Rookie: Yearbook Three, edited by Tavi Gevinson; Razorbill, $29.95, 358 pages, ages 12-18.
As an eleven year old with a penchant for dying her hair gray and defying wearing what can perhaps be described as granny attire, Tavi Gevinson launched her fashion blog StyleRookie in 2008. Since then she has held a firm grip on the hearts and minds of her readership and has recently branched out from observing the catwalk by founding a new website where she explores, celebrates and commiserates all that goes into being an adolescent girl in contemporary society. Rookie: Yearbook Three is the latest installment in a trio of volumes showcasing the best and most powerful contributions to Gevinson’s latest online magazine RookieMag.com.
Rookie: Yearbook Three does resemble that high-school rite of passage, minus the stuffy leather hardcover and black and white pages. It’s folio size, and entries start with July 2013 through May 2014, with articles for each month corresponding to a given theme. (For example, October 2013’s topic was appropriately entitled “Haunted.”) Gevinson’s team includes dozens of energetic young writers, photographers and illustrators who provided thoughtful, witty and nuanced work. Look for some star-studded names in the contributor list, like the Fanning sisters, Lorde, and Shailene Woodley.
There’s nothing here that speaks down or demeans readers, nor is there any duplicity sometimes found in more mainstream magazines aimed at the 13-18 female demographic, where an uplifting story on body acceptance might be followed by a photo spread showcasing girls as vapid eye-candy. The book and website’s eponymous titles refer to what Gevinson believes is a shared experience among her audience and her staff; everyone is figuring out life as they go along, but members of this particular community navigate the twisted road to adulthood together, possibly arriving with a greater arsenal of self-acceptance and self-confidence than generations prior.
Rookie: Yearbook Three would make an excellent and most appreciated gift to any teenage girl. Perhaps parents would do themselves a favor and read it too – at an age where most children would rather die than sit down and talk with adults, this book offers insight on today’s youth, and it’s pretty inspiring. If Gevinson has her way, there’s likely a Book Four in the works to round out the entire high school experience, and we’re eager to see what’s next.