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Hold On To Your Dreams

The letter below is part of an ongoing series featuring letters from authors to their teen selves. If you're a published author who'd like to participate in this series, we'd love to have you. Just click here and let us know you're interested. Today's guest is Charlene Thomas, author of Seton Girls, out later this week.


Dear Teen Charlene—

You did it! Future You is proud and Teen You should be, too.

I know you really meant it all those times you said you wanted to be a writer. And how much you loved the stories you were creating even back then, when you were “borrowing” Dad’s laptop to write in bed until way too late on a school night. Remember the speech you made in your public speaking class, when the topic was what are you going to do after high school? and you said “write!”

Well, you did.

But that’s not why you should be so proud.

What you know now that you didn’t know then is that the way you always thought about people was right. Holding them close and cherishing them the best way you knew how. Investing in friendships that would last, and last, and last.

Charlene as a teen

What you know now that you didn’t know then is that dreaming gets harder the older you get. That the pressure to be “normal” and follow a certain path can become crushing from both the outside world and within yourself. But you’re still a dreamer, despite the odds. And I think that’s really, really cool.

What you know now that you didn’t know then is that you’re going to lose. You’ll lose what you want. You’ll lose people you love. But you’ll discover how to not be afraid and believe in goodness above all else.

What you know now that you didn’t know then is how little control you actually have in this life. That you can study the most and try your hardest, but what isn’t meant to be yours will never be. But there’s a shiny part to that realization, too. Because what is meant to be, will always be.

You reached your high school goal, Teen Char. You have a book deal! Your debut novel SETON GIRLS will be releasing August 30, 2022. You have the most amazing agent and an incredible editor who believe in you more than you ever would have imagined. And it feels so, so right. But, still—that’s not the best thing that will happen for you.

Because above and beyond anything else, you’ll learn and grow the entire way. You’ll cry and laugh and then cry some more—but spoiler alert? You’re gonna be okay.

Better than okay.

You’re gonna be great.

And, most importantly, you’re still going to be you.

Love you to the moon and back.

Xo Charlene


About the Author: Charlene Thomas started writing because she had a tendency to love telling stories just as much as she loved living them. At sixteen, she wrote a manuscript that won Scholastic's National Novel Silver Award and later went on to minor in creative writing at North Carolina State University. Her debut novel, Seton Girls, is a powerful story about football, power, and consent.


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