Ask Elizabeth: Real Answers to Everything You Secretly Wanted to Ask About Love, Friends, Your Body… and Life in General by Elizabeth Berkley (2011)

askElizabeth Berkley of Saved by the Bell fame shares advice and encouragement with teen girls in this scrapbook-style self-help book.

Recommended grade level: 7-12

Pages: 240 (for ISBN 9780399254499)

Genre(s) and keywords: nonfiction, girls’ nonfiction, self-help

Tone/Style: personal, positive

Pace: moderate

Topics: self-esteem, body image, romantic relationships, family, friends, grief and loss, depression

Themes: self-confidence, being true to oneself, growing up

Summary: A teen girl’s guide to life, love, friends, and growing up, in an intimate diary format from Saved By the Bell star and popular teen spokesperson Elizabeth Berkley.

Ask Elizabeth is the complete guide to teen life; the last and only self-help book they’ll ever need. Drawn from the many workshops Elizabeth Berkley has conducted with teen girls across the country, Ask Elizabeth brings these revealing and intimate conversations to life on the page.

Much like a private diary, the book is a personal resource that girls can turn to when they seek answers to teen life’s toughest questions. It contains real and practical advice, anecdotes, and Elizabeth’s own life lessons in answer to frequently asked questions from Elizabeth’s workshop, such as: What do you do when you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see? or How do you get a guy to know you’re alive?

Along with a panel of experts, Elizabeth advises teen girls in matters of sex, nutrition, fitness, body image, personal relationships, and more. (Source)

Who will like this book?: Girls looking for advice, support, and a sense of normalcy and community in navigating issues of self-esteem, body image, relationships (romantic, family, and friends), and moods. Anyone who needs some positivity and inspiration in navigating the common challenges of being a teen.

Who won’t like this book?: The book doesn’t get too deep into any particular issue. It’s great as a starting point or a general teen support book, but if the reader is dealing with a more specific issue (say, mental illness, grief, or an abusive relationship), suggest other books that address those issues more fully (maybe in addition to this one). This book is not for boys.

Other comments: Despite what it says in the description, this book doesn’t really cover sex. The relationship stuff is mostly about having healthy relationships, knowing who is right for you, and dealing with breakups. Most of the girls quoted are ages 14+, but most of the content in this book will be relevant to middle schoolers (if not now, then soon), and there shouldn’t be much to worry content-conscious parents.

Sequel(s):

What to read next: There are lots of great self-help books for dealing with common teen girl experiences. (Not so many for boys, unfortunately.) Try these: Speak Up!: A Girl’s Guide to Having Your Way and Speaking Your Mind by Halley Bondy; Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean to Each Other and How We Can Change by Bonnie Burton; Operation Beautiful: One Note at a Time by Caitlin Boyle (for some self-esteem boosters); and Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff for Teens: Simple Ways to Keep Your Cool in Stressful Times by Richard Carlson (for both boys and girls).

-Kylie

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