That’s why high school, or a crappy job, or any other restrictive circumstance can be dangerous: They make dreams too painful to bear. To avoid longing, we hunker down, wait, and resolve to just survive. Great art becomes a reminder of the art you want to be making, and of the gigantic world outside of your small, seemingly inescapable one. We hide from great things because they inspire us, and in this state, inspiration hurts.
—  One of the best articles I’ve ever read. Rookie Mag. By Spencer Tweedy.
My goofiest-sounding secret is that I also believe in magic. Sometimes I call it God and sometimes I call it light, and I believe in it because every now and then I read a really good book or hear a really good song or have a really good conversation with a friend and they seem to have some kind of shine to them. The list I keep of these moments in the back of my journal is comprised less of times when I was laughing or smiling and more of times when I felt like I could feel the colors in my eyes deepening from the display before me. Times in which I felt I was witnessing an all-encompassing representation of life driven by an understanding that, coincidence or not, our existence is a peculiar thing, and perhaps the greatest way to honor it is to just be human. To be happy AND sad, and everything else. And yeah, living is a pain, and I say I hate everyone and everything, and I don’t exude much enthusiasm when sandwiched between fluorescent lighting and vinyl flooring for seven hours straight, and I will probably mumble a bunch about how much I wish I could sleep forever the next time I have to wake up at 6 AM. But make no mistake about it: I really do like living. I really, truly do.
—  Tavi Gevinson

I have lived my whole life swearing there’s no truth more complete than Walt Whitman’s parenthetical line in the poem “Song of Myself”: “I am large, I contain multitudes.” I believe we are capable of anything—that anyone can be driven to do extreme harm; that anyone could be moved to radiate extreme love. I believe a person could switch from open-hearted tenderness to cruelty. I believe in nuance. I believe in contradiction. I believe in mistakes, and giving people the space, and the right, to make them.

But I believe in abuse, too. Clear-cut abuse. I believe that sometimes nuance is unhelpful in abusive situations, especially when it involves telling yourself that your abuser can “sometimes be kind and loving,” especially when your faith in someone’s multitudes keeps you in an abusive relationship instead of getting the hell out. I believe that trying to love someone who consistently hurts, and erases, and destroys you can turn you into an empty shell of nothing. These beliefs have been harder-earned.

—  “Empathy, In Excess” by Jenny Zhang, in Rookie Magazine. 2015.

It’s Teen Read Week and the theme is Get Away At Your Library so we’re celebrating books of EVERY genre imaginable that whisked us away from everyday life. Read on for 13 books that do an exceptional job of freeing you from reality: whether it’s to a fantasy world, the past, or simply into someone else’s shoes!

1. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Sydney’s always felt invisible, but after her brother lands in jail because of a drunk-driving accident, she starts to question her place in the family and the world.

2. Atlantia by Ally Condie

Rio’s lived her whole life in the underwater city of Atlantia until one decision changes everything and she uncovers long-hidden truths about her mother’s death, her destiny, and the complex system that governs the divide between land and sea.

3. The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Ever since Hayley’s father returned from Iraq, she’s been on the move with him as he tries to escape the demons that torture him. Now, they’re back in the town she grew up in, but does she really have a chance at a normal life?

4. Isla and the Happily ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Half New York love story, half Parisian romance, the story of Isla and Josh is one that confronts the reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

5. Popular by Maya Van Wagenen

The true story of how Maya Van Wagenen followed a 1950′s popularity guide and what it taught her in a modern-day Texas high school.

6. The Young Elites by Marie Lu

Escape into the mind of a heroine who’s descending quickly into villain. And peek inside the sequel, THE ROSE SOCIETY, which just came out! 

7. Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar

Tired of your high school routine? Jump into Scott’s, which is made infinitely better by his honest, hilarious tips for survival inside and out of the halls. And peek inside the sequel, SOPHOMORES AND OTHER OXYMORONS, here!

8. Don’t Fail Me Now by Una LaMarche

Jump on a road trip with Michelle and Leah, who have absolutely nothing in common except the man they’re journeying to see – the biological father who abandoned them when they were little.

9. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Jay Asher’s international bestseller explores the idea of how everything is connected and the effect we have on those around us.

10. Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings

A story of friendship, identity, and transformation set in Hawaii that will instantly transport you to the sun and sand.

11. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

The tale of twins Noah and Jude is a brilliant burst of art, family, love, and tragedy that will take your heart to new heights.

12. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

Travel back in time to the Great Depression with the tale of nine working-class boys from the American West who at the 1936 Olympics showed the world what true grit really meant.

13. Rookie Yearbook Four by Tavi Gevinson

A collection of art, photographs, tutorials, advice and interviews perfectly-curated to inspire you and help you celebrate the beauty, pain, and awkwardness of being a teenager. 


Ask a Grown Woman with Julia Louis-Dreyfus

“All people—no matter who they are, or how they look, or even how they behave suffer through insecurities and a feeling of low self confidence—myself included, by the way. […] When I was in high school, in junior high, I suffered with a weight problem, and it made me feel bad about myself, and I didn’t feel pretty. And now that I’m older I can tell you something that I know—not that I think, but that I know. Beauty comes in all different sizes, shapes, colors, genders, everything. Beauty is everywhere. And YOU are beautiful. Even if you’re not feeling it, okay? That’s really important to remember. I know that this is the case.”