YCteen publishes true stories by teens, giving readers insight into the issues that matter most in young people's lives.
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Write for Youth Communication: Video
Behind the Scenes: Teen writers describe what it's like to work at YCteen.
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Note: These stories are from YCteen and its sister publication, Represent, which is written by and for youth in foster care.
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Jamell, who feels alienated in his foster home and at school, finds comfort with a group of friends who like to skip school together. When he realizes he won't be able to graduate on time, he starts changing his ways. (full text)
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Peter’s friends tease him for being short and slightly pudgy. He wants to let them know that their words hurt, but worries that speaking up will drive them away. (full text)
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In this issue's advice column, one teen laments about having too much homework and too little time to spend hanging out with his friends. Lucas has some solutions. (full text)
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After Shahlo blurts out an unintended insult to her good friend whose father recently died, she feels awful and tries to make amends. (full text)
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The writer gradually begins to feel suffocated by her best friend, who constantly calls and texts her. (full text)
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In fourth grade, when this writer made a best friend, she thought it would last a lifetime. Then her BF met a boy and she blew the writer off. (full text)
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Ask Lucas is our new advice column that answers questions teens have about love, school, family and friends. Lucas and adult experts provide their insight and suggestions. (full text)
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This author writes about why she is able to forgive someone that bullied her most of her life, and to accept her offer of friendship. (full text)
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Rumonat takes on too much and gets burned out, until she learns to say no. (full text)
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Peter’s friends tease him for being short and slightly pudgy. He wants to let them know that their words hurt, but worries that speaking up will drive them away. (full text)
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Back in Panama, Madeline had a reputation as a troublemaker. But after her family immigrates to New York, she sees an opportunity to reinvent herself. (full text)
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To avoid the wrath of her school’s bullies, Trisha obsesses about her appearance—until the new girl helps her develop a new confidence in herself. (full text)
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After cutting ties with a group of friends that were leading him down a bad path, Malik attends a Christian retreat. To his surprise, he quickly makes friends who respect him and share his values. (full text)
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Marci tries to be supportive when Deborah is hospitalized for anorexia, but gets the cold shoulder. As their friendship falters, Marci attempts once more to repair the friendship, this time with better results. (full text)
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Neha becomes fast friends with Ali, bonding over their shared Nepali heritage. Soon, Neha realizes that Ali is lonely and wants to help, but her attempt to fix things creates in a rift in the friendship. (full text)
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The author cuts school to go to the park with a new group of friends. There, the friends have a run-in with the police, and the author wonders if he's hanging out with the wrong crowd.
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Mitzi’s friend Veronica is dating a guy who constantly accuses her of cheating and even threatens violence. Although Mitzi convinces Veronica to get help from supportive adults, Veronica eventually returns to her boyfriend. (full text)
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Orubba describes her close relationship with Layla, a family friend who once worked with Orubba's dad. (full text)
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Kenya, a tomboy who loves basketball, has always had a lot of guy friends—but things get complicated when she starts dating.
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Margarita unintentionally offends a black classmate. After the two girls cool down and talk, they find friendship. (full text)
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Daichka doesn't fit in with the other kids at school. She dedicates herself to reading books, and gets the support, acceptance, love, and understanding that she doesn't get from people. (full text)
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The writer interviews two mental health experts on how to help a friend who is depressed. (full text)
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Christian's been bullied for years. He tries to fit in with a group of alternative kids who have Mohawks and piercings, but they don't treat him any better. Still his new look boosts his confidence. (full text)
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Megan has always been an obsessive thinker and worrier, but when her anxiety threatens her friendships, she consults a psychologist and begins to understand her anxieties. (full text)
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In junior high, Alice joins a clique of girls who make fun of others and eventually reject her. (full text)
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Odé learns that a close male friend has a crush on him. (full text)
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When George, who is Chinese, moves to the Bronx, he is frequently taunted by black kids. But after a black youth befriends and defends him, George moves beyond his stereotypes. (full text)
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When Aurora enters a foster home she expects her foster mother to cook for her, but soon finds out she's expected to make her own meals. The other girls in the home teach Aurora to cook, and in the process she forms friendships with women her age for the first time. (full text)
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Omar feels ashamed that the "normal" kids have parents and he's in foster care, so he tries various ways to hide his group home identity. But when his friend Joseph finds out the truth and accepts him, Omar begins to accept himself. (full text)
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Reflecting on the mistakes of his childhood friends, Ferentz is determined to do something more with his life. (full text)
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After Crystal moves from a Catholic grade school to a public junior high, her fear is slowly replaced by affection.
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At age 15, Jaminson's overprotective parents barely let him leave the house. When his friends pressure him, he begins to push for more freedom.
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Oumou's best friend is pushed into an arranged marriage at the age of 14, dashing the girls' hopes of going to college together.
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When Amanda meets Artie, initial antagonism turns quickly into friendship. She isn't surprised when she learns Artie is gay, and supports him in his coming out. But when Artie begins spending more time with other acquaintances, their friendship is tested.
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Starting out at a new junior high school, Crystal puts a wall between herself and her classmates. Only Alexei, a lovable misfit, reaches across the wall to befriend her.
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Jimmy, who is Asian-American, becomes friends with a Puerto Rican classmate and they visit several of the city's Puerto Rican neighborhoods together. Jimmy learns to appreciate another culture and develops a new appreciation for his own Chinese background.
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The writer knows that his friend KaJuan is dating a man who is HIV-positive. Should he tell KaJuan or mind his own business?
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When Anita befriends Meghan, the only white girl in her grade, she learns about a culture she never experienced before.
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When someone close to her is doing dangerous things, Desiree speaks up.
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Donald has a stubborn, independent streak that resists peer pressure.
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When Angy leaves Colombia for the U.S., she leaves behind a close circle of true friends.
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When the writer finds out her friend is gay, she is torn between her religious beliefs and staying faithful to her friend.
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The writer has a very close friendship with a girl named Zarah and longs to become physically involved with her. But he also worries about ruining their friendship and Zarah's many relationships with both sexes. He realizes he wants Zarah to be someone she clearly is not.
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Sharon has a close group of friends when she starts high school, but when she confronts one member, the whole group deserts her.
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People often mistake Marcario and his dad for friends rather than father and son, but they're not really mistaken: the two share many interests and value their time together.
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Elizabeth talks regularly on the phone with a boy named Stormie and they become close friends although they never meet. She finds she can talk more freely and intimately with him than she can with her boyfriend, because "boys are hard to have friendships with in person."
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After developing a crush on her friend, Gina comes to terms with coming out.
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When Latoya, who is black, becomes friends with a Puerto Rican girl, she must confront her attitudes toward people who are “different.”
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When Jessica, who is Puerto Rican, befriends Cindy, who is Chinese, she becomes fascinated with Asian culture and begins to immerse herself in it. She learns the history, Chinese phrases, and how to use chopsticks properly.
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Jamal attends a guys-only summer camp with kids from Utah and Norway.
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When the guy she loves starts dating her best friend, Magda thinks her life is over.
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The author witnesses her friend being beaten by her mother, tries to intervene on more than one occasion, and feels helpless when nothing she does seems to help.
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It's hard to tell when a friend has a drug problem. Teens and adults discuss warning signs and what to do after you find out.
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Lavell is comfortable being bisexual, but other people harass her. She finds acceptance in a program that helps her bond with other young adults facing similar challenges.
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The writer and her clique of female friends engage in mean gossip about other girls. But she feels guilty about it and together they agree to stop. She does research to find out that girls are more likely than boys to engage in psychological and hidden forms of cruelty.
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After Elie fights his tormentors they stop picking on him, but he loses friends because he acts hard with everyone.
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Winning essays on this contest topic.
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Jessica introduces the Identity issue by recounting her journey from creating personas like "tomboy" and "pretty girl" to looking inward for the qualities that make her her. (full text)
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Donyaeh introduces the love issue with the story of his loyal best friend Rebecca, who he's known since they were both 4 years old. (full text)
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The author suffers from the death of her grandmother, her mother's mental illness and withdrawal, and going into foster care. Isaac, first her friend, then her boyfriend, supports her, but she drives him away with her cutting. (full text)
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Over several years, Shateek and his best friend Amadou grow closer by listening to and keeping each other's secrets, by fighting but working it out, and by encouraging each other to stick with school. (full text)
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Otis introduces stories about spending time on the computer and phone instead of in real life. (full text)
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After canceling all his online accounts, Jorge finds life more fulfilling now that he’s not spending so much time staring at a screen. (full text)
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After several years in an RTC where all his decisions were made for him, Anthony has to push himself both to choose a school and then to find people to hang out with. (full text)
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Asia spends half her paycheck on her friend's party. The friend swears she'll pay it back and never does; Asia gets new friends. (full text)
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Victoria Malkin, an anthropologist and psychotherapist, discusses how kids without families can bond with others.
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When Sherelle moves to a new foster home she loses contact with her friends, but then finds a new friendship that lasts.
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Natasha experiments with drugs as a carefree escape, until she realizes there’s a very fine line between enjoying them and being damaged by them.
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Eric has a short fuse, which explodes at both friends and his adoptive mother. He explores various ways to communicate without anger.
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Antwaun looks at ways to make and keep good friends.
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Hattie suffers from “social phobia,” but her friend Amanda is able to break through the walls.
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Rana appreciates the chance to live with girls she can relate to in her group home.
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Once archenemies, Chantel and Kim realize they have more in common than they ever imagined.
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Lishoné is cool after her friend reveals she’s a lesbian.
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When the writer's classmates find out she's in foster care, they tease her unmercifully. Devastated by the betrayal, she closes herself off from people. Two years later she meets Allen, finds out he was abandoned by his family, and they become close friends.
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When Tamara moves to a new foster home, she has to share a room with Cheryl, whom she dislikes. At first they fight, but eventually see they have things in common and that they can learn from each other. In time, Cheryl becomes the sister Tamara has always wanted.
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Quantwilla, when she was younger, felt her therapist didn't listen to her. Now a teenager, she finds that people turn to her for advice when they're in trouble. As an informal "therapist," Quantwilla uses her empathy and listening skills to help them.
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Lorraine is teased as a child and feels alienated from her biological family. She tries to commit suicide before going into foster care, but ends up bonding with the girls at her residential treatment facility, who become her new family.
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None of Shaniqua’s friends know she’s in foster care because she’s afraid of being judged and teased.
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Paula says you shouldn't hide being in foster care because most people are understanding. She says it's especially important to tell the truth to a boyfriend or girlfriend, because relationships are based on mutual respect and trust.
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Kenyetta's first year in foster care is a turbulent one: she's constantly getting high, drinking, and fighting. Transferred to her ninth group home, Kenyetta expects to be kicked out once again, but a friendship with a resident named Kathy helps change her outlook and behavior.
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Stephen has three close male friends. They do the usual guy things—play basketball, watch video games—but they also support each other emotionally. Their friendship has deepened through the years and Stephen knows he can always count on them.

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