Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself

Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself

Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself

Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself


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If you’re a girl, you should strive to look like the model on the cover of a magazine. If you’re a boy, you should play sports and be good at them. If you’re smart, you should immediately go to college after high school, and get a job that makes you rich. Above all, be normal.


Wrong, say 35 leading middle grade and young adult authors. Growing up is challenging enough; it doesn’t have to be complicated by convoluted, outdated, or even cruel rules, both spoken and unspoken. Parents, peers, teachers, the media, and the rest of society sometimes have impossible expectations of teenagers. These restrictions can limit creativity, break spirits, and demand that teens sacrifice personality for popularity.

In these personal, funny, moving, and poignant essays, Kathryn Erskine (Mockingbird), Matthew Quick (The Silver Linings Playbook), Gary D. Schmidt (The Wednesday Wars), Sara Zarr (Story of a Girl), and many others share anecdotes and lessons learned from their own lives in order to show you that some rules just beg to be broken.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781613747841
Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/01/2013
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile: 960L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Luke Reynolds has taught middle school and high school English in Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as composition at Northern Arizona University. He is the coeditor of Burned In and Dedicated to the People of Darfur and the author of A Call to Creativity, Keep Calm and Query On, and A New Man. His writing has appeared in the Arizona Daily Sun, the Hartford Courant, Mutuality magazine, the Sonora Review, Tucson Weekly, and the Writer. He lives in Boston.

Table of Contents

Introduction: 35 Ways to Be Who You Really Are 1

Be a Jock Or a Nerd. Pick a Side. We're at War Josh Berk 5

Shhhhh A. S. King 9

It's Better to be Safe than Sorry Matthew Quick 13

Listening is a Waste of Time Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich 23

Never Be Alone Francisco X. Stork 29

Don't Tell Neesha Meminger 33

Don't Quit Carl Deuker 39

Be Clean! Gary D. Schmidt 41

Never Talk About Religion Sara Zarr 51

Follow the Money, Not Your Heart Lisa Schroeder 55

Look Like a Magazine Cover Sayantani Dasgupta 59

Don't Tell Lies Leslie Connor 67

Pretend the Dark Stuff Isn't True Carol Lynch Williams 73

Don't Daydream Wendy Mass 79

Go to College After High School Chris Barton 85

Be Cool Kathryn Erskine 89

See Yourself Through the Eyes of Others Jennifer Reynolds 95

Speak Up! Mike Jung 101

Always Sit In Your Assigned Seat… Lyn Miller-Lachmann 105

Be Normal Jennifer A. Nielsen 111

Don't Clash With the Crowd Anna Staniszewski 115

Compare Yourself to Others Luke Reynolds 119

Be Productive Jennifer Ziegler 125

Always Know Where You're Going Brian Yansky 131

Don't Get Fat Lisa Burstein 137

Two is Better than One Natalie Dias Lorenzi 143

Follow The Directions Tamara Ellis Smith 149

Grow Up. Be Serious Tara Lazar 157

Boys Don't Cry Chris Lynch 161

The Boy/Girl Rule Pat Schmatz 165

Be a Man Rob Buyea 169

Dress Appropriately Margo Rabb 173

There are Firm Rules in Life Thanhha Lai 177

Don't Let The New World Change You Mitali Perkins 181

Me First Lynda Mullaly Hunt 185

Acknowledgements 191

About the Contributors 195

About the Editor 209

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