The One Book Every Teenager Should Read

I must confess that the thought of having a teenaged daughter always scared the living daylights out of me. I’m pretty convinced I know why. You see, I was the world’s worst teen girl! I was disrespectful to my parents and teachers, rebellious at every opportunity, angry and impulsive, not to mention deeply disturbed and depressed. I had never heard the Gospel, let alone believed in it, and my sinful nature revealed itself loudly and clearly in any way it so desired.


I temporarily moved out of home when I was 15. I was lost, broken, and hurt. I didn’t want to live. There was no way out, or so I thought. Years into my teenage years, God graciously saved my soul and put a new song in my heart! I was redeemed. Rescued. Given Life. It took a while to get out of my bad habits, suicidal tendencies, to stop throwing temper tantrums, and for my foul language to disappear, but slowly and very surely, the God who had known me all along and who had heard my desperate cry for help, changed me forever!

Now having a teenage daughter of my own, I clearly recognise struggles and hardships that she faces. However, there is a magnificent difference between myself at age 14, and my daughter, Aviel at age 14.

And that is that she knows God!!! (Her name means My Father is God in Hebrew)

She has grown up reading His Word, bathed in principles of righteous living, and not exposed to the evil and filth of this world to a large degree. And while she still wrestles daily with overcoming her fleshly desires and inclinations, as we all do, she has the Lord to lean on, run to, and in whom she can trust.

What makes a teen's life different is a saving faith in and healthy fear of God. Click To Tweet

He transforms hormonal days into hope filled opportunities, the propensity of self-centredness into Saviour-glorifying moments, and urges to rebel into reasons to please God.

I’d say one of the greatest differences between Aviel and I at the same age, is the mother/daughter relationship. When I was fourteen years old, I’m ashamed to say, I absolutely hated my mother with a passion. She could do nothing right in my eyes, and I grew to loathe her 🙁 . How sad I am to pen these words…

I love what Charles Dickens wrote:

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.

Thankfully, by the grace of the Lord, Aviel and I have the most amazing friendship. It truly is the hand of a merciful God to not return to me what I justly deserve – being treated by my own daughter in the same despicable way I treated my mother during those years. God is gracious, indeed.

There have been many influences and influencers that have led to my daughter’s teen years being not only less tumultuous, but even God glorifying. The Bible is of course the greatest, while others range from godly people whom He has placed in her life to books she has read, and many things in between.

One of the most life-changing focuses came when my daughter read a book titled, Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations.

I will let her share her testimony of how this book affected her here (It was also published on The Rebelution website, run by the authors of Do Hard Things.) Besides God’s Word, I truly believe that this is the one book every teenager should read.

You can also read of Aviel’s passion on her blog Calling Teen Girls.

I pray that her honest account will be a blessing to you.

How Do Hard Things has impacted my life

Ever since I was eight years old, I had one thing that I pledged to myself never to become. I would never be a typical teenager.

I hated the rebellion, selfishness, and foolishness that I saw in the older teenagers around me. I wanted to look up to them as examples of what I should one day become, and they disappointed me. All I saw in them was worldliness.

At the age of twelve, I was beginning to see just how hard it was not to be a “teenager” when all my friends and the world around me encouraged me to live up (or rather, down!) to low expectations. It was very tempting to just give in to what our culture would consider normal, and not make an effort to do anything I didn’t have to do. Several times I didn’t do something whole-heartedly and was surprised when even my parents considered it completely normal.

I was only twelve, and yet I felt as though I was already expected to meet the world’s low standards. I was dead set against it, and was continually trying, but failing, to defy the low expectations all around me. I felt like I was all alone fighting low standards.

Then, the dreaded day of my birthday arrived and I turned thirteen. I was shocked when people automatically labeled me as a ‘teenager’ the moment they heard my age. People would immediately expect me to behave, talk and look a certain way.

I was frustrated.

It seemed as though I was the only teenager in the world trying to exceed low expectations; to work hard at my studies dress modestly, and behave maturely. It was hard. I didn’t have many friends at all. I wasn’t popular because I wasn’t like other teenagers. It was then that I was at the point of giving up on making an effort to stand out.

Then, one of my few friends, an eighteen year old girl, recommended your book, “Do Hard Things,” to me. She sent me the link to your website. I was in a hurry at the time, so forwarded it to my mother to ask her if I could get the book. I completely forgot about it, but after a couple of weeks, my mother said that the library got the book I sent her, “Do Hard Things.” I had no idea what she was talking about, but apparently she had put in a suggestion that our local library should get it.

My life transformed the day I walked out of the library, a copy of the book “Do Hard Things” under my arm, and read the first chapter. I couldn’t believe that there were millions of other teenagers out there doing exactly what I was so desperately trying to do! I immediately went on to the computer and joined the Rebelution.

I didn’t change immediately in very great ways, but I started – one step at a time.

First, I started with reading my Bible and praying every day. I had been very inconsistent with it, and sometimes a busy week or two would go by without me having touched my Bible. I knew that I needed to change that. I needed God in order to one day become a great and Godly teenager – to set an example to all the believers.

Secondly, I started working harder at my schoolwork. I had been consistently getting sick for the previous six months, so hadn’t managed to do as much as I would have liked to. After starting to read the book, I began making an effort to work hard at it and do my very best.

Thirdly, I worked on being more respectful and obedient to my parents. One of the most common attitudes about teenagers that I wanted to defy was rebellion. It was very hard. It may have been the hardest thing that I had to change so far. I was very tempted on many occasions to rebel against my parents’ authority. A few times I did, but later regretted it. I wanted with all my being to fight against low expectations and against the world’s view of teenagers. God has really been helping me in this area, even though it is hard.

I love the way Do Hard Things encourages those that do small, hard things to keep at it, because God sees and notices these little efforts, even if your friends and family don’t. There are other ways that I am working on doing small, hard things. Even if they haven’t affected anyone else much, they have affected my life greatly. I want to later do big hard things that will prove to our culture exactly what teenagers can do if the world wouldn’t have such low expectations of them!

I have not done very great things, and I am far from the perfect teenager, but I am constantly relying on God to help me swim against the current and rebel against low expectations. It is hard, but so worth it!


Bless your teen with a copy of

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations:


Do you have a teenager who is struggling? What helpful tips and/or resources could you offer other parents that would help?

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Tehila is an Israeli, God-loving, husband-serving, child-nurturing mom of five sweet little ones whom she homeschools. She resides in beautiful New Zealand from where she blogs at Women Abiding – Encouraging women to abide in God and His Word.

About womenabiding

Tehila is an Israeli, God-loving, husband-serving, child-nurturing mom of five sweet little ones whom she homeschools. She resides in beautiful New Zealand from where she blogs at Women Abiding – Encouraging women to abide in God and His Word.
This entry was posted in Motherhood. Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to The One Book Every Teenager Should Read

  1. Catherine says:

    Thanks Aviel and Tehila , you are an inspiration

  2. Sheri says:

    Thank you for the reminder! I bought this book several years ago for our oldest, but need to pass it along the line! 🙂

    • womenabiding says:

      Couldn’t help but smile when I read your comment, Sheri. I’m going to make it compulsory reading for all of mine as they come of age 🙂 God bless you, dear sister xoxo

  3. I absolutely agree – every teen should read this book. And it wouldn’t hurt adults either. My husband and I took two different middle school classes through this book, and it was incredible.

    • womenabiding says:

      Thanks, Michele! Funny you should say that, because my children have been urging me to read the book, too. I’ve heard so much about it, and have scanned it so many times, that I feel as though I have already read it 🙂 Blessings to you xox

  4. Gwen says:

    Our son read Do Hard Things last year (he is 14), and our daughter will hopefully read it this year, before she turns 13. We really appreciated it, and it definitely also encouraged our son to be committed to reading his Bible every day, and to want to do things differently. I, like you, was a rebellious and disrespectful teenager, so it is a blessing to me seeing them having aspirations like this. Thank you for sharing!

    • womenabiding says:

      That is sooooo wonderful to hear, Gwen! Appreciate your humble confession about your own teen years, and as you know, I can relate to the gratitude you feel for the grace of God in taking our children on a very different path. You’ve blessed me greatly today! xoxo

  5. Rhoda says:

    So glad I recommended it to Aviel! Miss you guys… xxooxx

  6. Mary says:

    I’m in the same boat with Sheri, I need to pass it along to the next ones…and maybe re-read it myself! So glad to hear of your daughter’s commitment. 🙂 By the way, I found your blog on Thoughtful Thursdays.

    • womenabiding says:

      I’m amazed at how well known this book is, since we only heard about it recently, even though it’s been around for a while! I’m so glad that so many are blessed by it, and that it’s being passed on to up and coming teens 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment, Mary! xox

  7. Kathleen says:

    It sounds like a book well worth reading. If it gives purpose and hope to teenagers, let them all read it.

  8. Long Ladies says:

    It is so encouraging to find other teens actively defying the world’s standards and pursuing the standards of God. God bless you and your mom!!

  9. Tracey says:

    I love this book! My older daughter has already read it, and I’m planning on making it part of my 13-year-old’s summer reading this year.

  10. Sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Megs says:

    It’s fantastic for you to take the time to recommend a book for teens. My daughter is 8, and I am already worried about what my avid reader will get her hands on as the years fly by. I always pray for good authors to write great books that are relevant for all ages of children. Words are so powerful, so helpful, and so encouraging…when done right.
    Thank you!
    Happy Tuesday from the Intentional Tuesday Linkup!

    • womenabiding says:

      I love your prayer, Megs! Books have a huge impact on our lives, and why not get the right ones into the hands of our children when they are young. They can help shape the life of a young person… I’ve seen it first hand… God bless you and your precious family xxox

  12. Sounds like a fabulous book and one I should read right now even though my kiddos are only 8 and 4 1/2. Have to be ready to pass it along!

    Thank you for sharing your heart here (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.

  13. Hi there! I found you on the Daily Cup link up and this is one great post! I have 4 daughters of my own and it scares the living crap out of me to know they will soon be teenagers, right now they are around the threenage and up stage lol!

  14. Tina Yeager says:

    Immense challenges overwhelm our young generation. Under tremendous pressure at a vulnerable point in their lives, they face critical choices with long-term impact. I have a heart for teenagers and young adults, so I appreciate your willingness to offer wisdom and hope.Thanks for sharing your experiences to touch the lives of those who struggle.

  15. I have heard this is a great book. I may have to buy a couple of copies for grandchildren. Thanks for linking up on Mondays @ Soul Survival. Blessings!

  16. Latisha says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this review with TGI Saturdays. My oldest child (a girl) will be turning 10 this summer, I pray God guides me through these preteen years, and prepare me to help her navigate her way through adolescence with Him as her foundation. God help me.

  17. I whole heartedly agree – this is a powerful book. I have four teenage daughters at home right now and at least 2 of the four have read “Do Hard Things” and it has impacted them as well. Often when people heard I had four girls they would automatically say “Watch out for those teen years, there awful.” – But I refused to embrace that because it was not what I wanted for them or for me. And I can say that our relationships are strong and honestly it has been one of my favorite seasons of life. Sure, it has it’s difficulties – but what age doesn’t.
    What a wonderful testimony – I’ll be sure to share this post with my girls. I think they will find it equally encouraging!

  18. Debbie @ Bible Fun For Kids says:

    This sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and it is so wonderful to read of a teen wanting to be different!

  19. Janice Wald says:

    I have 3 daughters, the youngest is still a teen.
    Thanks for bringing your post to the Blogger’s Pit Stop.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  20. Abby says:

    From the book title alone, I can tell this is a book all my high school students would benefit from reading. It’s the idea most of my coworkers and I are trying to drill into their heads. I’m going to check it out!

    I host a weekly link party- I’d love for you to come by and link up!

    • womenabiding says:

      It truly is a brilliant book, Abby, and I know for a fact that every high school student would have their entire perspective turned around by reading it! Thank you so much for sharing about your link up. I’ll see you there 🙂 xox

  21. Julie says:

    What an absolutely beautiful post! Really touched my heart and I love your daughter’s name – so beautiful! Thank you for linking up this amazing pot on my Counting Our Blessings linkup! I’m always so excited to see your posts.

    Blessings – Julie

  22. Carolyn says:

    That sounds like a neat book! Need to keep that in mind for a few years from now…

  23. Mary Hill says:

    This sounds like such an important book. I will check into it for my now teen daughter. She just turned 13. Do you think it would be good for her now or should I wait a few years?

    • womenabiding says:

      Yes, yes, yes, Mary!!! Now would be the absolute *perfect* time for her to read this book! My daughter read it when she was 12 or 13, and it impacted her deeply! Go for it! Your daughter will thank you and be so blessed! Guaranteed! So lovely to see you here. You’re a beautiful, faithful friend! xoxo

  24. Valerie says:

    Thank you for sharing this at 100 Happy Days! I have a daughter turning 13 in a few months. I requested the book for review after reading this wonderful post. I can’t wait to share it with my daughter!

  25. Wendy says:

    Thank you SO much for linking up with us at Hip Homeschool Moms! I loved this article! In fact, it will be one of our featured favorites on tomorrow’s Hop post. 🙂

  26. Quick sidenote… I love your daughter’s name and it’s meaning! So lovely.

    Thanks for sharing this inspiring book review at #FridayFrivolity! 🙂

  27. Brandi Raae says:

    Neat – I’ve had both of my boys read that book when they were preteens. I took each of them on a “Do Hard Things” date and wrote out some questions to discuss with them. I’ll have my daughter read it when she’s a bit older. It truly is a wonderful book!!

  28. I love your daughter’s section in this post. And this book sounds really good! My girls are 17-½ and 16. I would love for them to read It and take these principles to heart. I will take a closer look at it. I’m thrilled that your daughter loves the Lord. Truly, that makes all the difference in facing the teenage years!

    • womenabiding says:

      Hi Dianne! I truly do believe that this book will make a huge difference in your daughters’ lives. In fact, they are at a crucial age before they venture out into the world, and reading this book will equip them in so many ways to do that unto God’s glory and with vision! Thank you for your kind words… So much appreciated xox

  29. Liz says:

    We are barreling toward teenage years here, so I’m keeping this book on my radar! Thanks!

  30. YES! My husband and I used this book a couple of different times in teaching middle school SS classes. It was so helpful in getting a good discussion started.

  31. Heather says:

    This looks really good. Unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to get my teens to read non-fiction… We’ll call it a work in progress.

  32. Thank you, Tehila and Aviel! We have that book around our home. My son read it years ago. I’m going to dig it out and see if my daughter wants to have a look or if I can bless another teen with it. I so appreciate this perspective: No to rebellion, yes to God!

  33. Amanda says:

    Thanks so very much for posting. My teens are all reading this for their volunteer service group. Visiting you from Unite the blogosphere linky. Have a great weekend!

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