own, when something or someone has robbed you of your inner beauty.

Serita Ann Jakes understands those feelings. She knows how past failures and present hurts can prevent you from realizing your true identity in Jesus Christ. She has helped hundreds of girls work through personal struggles, and now she wants to help you. Whether you’re struggling with poor self-esteem, difficult friendships, family problems, secret shame, or something else, above all, she wants you to know, you are a princess! The daughter of a King!

 

Well, this is in keeping with our belief system so I thought I’d give it a try. I’ll be honest, the author totally flew over my head. I was so excited about the book that I didn’t pay any mind to the author. When I received the book and saw that Serita Ann Jakes wrote the book, I was excited. I expected current and dynamic. I can certainly attest that she delivered on this.

The book has 17 chapters. Each chapter covers a different topic. This arrangement makes this a great resource for the tough topics. No need to assign the reading for cover to cover if you are in a crisis situation right now, just flip to your particular challenge and drive forward. Each chapter includes a modern day verse of fairy tale, a current playlist, a narrative of this particular challenge in real life, a teaching with real life application of the Word, and a prompt to consider this application within the teen’s own life. Some chapters also include additional activities such as quizzes to aid girls in some self discovery.

What I liked about the book: The book is current. The playlist contains current artists and some classics. Current real life challenges are addressed such as social media. Jakes bares all in an effort to be true to the needs of young women. This honesty creates a book that isn’t preachy or authoritative. Instead Jakes is approachable and leads from a been-there-done-that perspective that would rarely be accepted from a parent but always from a ‘cool’ aunt.

What didn’t work for me: The obvious answer is that my daughter is a tween. The content of this book is beyond her level, more on that in a moment. But due to the current focus of this book, I’m concerned it would lose it’s appeal to my daughter by the time she’s ready for the content. To be clear, I think the topics will all still be relevant. But in 5 or 6 years, a teen might think that the older songs are an excuse to think the views are outdated. This book is the book that you buy now and give to a teen who needs it now.

Now about that content, Jakes pulls no punches. The first chapter opens with physical abuse and a gun to her head. Talk about jumping right in – to what felt like a shock of cold water to me! But this book isn’t written for me. It’s written for teens who might think grown ups don’t get it. Jakes makes it clear she does.

The only thing that really didn’t work for me was the unpredictability of the chapters. Sometimes I thought I knew right where she was going and felt led astray. For example in Chapter 2, Jakes talks about being the only one not invited to the party. We’ve all had the experience and in fact we just had that here not too long ago. Instead of a discussion about feeling left out, the chapter veered to body image issues. I think it’s safe to say, being left out of the party has happened to all shapes and sizes. Whether you’re thin, thick, or anywhere in between you need to learn to cope with sometimes being on the outside looking in. Let’s not blame that on weight, it’s just life. I didn’t see that turn in the road and felt led astray.

Recommendations: Given the direct delivery of sensitive content such as sexual activity, this book is best aimed at teens who are 16 or above. Although if you have a 14 or 15 year old who is veering off course a bit, this book might deliver the wake up call needed before they get in too deep. But all of us, teen or adult need to read Chapter 14, Where Did the Time Go about hurry-itis.

I am opting not to hang on to this book due to the timeliness issues I stated previously. But I believe in the message and believe it will be well received by the Young Adults in my urban library system. Therefore, I’m turning it over to our Collection Development Librarian for consideration for it to be added to the collection.

What are your book recommendations for teen girls coping with life?

 

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