This is a great little introduction to helping teenagers in crisis. It must be noted that this is only an introduction but Penner does provide a list of books, 1-800 numbers and websites for further information and teen assistance.
He first introduces the subject and identifies four styles that youth pastors and others working with hurting teens adopt: hugger, teacher, preacher, and surgeon. He then explains his paradigm which is based on L.O.V.E.: Listening, Offering, Validating, and Eliminating, Empowering, and Expecting. He then provides “rules of referral” for when a worker is out of their depth with a particular situation. This is followed by ten chapters dealing with subjects that most beginning youth workers will find above their ability to deal with. These are eating disorders, suicide, rape, pregnancy, substance abuse, grief and loss, self-injury, family breakdown, pornography and sexual addictions, and depression. Each chapter ends with a list of some further resources. These are not enough to fully deal with a given situation but they are a start and the listing of toll-free hotlines is very useful.
On the whole this is a great book for those just starting out as a youth pastor or those beginning to volunteer with youth and encountering much more than they bargained for.