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Ask Elizabeth

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Ask Elizabeth Book Poster Image
Sweet advice scrapbook is a helpful choice for teens.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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 & Representations

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
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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 12 years old January 26, 2015

great!

It helped me get my life back and know, you know what I am not ALONE!
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,... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

For kids who love coming-of-age stories

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