Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Book Review: Please, No Zits! by Anne Bradshaw

Please, No Zits! and other short stories for LDS youth is a collection of short stories set in America, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Bradshaw, a native of England, tackles tough issues faced by teens ranging from drugs, cheating, low self-esteem, and simply worrying about who to date. Bradshaw addresses them all with humor and warmth.

With such a wide range of topics from both boy and girl points of view, everyone can find a story that resonates with them. My favorite story is “Santa’s Helper on a Skateboard” which inspired me to be better at serving others. Please, No Zits! could be used as a springboard for discussions on many things, either in Family Home Evening or just around the table.

Short story form is perfect for the normally busy life of young adults. You can take a few minutes whenever you want for a quick and inspiring pick-me-up. The easy reading may also help entice some of those reluctant readers to take a peek.

Anne is not only a talented author, but she is making a name for herself as a screenwriter with her screenplay The Ardanea Pendant, winner of the SciFi Fantasy Award at the International Family Film Festival Hollywood, March 2008. For a special treat, Anne Bradshaw agreed to an interview. Thanks so much, Anne!

Question: Why did you write Please, No Zits!?

I always loved fiction in the New Era when they used to publish it, and found that young people related well to discovering answers for their many problems through uplifting and exciting stories. It is a non-threatening way to learn how to deal with life while keeping Gospel goals.

Question: Who would you say will enjoy reading Please, No Zits!?

I’ve had positive feedback from all age groups, although it’s written primarily for teens—both young men and young women. I was surprised the other week, to receive enthusiastic approval from a dear eighty-year old lady, followed the next day by unlooked for praise from a seventeen-year old. I guess everyone remembers how it was to be young. The stories are, however, right up-to-date.

Question: Does the book have a practical use besides a fun read?

I hope so. Our family always enjoyed reading the occasional story for Family Home Evening when growing up. This proved to be an excellent base for discussion and internalizing values without pointing fingers. I think Please, No Zits! stories would be ideal for this purpose.

Question: Where did you get your ideas?

I worked for many years with teenagers, in Seminary, Sunday School, and with the Young Women when living in England, and observed what they went through. Listening and watching them interact gave me many ideas. Imagination did the rest—plus my own vivid memories of being that age. I also wrote fiction and non-fiction for the New Era for many years, and interviewed many fine young people throughout Britain.

Question: Are any of your characters real?

The only real live people are the two on the front cover, although no one would recognize them. The young woman is my granddaughter, and her cousin is the young man.

Question: Why did you include a story about drug addiction?

I feel so very sorry for anyone who is addicted to anything at any age. For teenagers to lose all to drugs is tragic. I wanted to reach out to them, help in some small way, to both prevent more heartbreak, and to point toward healing.

Please, No Zits! can be ordered from, the BYU Bookstore, Latter-day, or
You find out more about Anne and her books at her website, or her blog, Not Entirely British.

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