Focus on the Family Clubhouse Magazine was a staple of my middle school years. My great-grandmother gave me a subscription for Christmas each year, and I still have several years worth of issues on my bookshelf. Eventually, Grandma decided I was old enough to graduate and switched the subscription to Brio. By the time Brio went out of print, I’d moved on to Writer’s Digest, but when Focus on the Family announced they were relaunching their teen girls’ magazine, I decided to grab a discounted subscription to review here!
So, should you or shouldn’t you subscribe to Brio Magazine?
Years ago, when I received Brio as a young teenager, I found the content only partially relatable. As a homeschool student, many of the topics covered didn’t show up in my every day life. Purity mattered to me, but I wasn’t surrounded daily by peers who threw purity to the wind and pressured me to do the same. The popularity rat race and struggles with body image didn’t resonate with me either.
This new version of Brio isn’t as heavy on those topics as I remember, but I still think this magazine will be more relevant to girls in public or private school than homeschooled students.
My main critique of the magazine is that I wish the articles on faith dug a little deeper. The content I read in the first two issues was good but somewhat shallow. There’s good reason to include basics in a magazine for young people! Many young teens haven’t begun to take their relationship with Jesus seriously and need a nudge in the right direction. Many others are just beginning to make their faith their own and a good foundation in the basics is healthy for them. However, other teens are well grounded in their faith already, and they need some deeper encouragement and spiritual nourishment. I wish there was more in this magazine for the third group as well as the first two.
Health and Beauty
I think the magazine did a great job with these sections. A Q&A with a doctor offers answers to readers questions, and I learned some new stuff. The beauty tips have the same tone as mainstream teen magazines, but offer ideas to help teens be “in” but still modest.
Dating and Romance
One of my big frustrations with the magazine as a young teenager was that it regularly discussed dating. At fourteen, I wasn’t ready or interested in having a boyfriend, and I didn’t care to read about girls trying to draw a line on how far was too far or nursing broken hearts after a break-up.
The first two issues of the re-launched magazine have included articles about relationships, but they’ve steered clear of directly addressing the teenage dating scene. The first issue had an article about qualities to look for in a future husband. The second issue included a brief outline of Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages,” and little blurb interviews with guys on how teen guys perceive girls. Maybe they’ll have articles about dating later on, and I’d be okay with one every now and then–after all, it would definitely be relevant to some of their readers. However, I’m happy that they’re discussing other topics too.
There haven’t been any fictional stories yet. The stories were my favorite part of Clubhouse Magazine, and I remember there being a few in the old Brio Magazine. I miss them! If you’re looking for some fun short-stories, Brio doesn’t seem to be the way to go.
The first issue included an interview with one of the teenagers from Duck Dynasty, while the second featured a young Christian music artist. They were pretty basic, in my opinion. If readers are looking for a little inside scoop on Christian celebrities, the interviews to a pretty good job of that. If you want some serious encouragement or advice–there is a little of both, but so far it’s been fairly generic.
If you’re looking for a wholesome alternative to Seventeen or Teen Vogue, Focus on the Family’s Brio is a great choice. However, if you’re looking for a magazine that’s going to go deep with young adult readers and encourage significant spiritual growth, Brio may fall short of the mark.
What magazines do you subscribe to? Which would you recommend? Have you subscribed to Brio? What are your thoughts and opinions of it?