There are so many things that came to mind when I wrote the title for this blog post. I think we spend so much of our lives en route from one place to another, one stage to another, one goal to another, that “in between” is a fairly common state of being for most of us. But the in between I want to talk about today is being twelve.
Remember twelve? Not a little kid anymore but not yet a teenager.
Twelve, it turns out now that my own kid is there, is just as challenging today as it was when I knew just how many months it was until I was officially a teen.
This post, though, isn’t philosophical, but practical. because there are two areas in particular that we’re finding even harder than they were when I was twelve: clothes and books. I’m hoping maybe someone out there has some suggestions.
Like her friends, my twelve-year-old has her own sense of style. She knows what she likes and is very clear on what she doesn’t. The problem is, there is almost nothing for her to choose from, and not in a picky way, but a literal one. Style-wise, she’s too old for the kids’ stores, and what little might be appropriate of the stock in stores geared to young adults is almost all too big for her still. We can spend an afternoon shopping and find nothing for her to try on that’s even close to right for her, let alone anything to buy. (We did just this yesterday.) The tween market is huge, and they have money to spend. They’re outgrowing their clothes faster than we can keep up with, especially given the lack of stock to choose from. Why are retailers missing out on this goldmine? Or maybe it’s us. Please tell me we’re missing something and you know of a great place to get age-appropriate, well-fitting, cool clothes for girls that won’t bankrupt us. Anyone?
Books are another issue. My girl is a reader. She stays up later than she should nearly every night because she gets lost in a book, and there’s nothing she likes better than a lazy weekend morning when she can stay in bed reading for hours. A trip intoVancouver inevitably includes a stop at the “good” Chapters, where she can usually find a book or several. But it’s becoming harder and harder to find books for her the more she depletes the available stock. Here’s the thing: she doesn’t like fantasy. Have you looked at the teen shelves lately? Admittedly, she’s a bit picky about her books (aren’t we all?). But what she most likes to read is contemporary fiction about girls her age or a bit older than she is. Not historical or mysteries or fantasy or magic or, heaven forbid, vampires. She’s outgrown and/or read most of the contemporary stuff in the 9-12 section, but isn’t quite ready for the teen contemporary fiction with protagonists who are finishing high school, having sex, dealing with grown-up stuff. She’s read a few that skirt the edge of that, but isn’t there yet. She chooses her own books and put down at least ten at Chapters yesterday after reading the back because they felt “too old”.
She does occasionally branch out from her favourite genre. She loved Hunger Games and Eric Walters’s We All Fall Down. But what she’s drawn to in the bookstore is Susin Nielsen’s Dear George Clooney, books by Julia DeVillers and Joanna Philbin to name a couple I can think of off the top of my head. She likes series about dancers and camp and that kind of stuff.
Any thoughts on great contemporary young teen fiction that might suit her?
Thanks for any thoughts you may have on this!