{Fireside Fridays} My Five Favorite Books for Teen Girls

You know what I’m talking about—those non-fiction Christian self-help-type books specifically targeted for teen girls. You’ve probably seen ones focused on a certain topic, like purity. I’ve read my fair share of these types of books, and I’ll be honest: A lot of them are, well, not so great. I don’t mean in content—most of them have good, solid messages. But in terms of writing quality, an engaging style, and the ability to stick with me, many don’t quite make it. They all start to say the same thing in the same way. However, not all of these books are like that. I’ve found a few that have unique, engaging writing styles and powerful messages that still inspire me, years after having read them. Are you ready?

Also, I’d like to point out that I’m sure there are many similar books geared to teen guys, but as I’m not one, I haven’t read any of them. I apologize, guys.

{My Five Favorite Books for Teen Girls}

1. Do Hard Things // Alex & Brett Harris

Okay, so this is for guys too (go read it, men), but it’s so good that I have to mention it. The basic premise of this book is found in the subtitle: “a teenage rebellion against low expectations.” I remember one time a Sunday School teacher prefaced a class by saying, “Now, I know you all are teenagers and don’t care much about God or listening to teachers.” That’s the kind of “low expectations” this book is out to combat. When you hear that kind of thing enough—when you get the “you’re a teen, so you must be lazy and disrespectful” vibe enough—you start to live up to it. When you realize you can pass classes without working too hard, you don’t work as hard. When you feel peer pressure strangling you, you stop standing up for truth.

And in doing so, you’re wasting the best years of your life.

Yeah, your best years. In this book, Alex and Bretth—teenagers themselves when they wrote this book—explain why those low expectations are so ridiculous, reveal how you might be accepting them, and help you get back on track and start making the most of these incredibly valuable years that you’ll never have again. Everybody—even if you aren’t a teen anymore—needs to read this book. I mean it. Plus, it’s really funny and easy to read. So there. No excuse.

2. Praying for Your Future Husband // Robin Jones Gunn & Tricia Goyer

Praying for your future husband is just one of things you think you should do, but really? First off, it’s weird and frankly seems quite pointless. You’re praying for someone whom you know absolutely nothing about except that you’re supposed to marry them someday, apparently? Plus, what on earth do you pray about? His handsomeness? Yeah, probably not. “Please let him marry me?” Well, duh, of course he’s going to. But in this book, Robin and Tricia explain both why and how we should pray for our future husbands.

What I love is their stories, which they unfold through each chapter: Robin was your typical “good” Christian girl who thought she’d found the man of her dreams. Tricia got pregnant from her high school boyfriend. Pretty different, huh? But each story reveals truths about marriage, real love, and how the power of prayer impacts both. I also love how the book is set up. After the first part, which explains why you should be praying for your future husband, each chapter talks about one characteristic to pray for, such as commitment or integrity. Each women has a section where they tie in their story to this attribute. Then there’s a list of prayer requests relating to that chapter’s topic, a sample prayer, a space for journaling, and a quote or verse. It’s well laid-out, easy to use, and so extremely helpful. Plus, Robin and Tricia also talk about how to be content now, wherever God has you. Praying for your future husband is not just about helping your future marriage be healthy. It’s about strengthening your faith now, being a blessing in your current relationships, and trusting God in whatever path He puts you on.

3. The Divine Dance // Shannon Kubiak Primacero

“If the world is your stage, who are you performing for?” the front cover asks, and boy, was that a question I needed to answer. This book was a breath of fresh air for me, a path to freedom. Basically, Shannon uses the idea of dancing as a metaphor for our lives—how we dance is how we live and our audience is whoever we are trying to impress. All too often, she says, we are dancing for peers, teachers, even the applause of strangers. But when that happens, your steps falter, your strength gives out, and sometimes you collapse on stage in front of everyone. Worst of all, you lose your love of dancing. You are constantly masquerading, hiding behind your costume, wearing yourself out with the pretending.

But when you let the One who loves you best lead you into a small room where there are no stagelights, no glitter, no vast seas of faces—then you can truly dance and enjoy the dancing. Okay, so it sounds all nice, but how do you live it out? Shannon beautifully moves from the allegory of dancing to real life application, weaving in her own story of trying to impress others and how she found freedom in resting in God’s approval. That’s an important point she makes—it’s not about what you do. Ultimately, it’s not about your dance. It’s about your Audience of One and how much He delights in you, in all your imperfections. Because we can wear ourselves out trying to dance perfectly for God, too. Right audience, wrong motives. Instead, we must remind ourselves what He thinks of us and stop trying so hard to be perfect, because we can’t. When we realize how much we are loved, it frees us to dance with abandon and joy.

4. Lies Young Women Believe // Nancy Leigh DeMoss & Dannah Gresh

I wish I could just quote the Amazon blurb and leave it at that because it’s so good, but I’ll leave you the link and attempt to offer my own impressions. In short, Nancy and Dannah (I’m realizing how many of these books were co-authored. Huh.) list 25 lies young women believe based on extensive interviews and surveys they’ve conducted among girls throughout the nation. Then they combat each lie with truth, both with statistical and scientific facts and Bible verses. They share their own struggles in these areas and stories of girls they’ve met who have fought these lies and won. It’s a very personal, real book, with lots of humor, heart, and hope. They conveniently split the lies into groups, like lies about God or lies about guys. One thing I love about this book are the amazing graphics and layout. It’s a joy just to look at, and it’s well-written, which makes the messages so much stronger.

When I first read this book, I thought I’d got it all mostly figured out. I’m a good a girl, right? But this book revealed that no matter how strong a Christian you are, you are still susceptible to believing lies. Women especially are—consider Eve. Right from the beginning, we’ve been prone to falling to deception. When Nancy and Dannah so clearly laid out these common lies, I realized how I do believe many of them. Not all applied to me, but some did. It was immensely encouraging to realize I’m not alone and to find help in focusing on the truth.

Here are some examples of the lies they discuss (thank you, Amazon blurb):

“I know God should be the only thing that satisfies, but if it could be Him and my friends, then I could be happy.”

“It seems like I have been struggling with depression forever. I always feel like I am not good enough.”

“I tell myself that I don’t really listen to the song lyrics, but once I hear a song a few times and start thinking about what they’re saying I realize that it’s too late.  It’s already stuck in my head.”

“For me, the whole wife and mom thing is overrated. It isn’t cool to want a husband and a family.”

5. Graceful // Emily P. Freeman

Attention, all those skimming this blog post: Stop. Now. Because this book is my favorite one on the list. It’s one of those that has literally changed my life. I am going to quote the blurb on this one, because it’s such a good summary of this book (bonus: it’s short):

For the prom queen, the athlete, the bookworm, and the dreamer.

For the good test taker and the strict list maker. For the rule follower, the fear wallower, the messy, and the misunderstood. For the self-critic, the silent judge, and the girl who feels invisible.

For the girl who is tired of trying and the one afraid to fail.

These words are for you.

You don’t have to be perfect. But do you trust the One who is?

The God who came to save you also came to live with you, in you, today.

If you’ve been struggling with expectations–from your parents, your teachers, your friends, and even yourself–Graceful is for you. Are you trying hard to catch up but aren’t sure what it is you’re chasing? Read and be set free.

I don’t know about you, but this fits me to the T. In her beautiful, honest, empathetic way, Emily uses her own life and the lives of the girls in her youth group to address the fact that so many of us are striving to “do it right.” We feel like we’re missing something in our Christian walk, but what is it? What do we have to do?

And that’s her point: There’s nothing we have to do. No way, you say. Give me a checklist to the Christian faith, and I’ll do it. But it doesn’t work like that. Being a Christian means a relationship with Jesus, not a checklist. Emily invites us to rest in Jesus’ love for us, in the fact that He has already done everything there is to do. It’s hard to grasp, and sometimes it feels like, how do I apply this to my life? Emily helps with that by addressing one kind of girl—one example of how we strive to get it right—each chapter, like the Activist (hiding behind her good causes). I found that I related to most of the kinds of girls. There’s guaranteed to be one that resonates with you. Instead of hiding behind whatever we find our worth in—our good causes, our dreams, our grades, our reputations, etc.—Emily encourages us to hide in Jesus and shows how to do that.

I think the reason this book moved me so much was that it’s for “good girls.” A lot of teen girl books seem to assume that everyone is doing drugs and alcohol and rebelling against parents or God. None of those apply to me. But just because I look good on the outside and really do want to be good inside doesn’t mean I don’t have my struggles. Emily can completely relate to the good girls, and she offers words of hope for us: You’re not alone. You don’t have to get it right. You don’t have to be perfect. I’ve reread her words several times, and with each reading, I find renewed love for Jesus—because Emily has reminded me how much He loves me—and freedom from the pressure to be perfect. I can’t recommend this book enough.

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite teen girl books? Do any of these sound like something you need?

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7 thoughts on “{Fireside Fridays} My Five Favorite Books for Teen Girls

  1. I’ve read a couple of these before, but Graceful in particular looks really good. I’ve been meaning to read some of Emily P. Freeman’s other books so I’ll definitely have to pick up this one. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  2. Hi! First off, let me tell you that what you post on your blog is amazing; I am a Kingdom Pen member, and when I found your blog site, I felt I had found a kindred spirit. Thank you for sharing with the world information about these books; I’ve read four of them and heard of the fifth, and they have all made an impact on my life. I hope they can make an impact on others through your reviews of them! You’re awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

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