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The Awkward Years

The Awkward Years: 64 Tips for Surviving High School

This project began when I started writing notes of the things I wanted to tell my nieces and nephews, who live on the other side of the country. Then I began thinking about all the things I wish someone had told me when I was in high school. The list grew and grew, and eventually developed into this little book. Illustrations accompany each short tip, giving the reader a chance to chew on the ideas presented.


The Awkward Years is now available on Amazon and from your favorite book seller!

In between the magic of childhood and the responsibility of adulthood are the teen years. This is a powerful, confusing, and awkward time. As our world continues to speed up and every aspect of a teenager’s life becomes more and more structured, there is less time for introspection. It is during moments of quiet contemplation we learn many of the important lessons that lead to a happy and fulfilled life.

The Awkward Years is for all genders and covers the topics teenagers deal with including drugs, relationships, and the massive mental, emotional, and physical changes they face. Each tip is a small package of information for you to digest at your own pace.

These ideas are designed to open you to new ways of thinking. They are not meant to tell you what to do. Rather they are offered as a jumping off point into personal introspection and to open the door for challenging conversations. As you consider and discuss them, you’ll find your own way through the infinite possibilities. With the advice and thought-provoking ideas in this book, you’ll be empowered to develop your own strategy for surviving high school and beyond.


Jenna Sundell is a Buddhist monk who enjoys sharing meditation and her perspective on life. She teaches mainly adults because they have forgotten what kids already know: we are boundless Joy. Her practice has taught her to be open and honest about her own experiences, and this translates into being able to see how life unfolds around us. She remembers the struggle of being a teenager, so she collected these tips for you to explore.