This extraordinary book, edited by 14-year-old Nora Coon, presents twenty-one true stories by young women aged 11 to 19. Funny, rueful, and wise, these essays are about what happens to us all—the first bra, getting a driver’s license and being alone behind the wheel for the first time, dealing with a devastating disease and embarrassing scars, entering high school, getting a job, falling in (and out of) love. Other young women write about a bat mitzvah, a quinceañera, and a Hopi corn grinding ceremony. They write about participating in a teen beauty pageant and leaving the very traditional Amish church to find a new life in the modern world. Two girls tell what it’s like to move from Vietnam to the U.S. and from the U.S. to Croatia.


“Getting older,” Nora Coon tells us, “doesn’t always mean getting a great car or having the perfect birthday. But no matter how you experience your coming-of-age, we all deal with the journey of growing up…” (p. 6). The voices are memorable, and the girls are real. Not only will teenage girls love this book, but their mothers and grandmothers are likely to mist up as they read it, too, and remember their own younger years.


~review by Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D.

Editor: Nora E. Coon

Beyond Words Publishing, 2003