Rookie Yearbook One is not your typical manual for teenage girls. There are no “Get Your Best Beach Body in 30 Days” or “What He’s Really Looking For in a Summer Fling” articles here.
The book is an anthology of material from Rookie Magazine, a popular alternative website for teen girls started last September by 16-year-old fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson. Each month has a different theme, like “Exploration” or “Up All Night,” and the website publishes one post at three predetermined times every weekday. The 350-page paperback, edited by Gevinson, contains the best of Rookie articles from September to May as well as some new content.
The book is a well-done compilation, presenting high-quality site material like “How to Look Like You Weren’t Just Crying in Less than Five Minutes,” an interview with film writer and director John Waters, and a photo album called “Younger than Yesterday.” Whimsical page layouts decorated by doodles and flowers and different textures complement the visual elements of the site, like collages, sketches and film photographs.
Rookie’s how-to guides, DIYs, satire, photo diaries, reviews, fiction, essays and range of other articles are funny, informative and frank. Gevinson and the rest of the staff are not afraid to take on tough issues, from street harassment to sizeism (discrimination based on body type), with an honest approach that’s unique to teen magazines.
However, Rookie can be exceedingly quirky, which is occasionally off-putting. The fashion advice is eccentric, and photo albums can be very strange. Some stories have a very feminist stance. Pages like “Hairstyles of the Musicians of the 1980s: A Taxonomy” may not appeal to everyone. And anyone who objects to ‘90s TV, thrift stores or blue hair should steer clear.
Still, Rookie is a fantastic resource for teen girls. The book is great, though I’d only recommend buying it if you already know you like the site. The material is usually drawn from the online version, but it’s definitely even more fun to read in print. I know I’ll turn to Rookie Yearbook One whenever I need a lesson in “Life Skills 101” or “Thrifting: The Master Class.”