You Recommend: Magazines for the Sad

This is You Recommend, where I am out of ideas about something, and plaintively ask my readers for help.

I know it's been quite a while since we did a We Recommend, partly because I misconstrued the last one, partly because we haven't really been getting requests.

And then I got a note from a friend, not on the blog but just a regular old "What do you think?" sort of email. Here's the deal: His relation is nearing her fourteenth birthday. She has been having a tough time, as we all do sometimes, struggling mightily with the societal pressures that fall on girls. They've been giving her a fairly rough ride of it—things are not easy for her right now. He wanted to know: what magazine would I recommend that he get her a subscription to, something that might provide a little light in the darkness, more or less? That wouldn't necessarily be a trip into the soul-less void, courtesy of Teen Vogue and Seventeen?

Of course, those of you old enough (and others, too) know that he is really asking for Sassy, much is it missed. And you know, too, that probably whatever awesome thing he is hoping for isn't something printed on paper, which kind of kills me, because there's nothing like lying in bed with a magazine, and it's not the same with a phone or computer.

I told him about Muse, which I have professed my love for previously, though I think it might be too young for her, and Cicada, which I don't know as well but pretty much trust is good. But truly, I don't have the answer.

So here we go: YOU recommend. I know a magazine can't fix something that's broken. But it would be nice to have something to send a 14-year-old girl that might make the world a little less terrible. Any ideas?

15 thoughts on “You Recommend: Magazines for the Sad

  1. Well, there’s … but that’s not in print, as far as I know. That might be as close to the spiritual/cultural descendant of Sassy as you can get.
    Also: Hey! I sent in a “We recommend” request! Please respond — I promise I won’t get mad if you misinterpret 🙂


  2. Bust is reeeally good but slightly older and rather… feminist? It’s empowering, certainly. If he’s wanting to go in that direction. It has crafty things and art and book and movie and music things and, well, there’s a “one-handed read” at the back that she will probably want to hide from her parents. 🙂


  3. Also, to get outside the box a little more, what does she love, and what are her dreams about? Music, art, poetry, the outdoors, animals, gardening, building things, travel? A mag “for grownups” about any of these things could help her feel more like a human being and less like a miserable teenaged girl.


  4. How about going in direct with Afar magazine? Broaden horizons and inspire wanderlust…Depending on her tastes, Oprah magazine might be a good refuge. It is sensible and sophisticated. Marie Claire is probably the most progressive mainstream women’s magazine, but the design isn’t really exciting.
    Sassy left a huge hole in the universe!


  5. Maybe “Seeing the Everyday”. Not sure if it might be to old for her but it’s filled with great stories of how the everyday moments are the one’s that count. I love this magazine.


  6. I really liked Cicada when I was 14, but I think it went through a revamp since then (I got it the year it was launched, so I don’t know anything about it as it exists now). I second the idea of mirroring her interests. Would she be interested in National Geographic or Wired?


  7. My daughter liked New Moon Girls- think it would be fine for 14, but not much beyond 16…. It was more for the arty crowd. My daughter also liked Science and those kinds of magazines (Ranger Rick when she was littler)- maybe give her a bigger perspective on life after teendom.


  8. I third the idea of checking out her interests and getting her a “grownup” magazine that goes there. We weren’t too impressed with Cicada and sadly quit the whole Cricket thing once our daughter got to that age group (she’s 15 now), though she did still enjoy Odyssey and Muse a little through about age 13. The Mental Floss suggestion is GREAT if she’s that kind of kid. Love that mag.


  9. What about The Sun? I’m remembering when I was a sad 14-year-old girl, when being treated like a regular old human would have felt like a gift. The Sun has such a range of essays that it is hard to categorize, but all of them feel very…accessible, or approachable, written by people you know rather than professionals. Might inspire her to write.


  10. My fave mag at that age was Spy, though that is possibly just weird. I think Mental Floss is a great suggestion; it always reminds me of Spy but without the bitter political edge. I also think grown up mags like New Yorker or Rolling Stone or one that covers any interest (Cook’s Illustrated,even, which I love reading even tho I am a terrible cook) are a great idea too–as i recall, any reminder of how much more the world has to offer always helped me through those hard years–still does, though the nature of the hard bits has certainly changed.


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