No one has ever said, “Being a teenager is so easy!” In Fierce Ink Press’ anthology Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL, it features real life stories from authors about their teen lives.
There’s everything from love and friendship, bullies, disabilities, drugs and addiction, suicide, unrequited love, self-esteem and body issues, and just trying to fit in. Some of the short stories are light-hearted, bringing a smile to your face while others show a darker side to teenage life. Every story gives you a chance to take something away from it, whether it’s insight on how other people may be feeling, learning something from someone else’s experiences or simply connecting to a story because you’ve had a similar experience.
I connected with nearly every story in some way, big or small. The issues the authors brought up in their own stories I’ve either personally connected with or know someone who has. My two favourite short stories in this anthology were: Jo Treggiari’s Love You Like Suicide and Patti Larsen’s Prince Nameless.
I adored Treggiari’s writing style. It was so descriptive and vivid. It’s how I like most of stories to be written. I could imagine everything in my head so easily. The story also reminded me of a few friends who have gotten mixed up with hardcore drugs and I saw what it did to them. Luckily, one of my friends did sober up and has changed his life around. I’m so proud of him!
There was also a mention of suicide too. I think it was only until I was on the brink of being a teenager that I finally understood the heartache of loss and death. I had heard about a distant cousin who committed suicide, but I never knew him so an emotional impact was never there. But later in my life, I got to know a very kind girl who had been about my age at the time (maybe eighteen, nineteen). I met her playing outdoor soccer. We also played indoor soccer together too. One night before heading to an indoor soccer game, I got a call from a teammate that our fellow teammate had committed suicide. I had only known her a few months, but it was still heartbreaking to hear. I was so shocked and confused. She was so friendly and always smiling. It definitely puts into perspective that you never truly know what someone is truly feeling.
Larsen’s story Prince Nameless is one that everyone can relate to. I think we’ve all been there, having a crush on someone but those feelings are never reciprocated. While I wasn’t as infatuated or totally wrapped up in my crushes’ lives, I can understand feeling worried about what they might think of me and understand what rejection is like. She also shared a little bit about her geeky self. Personally, I didn’t discover tabletop roleplay games until later in life, instead I was a shy, book worm nerd. While all these stories are non-fiction, I enjoyed the creative side-story Larsen included, which was like a parable for her younger self that she may have wished she read back then.
Whether you are young or old, we all have to overcome obstacles and deal with life’s struggles. Sometimes it might feel like we’re the only ones stuck in some horrible mess or the bad will never become good again, but I think Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL reminds us that we’re not alone and to stay strong because better days are ahead.
Want to do some good in the world?
Well, something cool Fierce Ink Press is doing is giving twenty per cent of sales from the Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL anthology to charity. The proceeds will be going to Kids Help Phone, which I think is an appropriate and well-deserving charity.
*Disclosure: An advance reading copy was provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions within this review are solely my own, not that of the publisher or the author.