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Zest Books Announces New Line of Memoirs for Young Adult Readers: True Stories—with No Sugar Added

September, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, California – Zest Books, an independent publisher of nonfiction books for teens, is proud to announce the launch of a new line of “True Stories” titles in fall 2012. Showcasing memoirs and first-person accounts, these books take readers deep inside the lives of an amazing set of young people as they struggle to figure out who they are and who they want to be—often in the face of some very serious personal struggles. Debut titles include Dear Teen Me, Regine’s Book, and Zoo Station, books thatmove beyond the normal platitudes and stereotypes of teenage life,” says Zest Books Editorial Director Daniel Harmon, “and instead show real teens dealing with their problems without any unnecessary filters.”

The first “True Stories” title to release is Regine’s Book: A Teen Girl’s Last Words, by Regine Stokke (October 23, 2012 · $16.99 hardcover · 978-1-936976-20-1). In this book, 16-year-old Regine is diagnosed with leukemia—but instead of just struggling to survive, she struggles to live. She manages to stay engaged with the world around her through her blog, and the community she creates there turns into something more than just a support group; it also becomes a source of solace, and a place of reflection—a place where Regine, along with her readers, confronts life, death, art, family, friends, and the world at large. Kirkus Reviews calls this inspiring story “heartfelt and visually appealing.”

Coming later in October is Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves, by E. Kristin Anderson and Miranda Kenneally (October 30, 2012 · $14.99 paperback · 978-1-936976-21-8), a book of advice and guidance from 70 top young adult authors–including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder. Like all of our titles in this new line, “Dear Teen Me is infused with a sense of youthfulness and urgency, but the catalysts vary quite widely from letter to letter,” clarifies Zest Books Creative Director and Publisher Hallie Warshaw. “The writers in Dear Teen Me take themselves back to high school to ask themselves what they could have done better, and what they should have done differently. Whether it was slowing down, speaking up, or just taking a different approach to things, these letters offer essential insights on the perils—both large and small—that challenge American teens, and offer advice about how to manage life’s pivotal moments.” Dear Teen Me will be featured in Zest Books’ first-ever blog tour, which will include 116 bloggers!

In January 2013, Zest Books publishes a new translation of Christiane F.’s classic autobiography, now titled Zoo Station [A Memoir] by Christiane F. (January 2013 · $14.99 paperback · 978-1-936976-22-5). This new edition releases 35 years after the original bestselling edition was published, and just over 30 years after the film adaptation, with soundtrack by David Bowie, caused a sensation due to its vivid portrait of teen drug abuse in 1970s Berlin. Zoo Station is the common name of the notorious Berlin subway station where drug abuse, prostitution, and crime ran rampant in the divided city. This edgy memoir chronicles how the timeless teenage pressures—to fit in, stand out, and just “be cool,”–can cause harrowing consequences, as well as startling insights, in any decade.

July 2013 brings How to Lose Everything by Philip Mattheis (July 2013; $14.99 Paperback; $14.99 paperback · ISBN: 978-1-936976-40-9). This is the story of four young men, Phillip, Steve, Alex, and Leo, who have always spent their summers hanging out at the park, skateboarding, and dreaming about the day when they’ll finally be able to move out of the suburbs. But one summer, the four teenagers find a small fortune hidden inside an abandoned house; after that their lives are never the same. Almost 20 years later, Philip returns to tally up the heavy costs of that summer’s true discovery, that easy money and power change everything—and can be deadly.

Future books in the True Stories line will continue to offer unique perspectives on extraordinary young lives, in both biographical and graphic novel formats. They are books that educators and librarians will want to select and recommend, that teens will want to read, and that general readers—whether teen or adult—will enjoy. “We all know those moments when the world seems to hang in the balance, explains Daniel Harmon. “These true stories take us to that place, to that time, and offer new perspectives on a world still buzzing with power and potential.”