Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review: Just Like Elizabeth Taylor by Lu Ann Brobst Staheli

Title:Just Like Elizabeth Taylor
Author:Lu Ann Brobst Staheli
Publisher:Back Yard Press
Pub. Date:7/13/2013

**Winner of the Utah Arts Council Original Writing Competition, Juvenile Division
**Winner of the League of Utah Writer’s Juvenile Novel & Diamond Quill Award

“I was named after a movie star. Elizabeth Taylor. Mom didn’t have any idea that my life—and hers—would turn out to be filled with those same unglamorous experiences her idol had faced. Life wasn’t all movie stars and parties.”

Twelve-year-old Liz Taylor has known for a long time that she would escape—escape the abuse against herself—escape her mother’s boyfriend Mark. Liz just doesn't know how or when. 
Then the perfect opportunity comes—money left on the table by Mark—and Liz is on the run. But a girl her age doesn’t have many options when it comes to hideouts, making a K.O.A. Kampground and a nearby middle school her perfect choices. 

If she can keep her true identity secret, Liz knows she can make it on her own, until she realizes she must face her situation head on if she is to save herself and her mom.

Summary and picture via Goodreads.

Elizabeth Taylor was named after the movie star, but her life was anything but glamorous. Forced to live with her mother's abusive boyfriend and equally abusive son, Liz isn't sure she can take things much longer. One day she finally makes a break for freedom when she sees her chance thrown before her. Liz starts a whole new life, but she finds out that you can't hide from your past forever. Liz will be forced to find an incredible strength to save herself and her mother.

This book did not go where I expected at all. Elizabeth Taylor's world is pretty horrific. Her mother has an abusive boyfriend, and Liz herself has to deal the the boyfriends abusive son. Through it all Liz doesn't lose her sense of perspective though. She knows she has to get out of the situation she's in. When she finally sees a chance to escape, she takes it. Liz makes a relatively decent life for herself on her own all things considered, but naturally she doesn't want to get too close to anyone. There's one girl though who seems overly peppy and overly needy. Liz wants to avoid this girl, but she can't seem to escape being drawn into this world as well.

Watching Liz deal with all the things going on in her life were terribly sad, and it makes this book feel very heavy at times. Don't go into this book thinking that it's a fun light read or anything. However, there is a sense of hope and strength throughout the story. Liz is a fighter no matter what happens. That isn't to say she's unusually strong or anything. When she sees her past suddenly in front of her, she reacts in a way that's very believable. This doesn't take away from everything she does though. Elizabeth Taylor may not have a movie star life, but she is a heroine.

Book provided for review.

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