Did you keep a diary during your teen years? Do you have a box of loopy-cursive, never-sent notes to your crush? Or some overwrought poetry about your bleak existence? An unfinished rockopera? Well, you’re not alone, and in Cringe, you’ll find a reason to unearth your adolescent angst and have a good laugh—at yourself.

A compilation of real teenage diary and journal entries, letters,
songs, stories, and lists—along with biting commentary, background, and self-examination from the now so-called grown-ups who wrote them—Cringe offers a voyeuristic glimpse at the roller coaster of youth in all of its navel-gazing, soul-searching, social-skewering glory.

Cringe -worthy excerpts include

Really bad poetry:
I lumber like the sad clown with
the hope that my performance
might make you smile.
Yet I am a flickering star over
a cloudy sky.

Blush-inducing pep talks:
OK. It’s the end of February. No more
kidding around! You have to go out
with someone! You haven’t gone out
with someone since the summer!
At least fool around with someone!
Come on! You’ve got it in ya!

Questionable motivations:
My mom is madly in love with
her boyfriend. . . . Cool! He’s so rich
. . . I could get a lot out of this—
vacations, a car—if he buys my mom
one + she gives me hers—psyche!

And rages against the world at large:
I am living in a dream world.
Wishes are a bunch of crap.
They never come true so what’s
the use of even wasting your
time hoping they’ll come true
when they don’t?

Inspired by the New York–based reading series of the same name, Cringe will help you realize that being a grown-up isn’t all that terrible. At least you don’t have to worry about who’s going to be at the mall anymore.

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