The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl

On Love, Body Image, School, and Making It Through Life


By Christina De Witte

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$12.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around August 7, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Addressing the struggles of young girls everywhere, this hilariously relatable comic guide to life provides real advice and encourages a new generation of teen girls to find confidence and embrace individuality.

With friends, love, social media, body image, and more–navigating young adulthood can seem impossible. The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl provides humorous and highly relatable guidelines for all of the struggles young girls face, presented in author Christina De Witte’s signature comic style and told from the point of view of her lovable Instagram and Internet character, Chrostin. A Hyperbole and a Half for the young adult audience, the book includes comics and hands-on advice about serious issues like mental health and self-care, and also deals with questions on every young girl’s mind, like “Can you survive on pizza alone?”

Quirky, hilarious, and sincere, The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girlempowers young women to challenge society’s unrealistic standards of beauty and embrace their individuality. This is sure to be a favorite for teen girls.



Now, before you head back to the store and slam this book on the counter, yelling something like, “I didn’t order this! Give me my money back!” first hear me out.

I’m not here to tell you how to live your life—as a girl, as a teenager, or as a human being. I’m here to talk about my experiences as a teenage girl and to share some of the stuff that I went through when I was around your age.

Now, I literally just got out of puberty myself… or did I? Is it ever really over? Who knows? But here’s the point I’m trying to make: my memories from “back in the day” are still fresh. As I’m writing this, I’m twenty years old. To some of you, twenty might seem ancient; to others, I’m practically an embryo. I’m good with both.

A couple years ago, I started drawing Chrostin as a getaway from the real world. Chrostin is essentially a funnier, more extroverted version of the real me. Recently, I collected my teen-girl experiences and bundled them into this book. And The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl is an answer to all the puberty guides I used to read as a teenager. The trouble with those “helpful” books I was given by well-meaning adults was that they only talked about the physical changes you go through as an adolescent, like growing pubic hair and battling acne.

I discovered firsthand that there’s a lot more to puberty than just the physical stuff. Being a teenage girl can be harsh. You will be judged all the time—at school, at work, out in public. You’ll think that you have a best friend, but then she’ll stab you in the back. Perhaps you’ll be bullied, just like many other teens. You’ll be sad, happy, and angry all at the same time. Why? You don’t know, and that makes you even more confused.

I wanted to create a book that also talks about the other stuff teens deal with—like mental health and diversity—because those are the things you don’t learn about at school. Look, I don’t have it all figured out. I’m still growing up myself. In all likelihood, I’ll have to consult this book, too, from time to time, especially when I’m having a meltdown. I’ll read it just to remind myself that it’s okay to have bad days—that it’s normal to get confused by the things that happen around you every day.

So, how does this book work?

You can read it on the toilet, on the train, in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, during your lunch break, at your grandma’s house, in your bed before you go to sleep—you get the point. This book can be read anytime, anyplace. I’ve divided it into ten chapters. We’ll start really close to ourselves, by exploring our minds and bodies, before working our way outward to look at how we deal with others and with society in general. You choose where you start: whether you want to read it front to back or back to front, or check out all the comics and drawings first. There’s no chronological order, so you can put it down and pick it back up whenever you feel like it.

Are you ready for a journey into womanhood?

Everything we do, think, or feel starts in our heads. That’s why this book begins by exploring the very center of who we are: our brain and all the mental stuff we deal with as teenagers.


I’m sorry to break it to you, but we all lie. And hey, as long as you’re not hiding a dead body in your backyard, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. We also change our minds a lot. That doesn’t make us liars; rather, it makes us human beings. But when it comes to honesty, do we really need to tell everybody everything? Do other people really need to know the unembellished truth always?

Flash back to when I was thirteen: I went shopping for clothes with the person I believed to be my best friend at the time. After browsing the racks for a while, we made our way to the fitting rooms to try on our items. We were, like I said, thirteen. But my friend was more “grown-up” than I was, and by that I mean she already had a D-cup bra at age eleven. It didn’t make her life easy; I can tell you that.

To make a long story short, she was trying on an incredibly hideous (and I mean, truly cringeworthy) top and then *insert dramatic music* she asked for my opinion: did it look good on her?

It didn’t.

I freaked out, because I’d never told her a single lie in the many years we’d been friends. And now I had the following options in which to answer my best friend:

There’s no right or wrong answer here. The truth is that we are often nicer to other people than we are to ourselves. At least, we like to think we are. Sometimes it’s okay to hold your tongue or even tell a little white lie to avoid hurting people’s feelings.

We lie about tons of things and for a variety of reasons, such as:

• sparing people’s feelings (like when your friend shows up with an awful new haircut…);

• discussing our past (sure, I did volunteer work when I was twelve and spent my days rescuing baby kittens…);

• keeping our friend’s secrets (nobody’s 100-percent safe, except my bestie); or

• avoiding looking ungrateful (when a friend made you a drawing and it’s hella ugly, but you have to appreciate the effort, although you never want to see it again. Not. Ever.).

There are times we choose to lie to protect others, and there are times we don’t. Sometimes we choose to be frank and just tell it like it is. People might mistake you for a bitch, but remember: there’s a difference between being mean and being truthful. Also, calling someone a bitch for giving their honest opinion doesn’t qualify as being nice, either, even if that person swears she’d never lie to a friend.

If you ask me, being honest is great. People will value you and your opinion more because they know you’ll tell the truth. But remember: it’s okay to tell a little fib sometimes. Suppose your sister just had a baby and you don’t think the child is adorable or cute at all. What do you do? Most likely, you won’t go telling your sister that her offspring is positively hideous—for fear of hurting her and causing irreparable damage to your relationship. So, not telling the (whole) truth is perfectly okay at times, as long as you don’t go overboard with it. Just remember: you’ll quickly lose credibility if you lie constantly, so always do so sparingly and about things that aren’t über-important.


“If I don’t have a car, a great job, a family, and a beautiful home by the age of twenty-five, I’m a failure.” “Unless I earn a lot of money, I don’t feel like I’m successful in life.” “If somebody doesn’t like me, it means I messed up.”

Do the above when-I-have-this-then-I’ll-be-happy ways of thinking sound familiar to you? What if I told you that our lives could be so much easier if we let go of the impossible standards we set for ourselves?

We all want to be happy. I’ve never heard anyone complain about being too blessed or too content, have you? However (and this is the tricky part), no matter how happy we feel about ourselves, there’s always that one person (you know the one) who seems even happier, and prettier, and cooler.… So we tend not to settle for what we have but keep aiming for something better, bigger. That’s why we are terribly hard on ourselves; nothing feels like it’s good enough when we compare ourselves with others. We then feel this urge to fulfill the never-ending desire to be the best.

The key to avoiding this pitfall is compassion. And more specifically: self-compassion. When you are compassionate, you choose love over jealousy and anger. You choose love over the envy you feel when someone else has something you don’t.

Compassion can also help you get over negative past experiences and rise above them. It’s natural to be upset (and remain upset) about unpleasant things that happened to you. It’s normal to hold a grudge against the people who caused you pain. But there’s an alternative: instead of wallowing: you can try to accept that what’s done is done. You can’t turn back time, but you can choose to invest all this negative energy you have in a more positive way. If you learn to simply let things slide sometimes, you’ll feel freer and more relaxed. Just let it go.

Did you know that holding on to anger can cause medical problems in the long run, too? Stress, burnout, hyperventilation, back problems, kidney problems, and many, many other nasty things can spring up due to pent-up anger. The bottom line: it’s better for your mental and physical health to choose love, to forgive, and to leave some things in the past.

Loving yourself will also make it easier to cope with any failures and setbacks you might experience. When you think about it, every kind of experience will teach you something and enrich you in some meaningful way. Once you discover the silver lining of failure (you messed up, but you learned something!), it isn’t that bad anymore. Once you realize that failing is a part of life, it won’t feel like the end of the world but rather an avenue toward learning new things. After all, if we never make mistakes, how on earth are we supposed to learn from them?

Failure, pain, rejection… everyone makes mistakes and everyone gets hurt sometimes. Although we tend to believe that the super successful people we admire never fail and never have to deal with rejection, that assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. J. K. Rowling is my all-time favorite example. Did you know that her manuscript was rejected twelve times by book publishers? What if she’d called it quits after the eleventh rejection? Well, thankfully she didn’t. And her Harry Potter series went on to sell more than 100 million copies. You go, girl!

Whatever adolescent life throws at you, try to accept that a failure or setback doesn’t define who you are. You are not a failure; you just made a mistake. Don’t question yourself because of it—that can seriously shake your self-esteem and confidence. Also, you need to remember that you can’t change the past, but you can shape your future. The sooner you take a step toward positivity, the sooner you’ll be able to let go of all the bad stuff.


Introverts and extroverts. Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, coined those concepts in the early twentieth century. Unfortunately, we have been using the terms to categorize people ever since, and that’s a mistake. Here’s why: it is a misconception to believe that a person is either an introvert or an extrovert. Being introverted or extroverted is more of a continuous spectrum. You are not strictly one or the other, and your position on the scale may vary from day to day.

“There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert. Such a man would be in the lunatic asylum.”

—Carl Jung

Most people don’t strongly self-identify as introverted or extroverted, and thus are considered ambiverts. People who are ambiverts have both introverted and extroverted tendencies. I am an ambivert myself. For example, I’m very outgoing, but I also tend to get really nervous when I have to meet someone I don’t know. I love chatting and talking over the phone, but my hands get clammy when I receive an incoming call from an unknown number. I love meeting new friends, but I hate taking the first step. I can be very social, but I enjoy being antisocial, too, as I appreciate my alone time.

The difference between introverts and extroverts is a chemical. As you may know, our brain has the capacity to create a feel-good hormone called dopamine. We all have different levels of dopamine-fueled stimulation in our neocortex.

People who have naturally high levels of stimulation tend to be introverts—they are cautious about getting overstimulated to avoid anxiety or stress. People who have a lower level of stimulation, on the other hand, can get bored easily and will look for external impulses to raise their level of dopamine stimulation, or in human speak: to feel good. Ambiverts will experience a bit of both, depending on the situation. Sometimes you’ll long for action and excitement; other times you’ll want to block out stimuli to protect yourself and give yourself a rest. Both are fine, as long as you listen to your body and your mind!


It’s a hard-knock life for teenagers. Do you sometimes feel like you’ve been trying so hard to achieve something, but it’s just not working out? Like you’ve poured your heart and soul into something you really want, but the many hours of hard work and effort just don’t seem to pay off? You may have made a little progress, but the result is nowhere near what you’d hoped or imagined.

I personally believe everyone has at least one point in her life where she feels like giving up—like throwing in the towel and calling it quits. I think we can often see the appeal of it depending on the situation. Keep in mind that this feeling is pretty much universal, so whoever you turn to for support in your hour of need will have no problem relating to your situation. Sometimes, a good cry on a sympathetic shoulder is all you need to get your motivation back. Unfortunately, there’s other times when—sigh—that’s just not enough to get you back on track.

I remember going through a very difficult time when I was in my senior year of college. I had to juggle schoolwork and Chrostin work, writing this book, and planning my first big Chrostin event. I had my final school project to finish and a business to run, and it wasn’t a walk in the park. Everything went so fast, and I worked long hours. One day, I got out of bed and immediately felt incredibly weak and dizzy. Like, as soon as I got up, I had to lie down again. My back and hands hurt so much, I couldn’t draw for a while. It scared the shit out of me. What if this was *dum dum dum* a burnout?

I wanted to get on top of the situation quickly, so I went to see a doctor as soon as I could. He told me I “worked too much without allowing myself a break now and then.” In order to get all my stuff done, I’d been denying myself some much needed me-time.

“Do you breathe properly?” he asked.

“Breathe?” I said.

“People often forget how important breathing is. Do you feel like you can’t catch your breath sometimes? Like you’re out of breath for no reason?”

“Sometimes. When I feel a panic attack coming on.”

“Aha. Did you know that you can prevent panic attacks by learning how to breathe correctly?”

Clearly, I didn’t know that. But I took his advice, and I’ve been feeling a lot better since that day.

It soon hit me that I had been working toward one big goal and had lost sight of the smaller milestones along the way. My ultimate goal was so far removed from what I was achieving day by day that I constantly felt like giving up. It just seemed so unrealistic, like I was never going to make it in the end. Luckily, my body warned me in time; I had to take a break.

It is important to take time for yourself sometimes—not just to rest, but also to celebrate your small successes. Don’t put off rewarding yourself until you’ve reached the end of the road, or you’ll struggle to stay motivated for the days, weeks, and maybe even months it may take you to get there. Treat yourself! Treating yourself can mean something different to each person. What do you consider a great reward? Is it a shopping trip? A dessert? A certain necklace you’ve been wanting for so long? Remember that treating yourself is purely for you, and you should not worry about money, calories, or others things in that moment. You deserve something nice every now and then.

When you’re busy, you tend to forget to celebrate the little victories and accomplishments because you’re too preoccupied with ticking off items on your to-do list. I used to be oh-so-proud to tell others that I was super busy. Busy, busy, busy. Too busy to attend that barbecue or a night out with friends. I was working toward something. I had a goal. I was focused. But was I happy? Not at all.

Nowadays, I make sure to schedule some me-time every week: a digital detox, a long hot bath, a walk, a Netflix night, a trip into the city or to the mall. I find that it’s a lot easier to maintain my motivation in the long run if I allow myself some time to relax and look back on all the minor milestones I’ve achieved. It’s so much easier to chase your dreams if you charge your batteries every now and again. You don’t see a car driving from point A to B without fuel, do you?

When you’re having a tough time and you’re tempted to give up, try to remember why you started in the first place. Make a list if you have to. Revive the motivation and enthusiasm you had in the beginning so you’ll be able to make it to the finish line.

Oh, and do you breathe properly? Read more about helpful breathing exercises in the section about social anxieties here.


Friday May 19, 2017. My friend called to ask if we could hang out and grab some dinner for her birthday. Birthday dinner? Yes, please!

“Of course! I would love to. Who’s coming?” I asked.

“Oh, just a few people. Nothing fancy,” she said.

“Do I know them?”

“Um, you know me. And everyone’s going to adore you.”

“Heh, okay. See you tonight.”

Oh no. I had this conversation at 2:00 p.m., and the dinner wouldn’t start until 7:00 p.m., giving me a solid five hours to panic. I completely freaked out because the idea of meeting new people gives me crippling anxiety. I had to find an excuse not to go. The people my friend hangs out with are cool people. Like, overly social and famous and relaxed and… hold on! What was I doing? I was overthinking this again. I needed to get a grip. I needed to pull myself together before I left my house. This was me, dreading the prospect of having to leave my comfort zone.

A comfort zone is a situation, position, or level that someone feels comfortable and confident in. Everything you do that doesn’t excite you or doesn’t give you anxiety is part of your comfort zone. Perhaps you’ve heard that stepping out of your comfort zone can be good for you. But here’s a whole list of reasons why leaving your cocoon is beneficial for you:

So, meeting new people is not necessarily a bad thing. How much you can (or want to) extend your comfort zone at a given time is absolutely up to you, and only you. That said, there will inevitably come a time when you have to be brave and face a scary, new situation. That’s why I’ll provide some tips and tricks that helped me broaden my horizons and expand my comfort zone:

• Say, “Screw it! What have I got to lose?” and do the thing.

• Find someone to help/motivate/accompany you. Sharing an experience can lower the threshold and make a scary situation less, well, scary. For example, take a friend to a networking event. You’ll notice it’s not that bad. Go on your own the next time and think of it as a new level in expanding your comfort zone.

• Prepare yourself mentally. Preparation is key. What can you expect from the situation you’re about to put yourself in? What’s the worst-case scenario? The more scenarios you anticipate, the fewer surprises you’ll run into.

• Challenge yourself each day to do or learn something new. Smile at people when you are outside walking; don’t just stare at the ground. Order something you’ve never ordered before at a restaurant. Take a different route to school. Clean your room and throw everything out that you haven’t used in a year. Go out and start a conversation. Listen to different kinds of music. Try a new hairstyle.

Don’t know where to start? Try out this cool online tool called After a short survey about your professional life, lifestyle, and adrenaline consumption, the tool gives you some great and easy tips on how to extend your comfort zone.


At this point in my life, I think sticking up for myself comes down to being able to say no to people without seeming rude or impolite. In my experience, saying no and being rude are often treated as if they are the same thing. They are not. Especially when I was a teenager, I found it difficult to say what was on my mind. Today, I can say I’m more assertive. Yes, it took me many years of learning. No, it wasn’t easy. But I no longer feel like people can walk all over me, so it was worth the effort I made as a teen to become more confident and self-assured.

Sticking up for yourself becomes even more difficult when the situation you’re in involves people you are close to, like your best friend, your partner, or your teacher/boss. But you need to know why speaking up is important for your future (personal) life and career. The main reason is that it’s easy for people to take advantage of you if you don’t open your mouth and speak up. And we wouldn’t want that, right?

Try to count how many times you’ve said yes this week to things you actually wanted to say no to. If you have zero times, congratulations! You can skip this section altogether and move on with your carefree life. If you’ve counted more than five, I think we should have a talk. Perhaps you don’t want to hear what comes next, but I promise it’ll make you feel better in the end.

It may seem like a good idea to make the following resolution: you’ll never again promise to do something you don’t want to—not ever. If you feel completely and totally uncomfortable with what you are asked to do, that is absolutely the right way to go. More power to ya! The reality is often more ambiguous and complex, however, and there’ll be times when you’ll feel inclined to agree to things you’d rather say no to. And that’s okay. Sometimes people will ask for something without necessarily meaning to take advantage of you. Such requests are called favors, and here are a few examples of them:

• When your best friend calls and needs you, but you don’t feel like socializing. You would appreciate it if she respected your need to be alone, but you talk to her anyway.

• When your sweetheart has a very boring family dinner coming up. Although you know it’s going to be boring and his/her family will most likely ask you the most embarrassing questions, it’s what you do for your partner in crime.

• When your best friend asks you to help him move. Everyone knows that moving involves a lot of stress, sweat, and lower-back pain. But it’s your best friend, and he will reward you by returning the favor when you need it.

Now that you know when it’s okay to say yes, here are some ways to say no when it’s really necessary:

• No.

• No, thanks.

• No way.

• No way, José. (This one’s extra funky.)

• Not for all the tea in China.

• Only when pigs fly.

All kidding aside, saying no is actually a matter of training yourself how to do it. When you say it for the first time, you’ll feel both empowered and slightly guilty. Try to find a balance between being super selfish and being utterly selfless. The more unwanted tasks you manage to eliminate, the happier you’ll be. Think of all the extra time you’ll have for the things you actually enjoy doing… and for those mildly unpleasant things for the benefit of your loved ones.



  • "Hand to teens who want words of wisdom from a peer and who enjoy comics."—School Library Journal
  • "The Ultimate Survival Guide to Being a Girl is jam-packed with amusing anecdotes and genuinely helpful advice for young women navigating the precarious teenage years."—-Josh Shipp, author of The Teen's Guide to World Domination
  • "[Chrostin's] highly relatable situations have made her every girl's best friend on Instagram."—Bored Panda,
  • "Chrostin . . . is a character to be reckoned with. From her obsession with snacks to her passive attention to beauty standards, Chrostin is seriously all of us just trying to (occasionally) win at life."—,
  • "De Witte's message is simple but powerful. She wants to remind everyone with her comics that it's OK to feel like you're a total mess sometimes. That's something we can all relate to."—Upworthy,
  • "[Chrostin's comics are] so on point it hurts."—Comedy Central UK,

On Sale
Aug 7, 2018
Page Count
240 pages
Running Press Kids

Christina De Witte

About the Author

Christina De Witte began creating comics in art school but was criticized for their “childish” nature. Despite the negative criticism, she continued to pursue her dream of creating webcomics and in time, Chrostin was born. Now, Christina studies Communications and lives with her father, grandfather, brother, and cat in a small city in Belgium.

Learn more about this author