Each time I discover a contemporary YA novel, it causes me to reflect back on my own youth and how certain themes played a significant role in my younger years. All of this propelled the idea to write my own letter, and ask others to write a letter to their YA selves as well.
Over the next month bloggers, readers, and authors will be sharing their open letters to their YA selves. Please join me as we reflect back on our youths, recommend books to our younger selves, and share personal stories waiting to be told.
– Ginger of GReads!
Dear Hazel circa 2009,
It’s me- well, you. In the future.
You know, whenever I think about when I was truly happy, I think about you. You love life so much. You adore your crazy friends. You feel relaxed about school. You’re passionate about your family. You’re just glad to be you. Sophomore year is a blast and you can’t get enough.
I hate to be the bearer of heartbreaking news but life isn’t going to be so perfect and good. Come junior year you’ll be torn from your best friends, put in a different class from them. Things will change. You’ll also be very pressured to keep up good grades because you want your college applications next year to look good. When senior year comes, you’ll be anxious about college entrance exams. You’ll be so disappointed when you get into your dream university but your parents won’t let you go. But the most heartbreaking of all, you’ll lose the person you love the most- your grandma. You won’t cry at first but you’ll feel like you’ve died inside.
You’ll try to move on when you get to college. You’ll be hopeful because you’re still attending one of the most prestigious schools in the Philippines and because you’ll meet so many interesting new people. But it’ll be a tough adjustment. You won’t feel good enough even when you try so hard. You’ll fail a subject for the first time in your whole life. You’ll lose one of your best friends forever. You’ll cry many shattered tears. You’ll feel tired and hopeless and sad.
And it’ll feel too much like a black hole sucking you in. You’ll want to give up.
But here’s what I know: you won’t. Because you’re strong Hazel. Even when you cry, you’re strong. You know how to accept your feelings and you let yourself feel them. You’ll get up when you fall. You’ll make hard decisions- transfer schools even though people may call you weak for it- but you’re strong because you’re doing what’s best for you and not anyone else. You’ll get through the dark tunnels, YA Hazel. I believe in you.
Another thing I’m sure of is that you won’t be alone through it all. Your friends, no matter how life changes, will be there for you. Your family will always be your rock. But most importantly, you’ll have books.
The stories you’ll read will save you. They’ll be your anchor and they’ll be what grounds you. They’ll make you fall in love, they’ll cheer you up, they’ll give you hope. Always hold on tight to them. Let them knock your heart right open.
Like these books will one day:
The list is really long, Hazel. You’ll love many books. They’ll give you adventures and inspire you to be alive. You’ll slowly find yourself in them. I’m not yet sure when but I’ll keep you posted.
Rooting for you, Hazel of Year 2015