Editor’s Pick: “The Drama Years” by Haley Kilpatrick (Free Press, 2012)
Drama. It occupies the lives of most tween and teen girls in today’s highly competitive landscape, at a time in their lives when everything seems to be constantly changing: from their own biology to technology to fashion to relationships. Parents and mentors are often unsure of how to help, even if they too were once at the center of conflicts at school, at home, and pretty much everywhere else.
As the parent of two daughters and a mentor of teen girls, I am in awe of what girls today accomplish, and also afraid for what they face and will face on a daily basis. In my experience, the key to helping girls succeed lies first in understanding them exactly as they are. That’s where author and founder of the non-profit group Girl Talk, Haley Kilpatrick, comes in. She interviewed hundreds of middle school and high school girls about what they really go through and what they really think about boys, family conflicts, friends, faith, popularity, body image, and more. The result is “The Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle School–Bullies, Brands, Body Image, and More,” otherwise known as required reading for anyone wanting raw and sincere insight into the world of the middle school girl.
In addition to direct quotes from real girls (whose names have been changed for anonymity), the book provides practical strategies for parents, teachers, and mentors to relate with and enhance the lives of teen girls.