Dear Teen Me from author Alethea Kontis (ENCHANTED)

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Dear Teen Lee,

You're not going to believe any of this, but bear with me. This is the magic necklace that opens the secret portal in the closet that leads to Golendria. There are unicorns here, within and without. Trust me on this one, Harry. Lion's Oath.

1.) Everything is going to be okay. It's not going to be easy, all this "following your dreams" nonsense, but you're not built to stop believing in magic. The magic will come. You will make it happen. You will be the main character in the amazing, adventurous book of your life. You'll even--I swear by nine moons--be a Princess. Not soon, and the path is windy and dark and dangerous, but you will be. (Tell Mr. Stafford that his prediction about you being a Duchess isn't far off.)

23.) You will one day publish an essay about how much you hated English, and you will send it to Mr. Hendrick as revenge for how tough he was on you in ninth AND eleventh grade. The magazine you send him will arrive on one of the worst days of his life, and he will be so incredibly proud of all your accomplishments that the two of you actually become friends.

k.) Sit down for this one: At your 15-year reunion, Casey will out the crush you've both had on Erik Younginer since the seventh grade while you are singing the worst karaoke of Patsy Cline known to man. (Both of you will be stone cold sober at the time.) You will then proceed to have an actual conversation with Erik--and follow-up emails--more than you've ever talked to him in your entire life. You'll even sign a book for his kids. He marries Amy Sunshine, by the way. (I know, right?!)

Q.) As fascinating as Star Trek:TNG is, it really would be better for you to get off your tucus and go outside instead of eating tuna fish bagels and Doritos in the hallway after school every day. You are not fat, but if you keep being depressed and eating your feelings, you will be. Yoga, elliptical machines, and music are your friends. And yes, you should have tried out for cheerleading, you big coward. You would have actually been really good at it.

35.) Learn to wear dresses. Oh, stop rolling your eyes at me. Refer back to #1 and suck it up. Besides, you can wear running shorts underneath and no one ever has to know. And corsets come back in style!

Orange.) Go away to college. It doesn't matter that you don't know what major to pick that will make Mom and Dad happy. Your job at the movie theatre is not as important as you think it is (though all those fabulous kids will stay in touch with you because they love you). And don't drop out the minute you have enough credits to graduate, or you will always regret never having learned German or spent a semester overseas.

42.) Don't let them give you that horrible birth control shot. It's really going to mess with your system. You're never going to get back those six years that you couldn't write fiction. And find a new podiatrist. That guy Dad met at church is a quack.

π.) Boys are stupid. Never trust them. If it's still the same old crap after a year, break it off and move on, for heaven's sake. You would never let any boy treat your sister the way you let them treat you, now, would you?

Yellow.) Learn from Casey's optimism. You're a good kid, Leelee. People don't necessarily appreciate the chubby happy girl at the time, but they'll be really grateful to have you around later. You will bring sunshine to them, and their children, and maybe one day their children's children.

∑.) THIS ONE IS REALLY IMPORTANT: Your little sister is one of the most amazing people on the planet. You know this. Stop being jealous of her and let her hang out with you and your friends. She will always be your best friend and you will miss her like your heart is broken when you don't live together anymore. 

111.) You are GORGEOUS. Don't be the last one to appreciate it.

S.) Give Mr. Oberly an extra hug. Just because.

428.) Write to your grandmothers more often. Especially Memere.

Bonus.) Casey, Margo, Chris, and Josh will never disappear from your life. But keep better track of Josh once he gets back from France. Take a picture of the Dragon Tree Chris paints on the wall of Senseless Beauty. And don't let Margo flush that poem down the toilet. 

@.) Be brave.

Green.) Stop perming your hair. 

Ω.) Never stop writing.

Much love,


(And Murphy. And Fred. And Charlie.  And Insy. And Albie.)

P.S.) You're gong to have a GREAT LIFE.

P.P.S.) Write fan letters to Roald Dahl and Lloyd Alexander RIGHT NOW.

P.P.P.S.) That quote you love is from the Rush song "Presto."

P.P.P.P.S.) Buy stock in Apple. 


New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a goddess, a force of nature, and a mess. The sister of a popular jewelry designer and granddaughter of a pirate, Alethea has profited from screwing up the alphabet, organizing fairy tales, sharing all her family's deepest, darkest secrets, and making little girls cry. Alethea is the author of the AlphaOops series of picture books and co-author of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunter Companion, and she suffers from a short story writing addiction Her  YA fairy tale called ENCHANTED was released in 2012 and its sequel HERO came out in October of 2013. You can find Princess Alethea frolicking about online at

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