Ask Elizabeth

 
(i)

 

Sweet advice scrapbook is a helpful choice for teens.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The book will get girls thinking about important issues -- like how they feel about themselves or how to deal with issues like bullies or a broken heart. Berkley includes essays from experts and provides resources for teens who need additional help.

Positive messages

In the intro, Berkley writes: "I want to help you break through any doubt or insecurity you might be feeling and replace it with confidence and fearlessness. I want to give you that gift so that you know that no matter what you're going through, or whatever comes your way down the road, you can handle it."

Positive role models

Berkley shares her own experiences of growing up and includes notes from other girls who have gotten through tough situations.

Violence

Some discussion of tough topics, including the sudden death of a friend, cutting, attempted suicide, and dating abuse.

Sex

Sticks more to relationship advice, including deciding whether or not to dress "hot," how to tell whether a relationship is healthy, and how to break up with grace.

Language

A few use of words like "bitch" and "hell."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Not glamorized, but teens do mention stuff like the presence of drugs and alcohol at a party, a stoned boyfriend, dealing with a friend addicted to cocaine, drinking heavily after a break up, and taking pills to overdose.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this advice book for teens from actress Elizabeth Berkley is based on the work she does with her nonprofit, Ask-Elizabeth. There's some discussion of tough issues -- including the sudden death of a friend, cutting, attempted suicide, and dating abuse -- and teens mention substance-related topics (drugs and alcohol at a party, a stoned boyfriend, dealing with a friend addicted to cocaine, drinking heavily after a break up, and taking pills to overdose). But the book's overall messages are about developing self-esteem and skills to deal with the hard stuff. It will get teens thinking about important issues, like how they feel about themselves or how to handle bullies or a broken heart. Berkley also includes essays from experts and provides resources for teens who need additional help.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Actress Elizabeth Berkley uses her work at her nonprofit Ask-Elizabeth as a launching pad to create a book that looks at the tough parts of growing up: self-esteem, love, friendship, parents, etc. ASK ELIZABETH is put together like a scrapbook, with lots of hand-written notes from real teenagers, who share their advice and experiences. Berkley, too, remembers her own first heartbreaks and more -- even sharing her painful experience as the star of the cult movie Showgirls (though she doesn't mention it by name).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The scrapbook format is fun, and the book's messages about loving and believing in yourself -- even through the hard times-- come across as genuine. Teens can learn a lot from reading the girls' various stories and will appreciate a little advice from experts. Readers have to be willing to deal with Berkley's constant asides, written in pink ink ("I'm sending you a huge hug right now"), and some of the advice may seem shallow (for example, when talking about what makes a good relationship, Berkley writes, "If you don't have an example of a good relationship in your life, you can create your own great vision").

But for teens just entering the world of complicated relationships, the book provides some smart ideas for saying strong -- like staying positive, trying new experiences, or even venting anger in writing before trying to communicate hurt feelings. More than anything, this book provides much-needed support to teens as they tangle with the tough stuff.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the best way to use this book. Is it something they want to read alone, with friends, or as a family?

  • This book spent several weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Why do you think it struck such a chord with readers? Do you think it's the book's content, the author's celebrity, or a mix of both?

Book details

Author:Elizabeth Berkley
Genre:Advice
Book type:Non-Fiction
Publisher:G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date:March 22, 2011
Number of pages:240

This review of Ask Elizabeth was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 14 years old Written bywicked_njo July 31, 2014
 

Amazing!

I received it in the mail yesterday and I couldn't be happier with how it came out. Finally, an honest look at what it's like to be a teen. Honestly, while 12 isn't teenage, 12-year olds still understand and are mature enough for everything in this book, even if they aren't facing the issues yet.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old January 26, 2015
 

great!

It helped me get my life back and know, you know what I am not ALONE!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass