Kristina Riggle's 5 Things I'd Tell the Teen Me

Today's guest: Kristina Riggle Her latest: Keepsake (Out tomorrow- June 26)

Why we love her: In every novel (this is her fourth) she creates characters we care about.

The scoop: What happens when the things we own become more important than the people we love?

Trish isn't perfect. She's divorced and raising two kids—so of course her house isn't pristine. But she's got all the important things right and she's convinced herself that she has it all under control. That is, until the day her youngest son gets hurt and Child Protective Services comes calling. It's at that moment when Trish is forced to consider the one thing she's always hoped wasn't true: that she's living out her mother's life as a compulsive hoarder.

The last person Trish ever wanted to turn to for help is her sister, Mary—meticulous, perfect Mary, whose house is always spotless . . . and who moved away from their mother to live somewhere else, just like Trish's oldest child has. But now, working together to get Trish's disaster of a home into livable shape, two very different sisters are about to uncover more than just piles of junk, as years of secrets, resentments, obsessions, and pain are finally brought into the light.

Our thoughts: Both neat freaks, we were intrigued by this plot. And the book far surpassed our high expectations.

Fun fact: She dabbles in musical theatre!

Giveaway: 5 copies! Just leave a comment and be entered to win. We'll randomly select the winners on Sunday, July 1st after 6PM PST

Where you can read more about Kristina: Facebook, Twitter and her website.


First of all, teen-agers know everything, so they don’t listen to anyone, even time-traveling older versions of themselves. Especially an older self, because this older self has given up on current Top 40 music (mostly, Adele excepted) and drives a minivan, and thus would have no street cred at all with Teen Kristina. My husband, when I said this out loud, replied that “If any teen-ager would have listened to an adult version of themselves, it would have been you.” Come to think of it, I did have (for a teen) a healthy respect for authority. To that end…

1) Dear Teen Kristina, stop trying so hard to be perfect all the time. (Hmm. Adult Kristina needs to remember this one, too.) Seriously, if you get a B+ instead of an A- on that test, I promise you the earth will not crack under your feet and swallow you whole. And guess what? Once you’re out of high school, no one gives a rotten egg what your GPA was.

2) Dear Teen Kristina, try lots of different stuff. Yes, I know that you decided at 14 years old to be a journalist and that pursuing journalist-like activities in high school and college is worthy and important. But your single-minded, laser-like focus on this ambition keeps you from other interesting pursuits, like musical theater, or studying Italian abroad. If I told you that eight years after college you would no longer even be using this degree you busted ass for, would you believe me? No? Why are you curled into a fetal position? No, really, it all works out anyway, I promise….

3) Dear Teen Kristina, don’t spend time with people who make you feel like crap. I know, you think it’s your fault for being too sensitive, and if you were only cooler, prettier and more stylish then you wouldn’t feel bad. But you know what? It doesn’t matter why. If you feel bad around certain people, go find other people. You’re actually well liked. No, really. It’s true.

4) Dear Teen Kristina,  boys are attracted to confidence more than physical beauty. Remember when boys flirted with you right after you got your contact lenses, and you thought, “Ah ha, I knew I’d be pretty when I got rid of my glasses.” No, they flirted with you because you felt pretty without your glasses. Teen boys themselves wouldn’t be able to articulate this, but it’s true. I’ve seen it in action. I’ve seen women you would never, ever see on a magazine cover attract guys like electromagnets all because of a sizzling and irresistible confidence. By the way, that magical vision-fixing surgery you dreamed of? It exists, but it’s expensive and you are afraid to let someone laser your eyes. Yes, laser. Anyway, by now you can throw away contact lenses so it doesn’t matter if you lose one.

5) Dear Teen Kristina, college is just as awesome as you think it will be. When you’re not making yourself sick with stress, that is. Remember to enjoy those four years, because you’ll never experience anything like it again. p.s. Pay careful attention to that guy you meet on New Year’s Eve, 1991. Trust me.

Thanks, Kristina!