About the Book and Author
“They’re the best years of your life!” – allegedly. But for even for the most robust and resilient teenager there are days that feel tricky. Decisions to make with conflicting information and advice from peers, parents, teachers and Siri, not forgetting Hormones throwing some emotional curved balls at times! But help is at hand from Gavin Oattes who has written this book to help teens navigate their way through this transitional stage by speaking their language and offering reassurance and coping strategies for those inevitable challenging moments.
Book Review and Q&A
What I loved was that Oattes helped me to make sense of the way I’ve been feeling and how I’ve been behaving
Being in the middle of my teenage years made ‘A Head Full of Everything’ a great choice of book for me to read. Initially I was a little hesitant as I prefer to read fiction but from the first lines of Gavin Oattes book, I laughed out loud and was hooked to read further.
‘A Head Full of Everything’ is a collection of advice for teenagers to make the most out of their lives, combined with a huge dose of humour. Oattes writes in a way that is easy to relate to: there were so many stories and analogies that I wanted to shout, ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ as these were also personal experiences for me. What I loved was that Oattes helped me to make sense of the way I’ve been feeling and how I’ve been behaving.
The topics he covers in the book are all incredibly relevant to us as teenagers such as confidence, anxiety, technology and having a dream. I love his clever use of humour in the chapter titles and headings. The cartoon sketches also added to the comedy. Throughout the book Oattes uses quotes about the topics he writes about and that gave me moments to reflect on what he had advised.
For me, the most powerful section in the book was about anxiety as this resonates with me. This is something that I have found challenging in my early teenage years. Oattes makes anxiety feel normal instead of feeling different, isolated, and overwhelming. He made me feel like these feelings are manageable and will pass, helping me to feel at ease about these emotions.
This book has inspired me. It made me laugh, cry and most importantly encouraged me to believe in myself. Consequently, this book is a must for any teenager. I love Oattes’ analogy of life being a sandwich – born, live, die. The outside of your sandwich is guaranteed but the middle part you build for yourself, and you should make it as good as it can be.
The author kindly agreed to answer five of Jacob’s questions. Here is their conversation:
- Why did you decide to write a book based on the teenage years and share advice for how to make the most of those years? – I’ve been working with teenagers for years and writing a book to support them is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m always utterly inspired by young adults, their mindset, creativity and passion for things but with everything that’s happened in the world of late, no felt like a good time to write this book.
- In your book you talk about the different jobs you have done over your life such as a comedian, a teacher, a business owner, and a speaker. Which did you find the most fulfilling and why? – There’s something truly magical about them all, but, if I had to choose then I’m going with Speaker. I’ve been able to reach so many more people and experience so many different, events, environments and cultures. It’s allowed me to work with people age 3 to 103.
- I am a 15-year-old teenager. If you could offer me one piece of advice – what would it be? – Slow down, you’re here. Life is for living, now.
- What did you find the most difficult part of being a teenager? – Fitting in, I wish I had been a little braver in being me.
- Your book contains a great deal of humour. What was the funniest thing you did as a teenager? – I’m not sure what the funniest thing was that I did as a teenager but one of the funniest things that ever happened was on the school French exchange. On the way home we had a night in Paris and my friend Campbell woke the whole hotel, screaming his head off. Everyone thought he had been attacked, we had never heard or seen such pandemonium, people running around trying to work out what had happened. Turned out he was sleep walking and had really bad cramp. At the time it wasn’t funny, but by the next day we couldn’t stop laughing.
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Alternatively, we suggest that you visit your local library and request to borrow a copy from a friendly librarian.
Whichever you choose, we hope you enjoy being part of your unique reading community – happy reading everyone!
- Name: Jacob
- Age: 15 years
- Likes: sport, history and holidays
- Dislikes: early mornings and onions
- Favourite Book: Scythe By Neil Shusterman
- Favourite Song: Feel Good Inc. by Gorrilaz
- Favourite Film: Star Wars