Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School - Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More

The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School - Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More

4.3 45
by Haley Kilpatrick, Whitney Joiner

See All Formats & Editions

Today’s middle school girls have it rough.

In a few short years, they go through an incredible number of biological and emotional changes, making this the most formative—and riskiest—time in their lives. Groups turn on each other, a trusted childhood friend can reveal secrets by sending a text message or updating a Facebook status, and deciding


Today’s middle school girls have it rough.

In a few short years, they go through an incredible number of biological and emotional changes, making this the most formative—and riskiest—time in their lives. Groups turn on each other, a trusted childhood friend can reveal secrets by sending a text message or updating a Facebook status, and deciding where to sit in the cafeteria can be a daily struggle. As any tween will tell you, life for a middle school girl can be summed up in one word: drama.

Haley Kilpatrick’s own turbulent middle school experience inspired Girl Talk, a nonprofit organization in which high school mentors offer a “just been there” perspective to tween girls, helping them build self-esteem and develop leadership skills. Here, Haley delivers the definitive guidebook, packed with anecdotes from real girls around the country, who offer their insight into why her friends’ approval is suddenly vitally important, why she feels pressured to be perfect, why she’s no longer telling her parents everything, and what three vital things adults can offer to the girls in their lives to downplay the drama.

Filled with practical strategies from tweens and teen mentors to help adults understand what girls today are facing, The Drama Years is a must-read for anyone struggling to help girls navigate the often difficult transition into adolescence.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Kilpatrick began Girl Talk, a nonprofit peer-to-peer mentoring program that pairs high school girls with middle school girls in 2002 when she was 15 years old. The program swiftly grew from her Georgia high school to 43 states, six countries, and 40,000 members. This book is an outgrowth of the program and is based upon interviews as well as on the challenges she faced during her own “tween” years (ages 11 through 13 or grades six through eight). Though the author points out that she is neither a psychologist nor an academic (and therefore has chosen to skirt more serious issues such as eating disorders and addiction), she does provide sound advice that will help parents to support their tween daughters. Each chapter examines a particular issue (i.e., self-esteem, materialism, body image, love and relationships), and then offers guidance via “Try This” boxes. Kilpatrick’s overarching solution is to help the tween find an “anchor” activity (such as a sport or music), encourage her to give a helping hand (get her involved in volunteer work), and help her find an adoptive older sister (someone to talk to who’s been through similar experiences). With this practical guide to navigating the tumultuous tweens, Kilpatrick hopes to help downplay the drama, generate kindness, and break the “mean girl cycle” so prevalent in contemporary middle school culture. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
The Drama Years is a great overall primer for anyone with a young teen girl in her life. And the girls will love reading it too! I will highly recommend it to the parents, teachers, and girls I work with.”
—Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes

The Drama Years is a wonderful, compassionate, and extremely helpful book. It is a must for any parent with a middle-school-age daughter. Haley Kilpatrick tells it exactly – word for word – as it is. She understands what they are going through, and she gives truly helpful and specific advice. The book is upbeat while at the same time it deals with all of the toughest issues that young teenage girls must face. All parents of young teen girls will love it.”
—Anthony E. Wolf, Ph.D., author of Get Out of My Life, But First Could You Drive Me & Cheryl to the Mall?

“Even the closest of parent-child relationships can benefit from this book. The more we listen, the more we help to raise a generation of self-empowered, confident women.”
—Lucy Danziger, SELF Magazine editor-in-chief and author of The Drop 10 Diet and The Nine Rooms of Happiness

The Drama Years is filled with heart-stirring stories, just-been-there advice from recent teens, and practical, actionable tips for parents. It's full of real girls talking about everything from stress and body image to love and materialism. Reading this book, I cringed in recognition of my own drama years, just wishing this book had been around back then and so grateful I'll have it as a guide for my own daughter.”
—Melissa Walker, cofounder of I Heart Daily and author of Small Town Sinners

“A must-read for any parent struggling to understand her tween daughter and all the ‘drama’ in her life. Haley Kilpatrick tells it from a girl's perspective with real solutions for grownups.”
—Chandra Turner, executive editor, Parents magazine

"Pre-teen years are so tough for girls, and adults often aren't sure how best to help. Thankfully, we have the middle school and high school girls who share their hearts and minds in these pages to guide us, telling parents exactly what will help them survive The Drama Years."
—Julie Foudy, former captain US Women's Soccer Team and Founder of Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy

Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
It is three years and three grades in the life of a female student but it can impact the rest of their lives in a more significant way than any other school experience. This is a how-to book for surviving middle school, written for girls between the ages of 12 and 14, as well as their parents. Advice for helping parents deal with the materialism that develops at this age, especially around brand recognition, may help to diffuse arguments when shopping for school clothes. Counselor comments are included concerning mother-daughter relationships and their importance on these young girls struggling to become young women. Author Kilpatrick struggled to get through the middle school years with her self-confidence and self-image intact. Her strongest supporters were her parents and a high school student who served as a mentor. Now, Haley is returning the favor as she serves as leader of "Girl Talk," a national non-profit organization in which high school mentors assist tween girls in maintaining a clear perspective through the middle school years, while building leadership skills and self-esteem. Thus, girls having made it through the maze that is middle school are prepared to return the favor by helping those who come behind them. Author Kilpatrick has interviewed girls from across the nation about their experiences with parents, peer relationships, academics, social networking, and body image. Each chapter includes sidelines from counselors, parents and high school mentors, offering an encouraging, supportive perspective. Appendices offer a wealth of resources, categorized by chapter, and a quick index. This is an excellent resource for every parent in starting a conversation with their middle school girl. It is also a reminder to these girls that there is a life beyond middle school. Every upper elementary and middle school media center should add this to their collection. Reviewer: Joyce Rice

Product Details

Free Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

Haley Kilpatrick started Girl Talk, a program to help middle school girls deal with the pressures and anxieties of being a young teen. Haley graduated from Kennesaw State University with her BS in communication. She travels the country speaking and motivating youth, teachers, and administrators on the importance of mentoring.

Whitney Joiner is a former features editor at Seventeen and has contributed to a number of newspapers and magazines, including Teen Vogue, Glamour, Redbook, The New York Times, Time, and more.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

The Drama Years: How to Help Girls Thrive During Middle School and Beyond 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
mcox7811 More than 1 year ago
The Drama Years is an excellent book looking into the many issues our middle school girls face today. As a middle school teacher, I see these problems throughout my entire school on a daily basis. Not only are the problems the girls are facing destructive to forming and keeping positive relationships, the drama is negatively impacting their personal education and is consuming instructional time. The Drama Years speaks about the new technology such as texting and facebook and how these are also adding to the already difficult years. Fortunately, this book does not only focus on the hardships of middle school, but offers a solution through "Girl Talk". The three goals Kilpatrick has outlined in the book and through her program are effective in helping young teens face the drama years. I am a strong believer in my students having an older mentor, being involved in an activity, and giving a helping hand. As a middle school teacher, older cousin, and mentor I am ecstatic to get a chapter of Girl Talk in my school and community as well as share this book with teachers and friends. This is a must read for anyone who interacts with middle school girls! -- Meredith Cox, Middle School Teacher, M.Ed. Vanderbilt University, Behaviorist
Hammering More than 1 year ago
I am the father of a sixth grade girl just starting into these years and needed some extra guidance on this subject. I must say that Haley provides not only the answers to the questions I had; but also covers areas that I had not thought about myself. The book is a must read for anyone who has a daughter dealing with these sometimes difficult times in her life. I thoroughly enjoyed the authors real life experiences and could not put the book down; finding it fascinating to heart " dead on" what she is currently going through in her life. Loved it !!!!! 5 Stars !!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A M A Z I N G ! I have just finished this book and would highly recommend it to ALL teachers, counselors, students, friends, moms, dads, ETC. My heart is so full of compassion I can't even begin to find the right words. I am a mom and this book really made me stop and think about some things these young girls have mentioned and that my daughter delt with during her middle school years. You've heard the old saying "Out of the mouth of Babes" well, read this book and you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Just think about it we send our children to school and from daycare to at least 5th grade everything is repeated to them done for them at home and school in some way or another and they do well. THEN comes middle school WATCHOUT these girls are dealing not only with learning a new way of process in their school but now their bodies are changing, their personalities are changing, some days they do not like themselves let alone anyone else. Then you add in the DRAMA with it, WOW, need I say more. As a parent we like everyone else, get caught up in our on circle then added to the circle is this young girl not knowing which direction to turn that is why when I read this book and going through the 3 steps : An Anchor Activity-outside school activity that she can throw herself into A Helping Hand-an ongoing commitment to volunteer at an organization that she feels passionate about and An adopted older sister a stable role model that she can trust and confide in. It made me realize what I could have done better and in a different way with my daughter. Believe me you will not regret making this purchase in fact you just may do what I have done and paid it forward to someone else in hopes it will help them in some way. Think about it it will be the best money you have ever spent!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am stuck. Me and my friend got in a fight and to get me back she worte my name and a guys name forever on a table. I am freaked. I like him and I told her. He saw what was written. Now, I am afraid to even look at him. Need help a.s.a.p. Thanks, I need it. Also, if you see this and have advice please write it. I only have one week because I go back to school next Monday So, please help me. I need it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great advice and a must read for all who have a teenage girl in their life!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel that this book covers everything needed to know about tipical tweens and their middle school life
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can help just go to 102 days at middle school Mid school helper
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm going into middle school!!! Does anyone have advice?! Let me know soon!!! Please!!!! Does this book help? That is all that I'm wondering. I'll just rate 5 stars then.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey im Nichole. And i have been in middle school for going on three years now but the trick is to try to be friends with everyone. Be yourself. Have fun. And make sure that you pick a social group that fits you. Those friends that you make are most likely going to be there for u in high school. I no that it seems so far away but u only have three years there then u go to middle school. And if you are going in to sixth grade or by now you most likely are already in school then try to be friends with the eightth and seventh graders so u will have so high skool friends when u get there. You will be in my prayers. Hope u have fun in middle school. And be cool, stay in school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its going to be ok im going into middle school and i freaking out aswel cunsidering i start school on monday but im flipping out bounceing off the walls crazy scared but i learn from all my friwnds say its ok ill be here but for you its going to ok you could ask your friends for anything you should trust them ok well need more reply to #Lolsmileyface
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
... i am like freaking out i need advice books if you have any books or advice please rite them in your review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Middle school is a living hell and i hate it but this book takes from bulies to boys and it helped me so much i feel more powerful
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like or love boys or if u are a boy than girls than you are fine just to let you know girls make yourself hard to get toward boys when you are older boys will apresheate you more but you dont have to make yourself hard to get i mean i dont make myself hard to get
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loving somebody i wana let go.....ruining my life.......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for every girl and woman to read. Amazing how those formative years can dictate how you'll see yourself in the future. Inspiring! A book you want to share with others for sure. Thanks Haley Kilpatrick for this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think it should have headings to organize it better .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Talking about it i have in my life twenty-four-seven at my scool and at home to:) it is not easy girls and boys
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im in 7 grade. Shee has dated everyone shes mean and ugly thanks. Saidy bolya
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Middle school sucks... Im in high school now and realizing how bad middle school was horrible. Girls are way more mean in middle schoothan in high schooll
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Father of a tween girl, the author writes the story showing compassion for our young women. This is the best book i have readin a long time. Dad's read for yourself and your daughter. I wish we had girl talk in our town. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im so sorry for my crappy typeing i was in a hurry sorry
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I havnt read this book yet but from some of the reviews idk if i should im popular and have had many biyfriends so im not worried im starting 8th grade and i was on the cheer team last year and im goina try again this year
Anonymous More than 1 year ago