Break These Rules. 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing by Luke Reynolds

By Luke Reynolds

Middle grades and younger grownup authors communicate candidly at the unstated "rules" of formative years during this selection of relocating, inspiring, and infrequently humorous essays. This specified quantity encourages readers to damage with conformity and defy age-old, and customarily erroneous, orthodoxy—including such conventions as Boys cannot be light, sort, or caring; One needs to put on Abercrombie & Fitch to be able to healthy in; Girls may still act like girls; and One needs to visit collage after completing excessive school. With contributions from acclaimed, bestselling, and award-winning younger grownup authors—including Gary D. Schmidt, writer of The Wednesday Wars; Matthew quickly, writer of The Silver Linings Playbook; Sara Zarr, writer of Story of a Girl; and Wendy Mass, writer of A Mango-Shaped Space—this assortment encourages individuality by means of breaking frequently held norms, making it a terrific source for tweens and teenagers.

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He had gotten to the point where it seemed easier to let everything go—all the voices and all the messages and all the tunnels that lead to What You Are Supposed to Be and Want in Life—and instead to stop trying. Because the rules are everywhere, and they’re crushing so many people the same way they crushed my student: rules for how a man must act, how a woman must look, who to be friends with, who not to be friends with, how to talk, how to dress, how to think, what to buy, what not to buy, how to feel good, how not to feel good, what grades to get, what college to attend, what to care about, and what love is.

Radical listening asks: What do I really think about this? What do I know? What do I want to know? ” But you are. Radical listening can deconstruct and reconstruct and rock your world. Stop. Look. Listen. Sit. Lie down. Just be. Don’t try to think of something. Or anything. Or this thing. Or that thing. Listen hard, and let the thoughts that have been tiptoeing around the perimeters of your soul, waiting patiently to be welcomed in, let them whisper in your ear and help you decide if you really want to be just friends, if college is in your future, if your mother was right, or if you need to think about it some more.

True life. Write however you like and however you can—on scraps of paper, in a beautiful keepsake notebook, using digital technology, through art—play with your thoughts, listen to and collaborate with them to tell your story. I write to create opportunities to listen. To step outside of myself and my affinities into completely unknown people and worlds. If I listen well enough, I can get to a place where it’s more important for me to know another heart than to find justification for my own feelings, or to prove my point.

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