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Reviewed by Cheryl Schopen for Readers' Favorite
The Stand-In: My Life as an Understudy is one of Elizabeth Stevens’ latest young adult novels. Chloe Cowan has always been in her sister Ella’s shadow. Chloe has always been her understudy, literally. And Chloe is completely fine with it. She just wants to go through the motions of doing what Ella wants her to do and just being known as Ella’s sister until she turns 18 and can be free to live her own life. Then, something happens. Ella not only has Chloe filling in for her to help set up and decorate for the school formal, but she also wants Chloe to make sure that Eli, the most popular guy in school and talented rockstar, asks Ella to go to the formal with him. A couple more tasks from her sister can’t possibly have any real effect on Chloe’s life, right?
Elizabeth Stevens wrote one of my favorite books, Accidentally Perfect, so I wanted to give this one a try. And I have come to one conclusion: Elizabeth Stevens is an amazingly talented writer. She has a gift for making stories come to life. The dialogue is just very authentic and realistic. Throughout the whole book, I was thinking that this is exactly how people really talk and how conversations would happen. I also really enjoyed the plot and the characters. While there is romance, and it’s oh-so-good romance, a big focus of this book is on friendship, which I absolutely adored. So many YA books are only focused on the romantic relationships, but this one was different. We were able to see Chloe’s friendship with her best friend and Eli’s friendship with his friends and how important all these people are to each other. This story proved that sometimes our friends are our families.
With a relatable main character, relationships that would make you envious, and such real situations and dialogue, The Stand-In is a hit. Now after reading two of her books, I know that the first one wasn’t a fluke. Elizabeth Stevens really was born to write, and I’m so thankful I discovered her books. Onto the next one.