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Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*GirlForce: A Girl's Guide to the Body and Soul* by Nikki Goldstein- young adult book review  
GirlForce: A Girl's Guide to the Body and Soul
by Nikki Goldstein
Ages 12+ 224 pages Bloomsbury USA May 2009 Paperback    

Leave it to the Aussies to be ahead of the game. Nikki Goldstein has gone beyond the usual ho-hum how-to for teens and produced an introduction to ayurvedic living that is guaranteed to help readers improve every aspect of their lives.

If the word ayurveda isn’t familiar to you, here’s the concept in a nutshell: Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health that originated in India many centuries ago. Its goal is to balance body, mind, and spirit by identifying the individual’s dosha, or life force. The doshas are identified by the elements associated with them – Air, Fire, or Earth — and each can be affected positively or adversely by the food we eat, the activities in which we engage, and by our general lifestyles.

GirlForce: A Girl's Guide to the Body and Soul begins with some quick quizzes to help you determine your own dosha – Air, Fire, or Earth. Once that’s established, you’ll find a neat, easy-to-use chart for each dosha that makes planning a nutritionally balanced eating plan appropriate to your body type a snap.

It’s important to note that no foods are forbidden. Rather, ayurveda recommends eating more of some foods, less of others in order to pacify aggravated doshas and maintain maximum health. “Air girls thrive when they eat… sweet, sour and salty tastes,” Goldstein advises. For Fire girls, it’s “sweet, bitter and astringent tastes,” while Earth girls do best with “pungent and astringent tastes.”

Ayurvedic principles extend to every other area of life, too. Some types of exercise are better suited to Air girls —Tai Chi and archery, for instance — while Earth girls will find balance easier to come by if they engage in vigorous activities such as aerobics, running, and tennis.

Yoga, like ayurveda, is an ancient practice from India, and it also can have beneficial effects on the mind and spirit as well as on the body. Just as with food and exercise, yoga poses generate greater benefits when tailored to your dosha. Goldstein includes full yoga routines for each of the three doshas, with photos and clear instructions for each pose.

GirlForce helpfully recommends essential oils, skin care methods, and make-up tips for each dosha, too. “[E]ach Body Type is beautiful in its own way,” Goldstein reminds us. “You’ll boost self-esteem and confidence when you find out what skincare routines, styles of clothing, colours and jewellery will heal and balance your particular Body Type.”

Beyond all this, there is an entire section dedicated to stress reduction. Like ayurveda and yoga, stress affects us in many areas but in negative ways, so it is especially important that we learn to manage stress before it takes over our lives. Each dosha experiences different symptoms when stressed, and GirlForce’s clear explanations and charts make it easy to recognize and address those red-flag symptoms when they occur.

Self-esteem, relationships, and daily routines are all included here, with excellent advice from the ancient masters to get yourself back on the balance beam. Nikki Goldstein’s GirlForce: A Girl's Guide to the Body and Soul is a must-read for all girls, whatever their ages.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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  Deborah Adams/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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