All I Know Now by Carrie Hope Fletcher
You may know Carrie Hope Fletcher from her YouTube channel, It’sWayPastMyBedTime. Or you might know her from her portrayal of Eponine in the West End’s production of Les Miserables. Or perhaps you know her brother, Tom Fletcher, from the bands McFly/McBusted. Or even her sister-in-law, Giovanna Fletcher, author of British chick lit such as Billy and Me. However you know her, if you do, you know Carrie is a phenomenal person with a good heart, values, and a “big sister” to many. If you don’t know her, you should.
All I Know Now started as Carrie’s blog, where she gave advice to teens about growing up, boys, bullies, friends, and following your dreams. Just out of the teenage years herself, at 22, Carrie still remembers her own teenage struggles with clarity, but has enough hindsight to have learned a thing or two. She’s not perfect, and she doesn’t claim to be, but she offers what teens need: a “handbook” of sorts about growing up gracefully written by someone who isn’t an “adult”.
There are sections dealing with a majority of the things you deal with when growing up, and answers all the questions you were too afraid to ask your parents: how to deal with bullies and recognize if you are one; what to do if your boyfriend wants to have sex and you’re not ready; how to make friends and realize it’s not all about you; how to “properly” use the Internet; and so on.
The writing style is easy and conversational; it reads with Carrie’s voice and is almost like an extended vlog from her channel. She uses easy examples and references Harry Potter and pop culture frequently, something I love.
As a 28-year-old female who has successfully navigated adolescence into adulthood (that’s a scary thought), I can agree with Carrie on many points. She and I have similar values, and I could directly relate with many of the experiences she recognized. The only difference is it took me a LOT longer to realize a lot of her points than she did.
That being said, the book doesn’t really help me anymore. Sure, it makes some good points that I still am too shy to deal with myself, but at least I’m aware of them. And while certain sections had me like “YES!”, a majority of the book, to me, wasn’t helpful anymore, simply because I’ve already navigated those waters and come out alright. I know how to deal with bullies (ignore/agree with/walk away/tell someone if it gets too bad), and seeing as how I’m engaged and not in an abusive relationship, I don’t need to be told what it’s like to kiss someone.
When I was a teenager, however, this book would have been incredibly helpful. It would’ve helped me feel less alone, and I think that’s the magic of this book. Carrie is truly a good role model for young girls to look up to, and her honorary title of “Big Sister” is well deserved and fitting. I plan to not only use the section on social media as additional content in my social media unit in school, but will keep a copy in my classroom library, on hand for any student who needs it.
Well done, Carrie.
The U.S. paperback release date is set for September 1, 2015