It’s Your Universe by Ashley Eckstein
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to get an advance copy of “It’s Your Universe” to read and review. For those of you who don’t know about the author, Ashley Eckstein is a voice actress whose biggest (and most popular role) has been Ahsoka from Star Wars: Clone Wars. She is also the creator of the amazing clothing brand Her Universe: a brand geared toward making clothes specifically for fangirls. You can find out more about Ashley and her book by clicking this link.
Now, on to the book.
At first, I thought that “It’s Your Universe” would be geared more toward a younger audience, but as I progressed in the book, I realized that it had life lessons that can apply to girls (and guys) of all ages.
Ashley pushes the “believe in your dreams” mantra, which many have done before her. Frankly, I had been getting tired of reading biographies and autobiographies where people stated over and over to “dream big” and “reach for the stars.” I have read it so many times, to me, it’s losing its meaning.
Ashley did it differently. Yes, she says to believe in your dreams, BUT, she adds the most important thing that a lot of people forgot: hard work. Ashley stressed that in order to achieve your dreams and goals, YOU have to put in the effort to achieve them. In today’s world, I think people expect to be handed things on a silver platter without having to work for it. Sure, getting free stuff is great, but if you have to work hard and use YOUR time and energy, instead of relying on someone else to give it to you, then it makes finally getting what you worked for that much sweeter. As Ashley says in the title, “you have the power to make it happen.” I just loved the message she put in her book about the value of hard work.
I am a fan of the behind-the-scenes aspects of the film industry. One of my favorite things to do is to read about the lives of actors, directors, and filmmakers before they became famous. In “It’s Your Universe,” we get a great background from Ashley about her life before becoming a voice actress. She details her younger years growing up in the Disney park in Orlando, Florida, her struggle to become a Disney Cast Member, and her hard journey to realizing her dream of becoming an actress. We learn a lot about Ashley, her personality, and the creation of her company, Her Universe. Ashley presents aspects of her life, as well as life lessons, and how they connect with instances from various Disney movies.
That being said, for those of us who know most Disney movies by heart, the summarization of Disney movie scenes got a little long. I found myself skimming the parts where movies like Mulan and Cinderella were summed up, because I have seen them so many times. Sure, there are people who haven’t seen those Disney movies, but in a way, those movies may have been spoiled for them because of the summarization. Nevertheless, relating a life lesson to an instance in a Disney movie is a great idea. I can see where young girls would want to emulate their favorite princesses by following the lessons.
My inner fangirl also geeked out when Ashley discussed her love of Alice in Wonderland, and her (amazing!) collection of memorabilia. The book, at almost 200 pages, was a fast-paced read, and I was able to comfortably finish it within two days. It’s one of those books that you can read over again and not get bored. It also includes some journal space in the back for readers to jot down fun exercises that Ashley planned out.
The cover doesn’t lie: Ashley is truly a Disney fangirl like many of us. Her story, as well as the lessons she presents to her readers, reflect her happy personality and her desire to help girls be confident and able to express their love for their fandom.
All in all, I would definitely recommend “It’s Your Universe” go anyone looking for an uplifting, quick read.
I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5.
I would like to give a shoutout to Ashley and thank her so much for letting me read her book. It really meant a lot to me to have been given that opportunity.
Thanks to everyone for reading!