Dear Alex and Brett Harris,
Just the idea of a "rebelution" makes my blood boil and my heart beat faster. I'm a "teenager," right? Rebellion is something all teens understand. So when I saw your book Do Hard Things on my brother's bookshelf I thought 'Hey, that looks cool.' So I grabbed it, and I read it, and I saw my life in a new (though, not necessarily flattering) way.
It took some time before it really hit me that you two were serious about your "rebelution." It was a while after that before I realized you were right. I realized I had spent my whole life sinking below the tides of low expectations, and so had almost all the students in the Spencer Middle School. I couldn't believe (and still can't) that I had come into the mindset that I didn't have to try, just because I was in some advanced classes. I had become everything I scorned: arrogant, egotistical, conceited, vain, and narcissistic, even if no one else could see it. The point was, deep inside, that was the person I had become. I couldn't look at myself for the longest time.
After I realized that, I put your book down. I didn't want to have that feeling, have those thoughts shattering the mental wall that I had spent so long building. After a while, I managed to push those thoughts to the back of my mind and move on. Things went back to normal, and thoughts of Do Hard Things all but vanished. I got lazy and complacent again.
Then, weeks later, I found it again, buried at the bottom of my dresser drawer. With a sigh, I pulled it free from the mess of clothes strewn around and on top of it. I sat down at my desk and stared at it for nearly an hour, just sitting and thinking. You see, I had never not finished a book before. Did I really want to make this book a first? No. I had to act as drill sergeant in order to get myself through the first half again. My initial reaction the second time around was similar to the first. I wanted to hide the book in my drawer again. Somehow, though, I managed to continue. My anger spurred me on, though whether it was irrational anger at you for your brutally honest book, myself for allowing this to happen to me, or society for initially causing all of this, I'm not sure. It might have been all three.
When I finished the book Do Hard Things, I knew I could never be the same person I had been and still look at myself in the mirror. My anger at you had died. However, my fury with myself and society remained, stronger than ever, though slightly distorted. It now takes the shape of fiery determination: Determination to grow stronger than ever before. Determination to overcome the tides of low expectations. Determination to rise above the stereotype of being a "teenager."
Caitlyn R. Peterson