Thank you Bibliolifestyle @bibliolifestyle William Morrow Books @williammorrowbooks and Elissa R. Sloan @elissareads for the #gifted copy of Hayley Aldridge is Still Here #partner
Publish date: February 14, 2023
Hayley Aldridge is a former child star and "It" girl. She starred in a long running sitcom and grew up on everyone's television. She is now fighting against a conservatorship that has legally allowed her parents to control her life for the past decade.
Hayley Aldridge is Still Here is a page turning, sharp and easily bingeable. I could not put it down! This novel is like a melding of the stories of former childhood stars and teenage music icons like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Bynes, Paris Hilton and the Olsen twins. I am operating under the assumption that much of the plotline was based off of Britney Spears recent conservatorship ending, as well as the hashtags that accompanied the movement (#freebritney.) While Hayley's story has parts of Britney's, it melded in much of what Hollywood "It" girls in the early 2000's experienced when it came to paparazzi stalking them, tabloids blasting them, older men sexualizing them, and drugs and alcohol being an accessible escape. It really makes you reflect on how horrible society treated these children. And that's exactly what they were, children! Remember the nasty men who had a countdown to when the Olsen twins turned 18? Or how people treated Britney when she had a mental breakdown? Or how paparazzi constantly tried to get pictures these starlets getting out of vehicles in short skirts with the hope that they would make money off their exposure? Or how people STILL treat Amanda Bynes? No wonder these women have mental health issues. We gave contributed to it.
Hayley's story is told from her perspective as she shares her life story with her teenage twin daughters. As her story unfolds, she enlists their help to end her conservatorship that should have been squashed long ago. It did feel as though there was a major build up to this part in the plot, only to have it resolved in a few pages, but I'm also not sure how else the story would go. Overall, it was a good story with bits of early 2000's nostalgia that I enjoyed and some heavy topics that the author did a great job unpacking.
Content warnings: sexual assault, suicide, overdose, drug and alcohol abuse