Losing Elizabeth by Tanya J. Peterson - Author Interview and Review

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Losing Elizabeth

Author: Tanya J. Peterson

Release Date: April 25, 2012

Publisher: CreateSpace

Summary (Goodreads):
High school junior Elizabeth Carter is self-confident and outgoing with a bright future. Life is good for Elizabeth, then she meets Brad Evans. To those on the outside, and even to Elizabeth at first, her life gets even better with Brad. Slowly and insidiously, though, Brad takes control of Elizabeth. Is she really as lucky as she thinks she is? What price is she willing to pay to be this popular, charming, attractive senior boy's girlfriend? Is she envied...or pitied? Most importantly, does she have to lose herself in order to be Brad's significant other?

Author Interview:

Me: What is Losing Elizabeth about in your opinion?

Tanya: Losing Elizabeth is a story about teenage life and the adolescent quest for both meaningful relationships and a positive, independent sense of self.  It is a story about how sometimes one is sacrificed for the other.  Because it is difficult to learn how to balance relationships and self-identity, that sacrifice is usually unintentional.  This novel is about a girl, Elizabeth, who loses her strong sense of self as she becomes entrapped in an emotionally abusive relationship.

Me: What inspired you to write Losing Elizabeth?  Why did you choose to tackle an abusive relationship?

Tanya: I have worked with adolescents throughout my adult life.  I feel very strongly about helping teenagers empower themselves to create the positive, healthy lives they want and deserve.  As a high school teacher and school counselor, I have worked with many teenagers – both males and females –  who are involved in unhealthy relationships.  I wanted to create something that would reach as many teens as possible and help them understand abusive relationships, and I wanted to do this in a non-preachy way (teens don’t typically enjoy being lectured to!).   I was hoping to open readers’ eyes to the reality of emotional abuse in order to prevent them from becoming trapped in negative relationships.

Me: If you were to describe Elizabeth in one sentence or five words, what would it be?

Tanya: Elizabeth Carter is caring, compassionate, intelligent, strong, and just as susceptible to abusive control as anyone else.

Me: What do you enjoy writing about (most of the time)?

Tanya: I love to write!  Losing Elizabeth was my first novel, but I enjoyed writing it so much that it is definitely won’t be my last.  My passion is contemporary fiction that tackles the difficult aspects of the human experience, like abusive relationships in Losing Elizabeth or the themes in my current novel (see below).

Me: Are you currently working on anything else?

Tanya: Definitely.  I am writing a new novel that I plan to complete in 2012 (if all goes well).  The intended audience for this one is the adult population; however, it is not inappropriate for teenagers.  Without giving too much away, I will share that it is about traumatic loss, mental illness, human connection, and healing.  I hope that readers will enjoy reading it as much as I am enjoying writing it.

Me: Is there anything else you’d like to say about Losing Elizabeth or anything else you may be writing?

Tanya: I’m glad to have the opportunity to mention this.  In Losing Elizabeth the abuser is male and the person who becomes trapped is female.  This is often the case, but it is most definitely not always the case.  Girls can be controlling and abusive, and guys can become trapped.  And it can often be harder for guys to get out of unhealthy relationships because our society doesn’t willingly see girls as abusive and because guys are sometimes subtly discouraged from seeking help.  It is imperative that both girls and guys understand that anyone can become involved in an abusive relationship.  Anyone.

Knowing that anyone can become trapped and isolated is so important because adolescents often think that things only happen to others – thinking, “That could never happen to me,” is a common adolescent belief.  That’s why I made Elizabeth intelligent, confident, and involved in school.  I wanted people to understand that abuse can happen to anyone.  It’s not just a certain type of person who can be controlled.

Me: How can we (or the readers) contact you at?

Tanya: I would love to hear from people!  I have a website with a contact form (http://tanyajpeterson.com) or people can e-mail me directly at tanyajopyeterson@gmail.com.  I do have an author page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/tanyajpeterson) – it’s great when people “like” it.

Thank you so much for interviewing me.  I’m a new author, and I really enjoy having the opportunity to connect and interact with readers.

My Thoughts:

This book's subject has been seen, read and heard in a lot of different things. For example, Sarah Dessen wrote about it in Dreamland. As you might already know from the context clues, this book is about abuse in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

Elizabeth is a high school junior who can't wait for her junior year in high school. Sounds like some of us (studious types), right? She's a good student who enjoys life to the fullest and likes being on the tennis team. Like some girls, she thinks life is even better when she meets Brad, and he seems interested in her. On the outside, he seems like that 'perfect' boyfriend that almost every girl dreams of. Until he isn't.  Elizabeth didn't see the abusing as 'bad' because Brad said he loved her, and she thought it was the complete truth. 

Now, everybody who's completed high school knows that we all have to go through that movie about abusive relationships and how they're bad. I think that this book should be read in high schools when going over that unit. It was a powerful read that I think would influence a lot of people my age, today (though a lot of them think reading is like being boiled in acid).

So, to all of my readers, I think that you all should get a very powerful message from this: Just because someone says they love you, but they keep you away from your goals, and heart you, doesn't mean that they really do love you. Someone who really loved you wouldn't hold you back, wouldn't hurt you, and would understand your feelings on things and take that into account.

So, even though this book was on a powerful subject, I found that I liked it, but I don't really like sad books (shh. Keep it a SECRET).
But this book still stayed in my good graces because of the important message, so it got a rating of four hearts.

4 hearts

*I received this book by the author, but I was not compensated in any way for my review of this book.

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