Cover Image: Girls on the Brink

Girls on the Brink

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Member Reviews

Thank you Rodale and NetGalley for this ARC.

As the mother of girls this book was invaluable,   I learned so much and things I previously read were substantiated.   The subject matter doesn’t shy from the tough subjects however it is very accessible, easy to read . I feel a little more confident navigating through the tough times and am  thankful for the clarity and insightfulness reading this book has provided. 

 I highly recommend this book and am grateful for the opportunity to review this ARC.
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I was very interested in reading this book as I have been doing a lot of research into mental health and how it's affecting people these days, especially girls and women, after dealing with my own mental health issues and witnessing people close to me struggle with the same thing. This was very insightful. It was easy to read, which is great because sometimes nonfiction books dealing with health and wellness/science can be filled with terminology or writing styles that makes it difficult for a lay-person to actually understand and process all the information being presented.
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I really liked the blend of real-life stories and scientific knowledge and background. As a mother of a teenage daughter who has been struggling with anxiety and panic attacks since 2020, this book was exactly what I needed. It both helped me better process some of my childhood trauma as well as provides ways I can help my own daughter thrive. I also love when a book includes action-oriented steps you can take to work through these challenging times.
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As the mother of a teenage son and a preteen son, I devoured an advance copy of Girls on the Brink.  This book provides adults with a mirror and tools to understand our own childhood/teen trauma and adversity and the challenges that followed. Further, and more specifically, this book is a must-read for parents - particularly for parents of girls.  It's vital reading for anyone who knows girls.  Donna Jackson Nakazawa tackles the pressing question: "What is going on with our girls?"  She highlights research, studies, and interviews.  She probes the question scientifically and personally - interviewing girls, young women, and a wide range of specialists, including scientists, professors, doctors, and more.  After painting a vivid and complete picture of the issues facing girls, Donna Jackson Nakazawa devotes the largest portion of her book to fifteen antidotes: fifteen ways we can help and support girls, so they may thrive in these challenging times.  I can't recommend this book highly enough.  I have already purchased 4 copies to share with friends, and I'll be purchasing more soon.  Thank you to Donna Jackson Nakazawa for writing this compelling, urgent, and life-blessing book.
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This was a tough book for me to review/rate. There is a lot of good information here but it also often feels overwhelming. Statistics, epigenetics, psychological theories, etc. The first half of the book also has a unrelenting sense of catastrophe. Sexism, racism , climate change, mass shooting, etc.; It’s as if young people are living in a dystopian world. No mention of the fact that, in important ways, America is safer than practically any country in history. And no real discussion of how the media catastrophizes so much of our lives. How is a culture dominated by progressives so toxic? There doesn't seem to be room for nuance and scale. Surely. individual circumstances play an important role in the level of trauma and threat to girls' safety but it felt like the book was lumping all girls into the same threat level at times.

The chief argument of the book however is important. Basically, girls are particularly susceptible to long term stressors when young and this has serious consequences as they age. Our social media saturated culture amplifies these stressors in dangerous ways. As a result rates for anxiety and depression are exploding. This is biological not simply psychological. Girls are losing an important aspect of their development with dangerous repercussions.

For me, the strongest part of the book was the second half where the author offers antidotes to help girls flourish. I think these sections are very helpful in thinking about protecting girls from a hostile world.

Maybe those with a background in science would find the first half more compelling and those without a suspicion of progressivism could get past the constant mantra of sexism, racism, climate crisis, etc. take that for what it is worth.
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As a mom of a 2 year old girl, and as a woman who struggled with an eating disorder for a large part of her young adult life, I worry constantly about the impact of media and social media on my child. I grew up without the devastating impacts of social media, but the messages I received in the media in general were enough to impress upon me the importance of what I looked like, and I grew up feeling not good enough. It took me years of therapy as an adult to  begin to overcome some truly negative thoughts I have held about my worth and value as a person. I worry that my daughter will be predisposed because of me, and with the looming presence of social media that she will encounter in the future, I want to ensure she is armed with tools to navigate what she will face in a way that I wasn’t. This book by Donna Jackson Nakazawa, “Girls on the Brink” is just what I needed to navigate raising a confident and empowered daughter in today's world! 

Not only does the Nakazawa go through the statistics of how harmful social media is on our young girls in perpetuating unrealistic standards, expectations, and ideas about what a woman is or should be, she also shares strategies for how parents can be a bigger influence than that of the media, to provide buffers against what messages they will encounter in the world. 

The mark of a good book for me is one I keep writing passages down from because I want to revisit and really soak in the wisdom, and this book had that for me. I will be coming back to Nakazawa's words again and again to make sure that my young girl has some armor for what she will face as she gets older. 

Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for the Advanced Review Copy that was provided for my review. I will be a better mom to my daughter because of this book, and I thank you Donna Nakazawa for sharing this with us. The book is available today. For anyone raising young girls, I highly recommend you check this out!
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"Girls on the Brink"  has been extensively researched and is practically required reading for parents trying to maintain a healthy self image for their teenage daughters. 
 I plan to send a hardback copy to my sister to use as a reference for guiding her teenage daughter to navigate high school to adulthood.
I thought it was interesting that the first advice to parents was to look back at your own childhood and remember how you reacted to a trauma you may have had, and to realize you should try not to react that way now to a trauma your child may have.  
The book states that girls suffer more from poor self image, anxiety and depression than boys.  As a mother of a son, I do not think this is entirely true.  However, this book provides many ways to empathize and empower your teen, which can be applied to both sexes.
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As a mother of two preteens, I needed this book and found it to be a great resource. Donna Jackson Nakazawa artfully blends cutting edge science with real experiences to create an eye opening and impactful book with antidotes/strategies that we can use in our day to day life. I will be recommending this book to anyone that cares for or has a girl in their life.
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Our young girls today face so much adversity in their lives. One may think that it is only psychologically based however, as Donna Jackson Nakazawa explains, there is a biological focus as well. Girls are maturing earlier, being exposed to so many more chemicals and hormones than in the past, and they are faced with the onslaught of social media.  All of these factors have contributed to the increase in depression, anxiety, and other stress related diseases that are on the rise in our young women. There is an entire section of the book dedicated to strategies that can be used to help young girls. There is so much worthwhile information in this book.  There is data, research, strategies, and much more to help young girls.  While there is so much information presented, one would think that it would be impossible to follow and understand. That couldn’t be farthest from the truth. Donna Jackson Nakazawa is able to integrate all of this information and make it easily understood by all readers. As a current educator, this book is a phenomenal read and I highly recommend it. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the advance review copy in exchange for my honest review.
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I highly recommend Girls on the Brink, a new title by brilliant science journalist, author, and teacher Donna Jackson Nakazawa. This book is especially relevant for parents of pre-school to college-age daughters, as well as teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, therapists, and all of us who care about helping girls in coping with the challenges relating to living in our world today. 

In this book, Jackson Nakazawa potently connects the dots to underscore an unfortunate reality: while the increasing stressors and adversity of growing up today has brought us a never-ending mental health crisis for kids in general, it is especially harmful to girls. 

In the first half of the book, Jackson Nakazawa lays out the scientific facts and shares the key factors as to why the stressors of life today are having an exceedingly negative impact on girls. In the second half, the author shifts from explaining the situation and related problems to offering actionable solutions. She lays out a framework and tools in the form of fifteen antidotes designed to help our girls overcome the daunting adversity and find a sense of wellbeing.

Jackson Nakazawa elegantly weaves together scientific data, research insights, and anecdotal stories to create a compelling work on the urgent need to mitigate the damage from toxic stressors on our girls. While deep enough in the science, Jackson Nakazawa is also very relatable on an emotional level as she shares her paradoxical feelings of deep concern with her hope for the future and concludes by making a very compelling case that we need to act now.

Girls on the Brink gives non-scientists and “regular people like me” a solid understanding of the potential impacts of traumatic childhood experiences on our health and wellness in adulthood – and specifically, to girls and women. It belongs on the bookshelf next to two other notable works on these complex subjects: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk, M.D. and The Deepest Well by Nadine Burke-Harris, M.D.

In my work as a trauma-informed mindfulness teacher and coach, I often work with teenagers and young adults. I’ve seen the challenges of “growing up today” through the tears in their eyes. For the sake of all of us, and especially our girls and young women, I hope that the information in this provocative new book reaches as many people as possible, as soon as possible.
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Must read if you have girls, work with girls or even know girls.  Informative, enlightening read.  I was able to read it early through Netgalley but it will be released in a couple of weeks. 
Don't miss this book
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Donna is an absolutely BRILLIANT medical journalist! Once again she has taken an incredibly important and complex issue and written about it in a highly approachable way that is also deeply rooted in science and absolutely fascinating.

Though I only have one child, and he is a boy, Donna’s latest book is extremely important to me as someone on a mission to make the world a healthier and happier place...and it should be to everyone. The massive problems our girls are facing impacts ALL of us.

Donna saw this rapidly growing problem - rates of anxiety, depression, & self-harming in our girls - and took the initiative to get to the root of it by chasing the “Why?” From her many years of investigating other somewhat ignored, yet epidemic, societal health issues she knows THAT is the only way to find solutions that really bring about change and healing.

Donna’s findings base this issue in biology. The “perfect storm” combination of earlier puberty, non-stop social media exposure, and cultural misogyny, during a vulnerable neurodevelopmental time can trigger a stress-immune response that locks females into some of the widespread mental and physical health challenges we see them facing at much higher rates than ever before.

We have gotten to a critical moment in time where it really needs to be “all hands on deck” to help save our girls. Thankfully Donna provides the roadmap and brings very doable solutions to the table that we can all use with the girls in our lives. Essentially, each one of us is a "bucket" that takes in many inputs from society and our every day lives, but when we can address even one stressor we can make a difference. When we support our girls in this way the ripple effect will not only improve the world now, but also future generations to come.

This is a book that needs to be shared with everyone you know. Donna has truly started a movement!
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A must-read for parents and educators! Donna Jackson Nakazawa, a research journalist, gets it right in her latest book, Girls on the Brink-Helping Our Daughters Thrive in an Era of Increased Anxiety, Depression, and Social Media. Jackson shares some of the current research about the interplay between hormones (particularly estrogen) and the developing brain at a time when advances in society and technology have far outpaced humans' ability to adapt and thrive.  

Jackson posits that gone are the days when adolescence was a time to treat lightly into adulthood; today, prepping for college starts in elementary school (or earlier). Competition is embedded in nearly every area of life, potentially leading to increased stress and poor self-image...and all of this is on display, thanks to social media, for friends and strangers to 'like', critique, and use as fodder for abuse on social media.

Help and healing come in the form of 15 antidotes. Largely relationship-based, these antidotes provide strategies for understanding trauma and its effect on physical and mental health as well as concrete ways to build an appreciation for voice and choice, taming reactions, and taking action.
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Girls on the Brink is a must-read for parents, teachers, and healthcare professionals. Donna Jackson Nakazawa conscientiously explores the evolving science behind how and why our girls are suffering digging into the roles of biology, psychology, and social structures. What is more important though is rather than allowing us to sit paralyzed in the overwhelming nature of the problem, she then empowers readers to use any combination of the 15 different strategies and scripts to forge stronger more supportive relationships with our daughters. As a mom of 2 young girls and a physician, I have no doubt that I will be returning back to this book time and time again in the coming years.
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As a Psychologist, I work with young adult females that are struggling with a lot of anxiety.  This book does a masterful job of presenting the multitude of issues that girls and young adults face today and have been facing in the past 10 years.  Not only does it go through and explains the various challenges that girls face today, but it also provides thoughtful antidotes.  This is a great book for parents, aunts, educators, therapists, nurses, primary care physicians, or just about anyone really, to read.
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I’m a big fan of Donna Jackson Nakazawa's work. As a holistic psychotherapist, I routinely recommend her books to clients and friends and am excited about Girls on the Brink. Donna has a straightforward and warm writing style and a knack for translating scientific concepts into accessible language. Drawing from cutting edge neuroscience, she reveals the biological and emotional effects of the significant stressors girls face in our society today. This stress has led to an increase in anxiety, depression, and self-harm. Donna shares examples and, with thoughtful sensitivity, walks us through the many emotional challenges our girls struggle with in a society not often supportive of, and that at times undermines, girls’ healthy development. In this hopeful book, Donna offers 15 powerful and simple strategies that parents, relatives, and professionals can immediately put into practice to help girls foster strong self-worth, emotional connectedness with self and others, and feelings of inner and outer safety. If you’re a parent or have girls in your life, buy this book right now! It’s an essential resource for your girls’ wellbeing.
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Donna Jackson Nakazawa does it again with her upcoming book, Girls on the Brink: Helping Our Daughters Thrive in an Era of Increased Anxiety, Depression, and Social Media. She blends real-life situations with scientific knowledge and analysis. And concluding the book with strong antidotes goes a long way to helping parents and mentors counter the toxicity of girls’ everyday lives.

Jackson Nakazawa breaks the content into three distinct sections: explaining the situation, exploring the science, and offering fifteen achievable antidotes. Through it all, she uses the lives of three young women to illustrate her points and balance science with reality.

This is a must-read for every parent, teacher, and health care professional. Jackson Nakazawa has already published several books about science, medicine, and brain health using women’s experiences and perspectives. Now she turns her eyes to the next generation. Considering the prominence of cyberbullying, among other concerns, the choice makes perfect sense.

Adverse versus Positive Childhood Experiences
Jackson Nakazawa previously wrote about the science behind adverse childhood experiences (ACES) in Childhood Disrupted. Significant ACES affect our lifelong health. But, here she revisits that information as it happens rather than decades down the line. By describing the lives of those three young women, the author illustrates the short-term impact of absentee parents, poverty, childhood sexual abuse, as well as other situations.

Conversely, Jackson Nakazawa also discusses the impact of positive mentors and community, such as teachers and nurturing social situations. Hopefully, seeing girls’ lives from this perspective will inspire more adults to truly listen to and support the young women in their lives.

Puberty and Hormones
Girls’ early teen years are made more complicated by the hormonal changes they experience. And girls experience puberty even earlier now. This means that the time between childhood and the teen years accelerates. Coping with the change is a struggle for girls and their families. Jackson Nakazawa shines the light of information and antidotes into this space.

It’s also worth noting that social media and popular culture over-sexualize girls and teens. The back-to-school styles are more provocative than ever. Girls judge themselves against adult influencers on TikTok and every other platform. Jackson Nakazawa explains why this is concerning and offers better ways to approach it with our girls.

My Conclusions
This book is full to the brim with information and ideas. Attempting to summarize every point would only do it a disservice. But as I worked my way through it, Jackson Nakazawa offered invaluable insights. Most importantly, she reminds us to listen to girls and provide them a safe space to talk out their challenges.

Jackson Nakazawa’s other books tell her own story, which also illustrates an important point. She repeatedly encourages parents, especially mothers, to deal with their ACES and trauma. Not only does it model positive behavior for girls, but it also helps keep the temperature down when girls’ teenage issues heat up.

It’s also worth saying that the author’s perspective is a feminist one. She reminds us that girls’ rights are human rights. And we as adults made this world, which challenges kids today, especially girls. That attitude resonates with my own and enhances Girls on the Brink.

Jackson Nakazawa is a mom as well as an author, so she’s got skin in the game. That adds to her nuanced understanding of 21st-century girls and teen life. This book is essential reading for moms, dads, grandparents, favorite aunts, and anyone who influences a girl’s life. Pick up a few extra to give as holiday gifts—I know I am.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Random House, and the author for a digital advanced reader’s copy in exchange for this honest review. The expected publication date for this book is September 13, 2022.
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I received a free e-arc of this book through Netgalley. This review is completely my own thoughts and opinions.
It was very interesting to read about why adolescent girls have a harder time with anxiety and depression because of our biology, but that doesn't mean that girls are the weaker sex. 
"Stressors unique to modern life including: amplification of toxic gendered messaging via social media, loss of freedom, emotional safety and play in late childhood, increased pressure to succeed and perform, the general chaotic state of the world." This all plays into our biology that tells us not to be kicked out of the tribe, to conform. The dichotomy that we say men and women are equal while there is still blatant mysogny in the workplace, the classroom, and every where else. The author provides 15 antidotes to try to combat the stressors that our daughters face in the world. I found it to be an interesting read with hope amidst the pain.
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Overall, I enjoyed this book. I did find it to be a bit redundant and didn't necessarily agree with all of the author's assumptions, but her intentions are good and some or her advice was helpful. I do feel like she doesn't accurately describe how affected men are by stress as well since it is less socially acceptable for them to express it than females. I tried to overlook that for the sake of the book being about females, but it did still bother me when brought up throughout. I really liked her recommendations on connection and forming strong bonds with daughters while postponing or avoiding their social media use.
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Girls on the Brink is a great read for anyone who knows and cares about girls today.  Jackson Nakazawa does a great job making accessible the science behind why girls are struggling so much with their mental health today.  I appreciated that she provided concrete things individuals can do to support the girls in our lives, while also emphasizing the fact that to truly fix these problems requires societal change.  Highly recommend!
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