This book was unexpected for me. It's called Just Like Elizabeth Taylor by LuAnn Staheli and it wasn't at all what I thought it would be.
This is the first book I've ever read by this author and I was impressed with her style and flow. The story is about twelve-year-old Elizabeth who has a single mother and is dealing with watching her mother be physically abused by her boyfriend while Elizabeth is also being abused by the boyfriend's son. Hard stuff to read for sure. This is a sensitive and timely subject in today's world and this book could definitely be a conversation starter with parents and children.
Because of the subject matter and storyline, I thought Elizabeth would be a bit older, and was surprised to find out she's only twelve. She was a complex character, but there were a few times during the story when her voice/thoughts/conversation were a little above her age. That being said, though, I loved the way Elizabeth interacted with people and how she tried to deal with the adult issues surrounding her. There was one character that I would have liked to know more about her situation, she seemed so interesting and in somewhat of the same boat as Elizabeth, but it isn't told. (Maybe I'm just nosy like that.) Of course, that speaks to the skill of an author and a great cast of characters when you want to know more about them.
This book is full of some very real-life situations and reactions and if I let my pre-teen read it, I would definitely want to read it with them or have several discussions before, during, and after. All in all, I think this author has a lot of talent and I am interested in reading more from her.
Here is the back copy:
Taylor has known for a long time that she would escape—escape the abuse
against herself, and against her mother. She just didn’t know how or
Then the perfect opportunity comes—money left of the table
by her mother’s abuser—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.
only she can keep to herself, Liz, now using the name Beth, knows she
can make it on her own, until things change, and she realizes she must
face her situation head on if she is to save herself and her mom.