12 YA Quotes that Perfectly Express the Teen Condition

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens AgendaThe best thing about being a reader is the way it lets you live countless lives, countless stories. Books let you leave yourself behind, becoming such a part of your worldview that sometimes you can’t remember what came first: the book or the feeling. Truly great books say things we didn’t even know we felt, or at least express them better than we could on our own. Young adult books have a particularly great power—and responsibility—to distill funny and scary and embarrassing and amazing truths into stories that remind us we’re not (the only) weirdos, and we’re not alone. Here are 12 great quotes from 12 great books that perfectly describe what it’s like to be a teen.

On how hard it is to change when everyone is watching

“I try not to change, but I keep changing in all these tiny ways. I get a girlfriend. I have a beer. And every freaking time, I have to reintroduce myself to the universe all over again.”
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli

On one of life’s great truths

“Having a friend made everything else suck less.”
The Impossible Knife of Memory, Laurie Halse Anderson

On holding hands with your crush for the first time

“How could it be possible that there were that many nerve endings all in one place? And were they always there, or did they just flip on whenever they felt like it? Because, if they were always there, how did she manage to turn doorknobs without fainting?”
Eleanor & Park, Rainbow Rowell

On the complicated pain of growing up

“She wanted to go back. She wanted to be a little girl again, the one who thought getting high meant being pushed on the swing and pain was falling off her bike.”
Falling Into Place, Amy Zhang

On the terror of letting the person you like know you like them

“‘You should just ask her out. The worst thing that can happen is she laughs at you for months and it becomes this big urban legend.'”
Thirsty, M.T. Anderson

On realizing nobody else knows what’s going on, either

“And now I realize Lindsay’s not fearless. She’s terrified. She’s terrified that people will find out she’s faking, bullshitting her way through life, pretending to have everything together when really she’s just floundering like the rest of us.”
Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver

On meeting the one

“It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”
Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein

On meeting the other one

“Sometimes you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

On parental empathy

“One of the cruelties of teenagehood is that you’ll never know what your parents were really like at your age, and they’ll never accurately remember.”
Like No Other, by Una LaMarche

On the danger of letting other people define you

“Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don’t know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right.”
This Song Will Save Your Life, Leila Sales

On all those times it’s utterly impossible to say what you mean

“‘I love you,'” I say to him, only it comes out, ‘Hey.’ ‘So damn much,’ he says back, only it comes out, ‘Dude.’ He still won’t meet my eyes.”
I’ll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson

On those moments when your favorite song comes on at just the right time, and everything else falls into place

“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

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