Are you crushing on a guy, but can't tell if he like-likes you?
Are you confused about what to do with your life?
Are you worried about losing a friend because she chose Gale over Peeta?
Are you crippled by shame when you walk into the young adult section of the library?
Well, friends, I'm Dr. FYA, and I'm here to help!
Ok, well, technically, I'm not a licensed doctor. And I'm not even one person-- I'm the culminated wisdom of Posh, Erin, Jenny, Meghan and Megan No H. Basically, I'm the Borg of FYA, except with way more personality (and minus the creepy machine parts).
See, after years of reading young adult literature, we've stored up a ton of knowledge here at FYA HQ. Through the power of books, we've lived through the entire spectrum of teenage experience, and now we want to use this hard-won insight to help you, our beloved readers.
Now, you might be thinking, "Hold up, Dr. FYA! I'm an adult with adult problems. I don't need advice for teenagers!" We understand your confusion, but any YAngelist worth her salt will tell you that the lessons learned in adolescence carry a lifetime value. You might be surprised at how your dilemmas echo the issues faced by our favorite YA heroes.
Sure, we may not always know what to do, but thanks to YA books, we're v. familiar with what NOT to do. Want to be popular? Don't do it at the expense of your real friends. Want a boy to like you? Don't dress like a skank. Want to go to the midnight release of Breaking Dawn? Don't do it sober.
So if you're got a problem, big or small, email it to Dr. FYA, and we'll give you our v. best, most scientific advice. Plus, we invite our community to chime in with their thoughts in the comments, so you'll get a dozen perspectives for the price of one, and since the price is free, well, that's like, a major score.
Today, we've got a letter from Rebbecca, who's hoping to help out her brother:
Hey Dr. FYA!
I am your most loving teenaged reader, and I need book recommendations. My brother is 16, and he has very serious problems. He smokes, drugs and cigarettes, and he doesn't give one, much less two shits about school. He is also depressed, and he is at a school, a very expensive school, to help him. The problem is he refuses to try. I think he wants to get better, but is not motivated in any way, shape, or form. I know that books can't perform perfect miracles, but in the past he had a really close relationship to books, and he's started reading again in these "troubled times." I was wondering if you guys could give me ideas of books that would help him. I really am not asking for a miracle, or a self help book, he'd kill me. But he needs to get into his tiny little drugged-up brain that he can get better, but he needs to TRY. I hope like hell that he will get better, but he needs a kick in the ass. Very badly. Anyways, if you guys could use your database of teen books, that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!
First of all, you are an awesome sister, and your brother is lucky to have you. We completely agree that books have the power to change lives, and we are totally inspired by yr attempts to reach out to him through literature. We came up with a list of books with legit (mostly male) protagonists who go through a heavy amount of shizz, but still emerge with hope. These books are compelling and real, and we hope they'll speak to your brother.
From Megan: Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas is a good one to check out. Protagonist Steve is a smart teen with a lot of baggage. He's angry, hates his dad, and is basically stoned all the time. Until he is made to write a paper about himself and is forced to face the events that got him to this point.
From Jenny: Everybody Sees The Ants by A.S. King. Here's why.
From Posh: King Dork by Frank Portman. Tom Henderson is one of my favorite YA heroes of all time. He's dark, funny and super horny, and his search for meaning is both heartbreaking and hilarious. P.S. I really need to review this book.
From Meghan: Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King. Here's why.
From Erin: Hidden by Tomas Mournian. It's got a lot of drugs in it, and it doesn't exactly moralize against them, BUT it's about teens that have A LOT of issues, so maybe he'll see his life isn't so bad? Also, Going Bovine!
Rebecca, we truly hope these books help your brother, and with a sister like you, we have no doubt that he can get better.
P.S. Fellow YA doctors, feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments. And remember: a champ can a day keeps the angst away!