In Same as it Never Was, twenty-one-year-old college student Olivia Martin has made an art of building walls to keep the world out. Saddled with an immature mother, domineering father, cold stepmother, and bratty four-year-old half-sister, Olivia is more than happy to keep her distance from the people she sarcastically calls her “family.” But when her father and stepmother are tragically killed in a car accident, the responsibility for half-sister Celia’s care lands squarely on her shoulders. Suddenly faced with a new role, Olivia realizes that this may be her second change to be a part of a family – something she always figured she was better off without. LaZebnik has written a poignant debut novel that’s funny and touching by turns. In a solid, well-told narrative, she skillfully contrasts Olivia’s prickliness with her mother’s and Celia’s neediness, and her ability to draw a disparate cast of characters together into a new family makes for an engaging read. Highly recommended for most public libraries.
– Amy Brozio-Andrews, Albany P.L., NY; Library Journal, April 15, 2003