Cruising Through the Teens (Easier Than it Seems)

Jerry Schaefer
Shirespress (2021)
ISBN: 9781605715483
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (01/2022)

Okay, as you know by now (reading other reviews I’ve penned) I’m going to be honest with you. When I saw this title, I laughed out loud and rolled my eyes. I didn’t buy it. After all, as a parent who had a teenager, let me tell you single people out there that it ain’t easy. And, as a human who was a teenager—and had to watch my own parents roll their eyes constantly at the dumb decisions I made—I can tell you, it wasn’t easy for them. I mean, teenage angst is a very real thing. During those years things happen to all of us: first love, first traumatic break-up, trying to deal with sex, trying to listen to all the “right” people, but also have fun…just not too much fun, the pain and agony of high school if you are not the cheerleader or the quarterback—all of these things, and more, occur when those teenage years from h**l hit us upside the head.

Now, this author put together this guide so that it’s focused on the teen, not the parent. This is not a guide for parents who are pulling out their hair trying to figure out what to do about that ridiculous boyfriend who can’t seem to pull up his pants and put a belt on (even though the 80s are so over), or how to manage everything from bullies to “F” grades that are appearing on report cards. No, Mr. Schaefer says that he wrote this book in order for adolescents to be able to calm themselves when chaos reigns in those teen years filled with chaos.

The biggest upside is the fact that this is not a sermon. No teen (or adult, let’s be honest) wants to be preached to when not under the roof of their chosen place to pray. And Schaefer makes sure he does not do that even once. The advice is real, easy-to-understand, and takes on all of today’s subjects – from social media and technology, to how teens need their own alone-time in order to rejuvenate themselves, go out into the world again, and take it on when they’re feeling 100% .

He also shows the teenagers that once they know and understand themselves better, and what they want to accomplish in their life, that they can then find a way to chill out and set themselves on “cruise control.” Now, the author doesn’t say this means everything on the planet will be just fine and you’ve found some nugget of information no other teenager has ever found; but he does say that even though the negatives and positives will come, if you’re on “cruise control” and have maintained a certain process to take time out for yourself, then those “scary” teenage years won’t be so scary anymore.

Broken down into sixteen chapters, readers will touch upon a variety of topics: from the evolution of wisdom to dealing with cliques in school; from social media issues to maintaining good health, this book covers as much information as possible to help someone reboot and feel better. Which is difficult, seeing as that the book tops out at only sixty-seven pages and the illustrations done by Gabriel Berrón are extremely fun and complement the author’s words.

This is a small guide that’s concise, entertaining, and does impart wisdom. Would high school have been easier with this book in my back pocket, though? Not really sure. But, I have to say, it sure wouldn’t have hurt!

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