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First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover Hardcover – June 14, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–9—Sixteen-year-old Sameera Righton, nicknamed "Sparrow," is the adopted Pakistani daughter of the Republican candidate for president and his activist wife. When her father wins the nomination and his campaign begins in earnest, his staff decides to make her over. At first, she is delighted with her fabulous new hair, makeup, and clothes, but then the staffers try to get dark-skinned Sameera to appear more "American" and more appealing to voters. They change her name to "Sammy," coach her on how to behave in public and answer questions from the press, and, worst of all, manufacture a custom blog for her. Although she sincerely wants to help her father, Sameera does not accept everything unquestioningly. She becomes involved with a group of South Asian Republican students and begins her own blog, which takes on tough political issues and eventually displaces the vapid official blog produced by her father's staff. The book concludes with Sameera becoming the first South Asian American to live in the White House. Perkins does touch on some of the unpleasant racial issues associated with political campaigns, but the portrayal of the presidential campaign is highly idealized, with no negative ads or smear tactics. However, Sameera is a savvy and appealing character, and while teen girls will love reading about her makeover, they will also come away with a sense of the demands made on those who are constantly in the public eye.—Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

"The inside scoop on the celeb life" is at the center of this fast, funny novel about Sameera, 16, whose dad is the popular Republican candidate for American president. Adopted at age 3 from a Pakistani orphanage, she has spent most of her life as a diplomat's daughter. Now she is in the U.S. on a crazy ride in the public eye, hounded by the press, who ask about her "foreignness." The ethnic-identity issues are part of the story. She connects with other Southeast Asians in Washington, D.C., who are as American as she is, and she is also right at home on her loving grandmother's Midwest dairy farm. Her father's handlers buy her the right clothes, and she loves the stiletto heels they ask her to wear, but she hates the blog they write for her, which is intended to sell her cute image. She maintains her own sharp, smart, and honest blog with her friends, and both the public and private worlds depicted here will grab readers. A sequel is planned. Rochman, Hazel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (June 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525478000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525478003
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,628,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
You know that great feeling when you read a book for the first time and just fall in love with the character or the author? That's what happened to me when I read this book. No, I'm not fourteen, but if you haven't ever read children's or teen literature just for you, you might be missing out. Not only that, but occasionally reading what they are reading is a great way to connect with your teen or preteen.

Sixteen-year-old Sameera Righton is the adopted Pakistani daughter of white parents. Her father James Righton is running for President. Between boarding school and tagging along with her ambassador father, Sameera has lived much of her life abroad, and the campaign team thinks that she needs to look and act more "American." Sameera, or Sparrow, as she is known to her friends and family, is a typical American teen--she texts, she blogs, she's interested in sports, and well, yes she's glad that this makeover sponsored by her dad's campaign team might make her visible to the opposite sex. It's an inspiring book, because we get to see a teen on the cusp of adulthood who respects herself and stands up for herself. What mom doesn't want that for her own daughter? It reminds me a great deal of the movie The Princess Diaries (Special Edition) because it is an accurate portrayal of the many teens who don't choose an R-rated lifestyle or attitude, but are still modern and fun.
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Format: Paperback
What a teen fantasy—a glamorous makeover by the best in the business! The only trouble is that a makeover implies there is something wrong with who you really are. Perkins takes on a young teen’s search for identity in the high-pressure context of her father’s presidential campaign. Sameera has more than the usual challenges— she is relentlessly pursued by paparazzi who are quick to point out that she was adopted from a village in Muslim Pakistan. Can she be American enough to satisfy voters? All teens know the pressure to conform, but Sameera (who likes to be in charge of her own life) has people telling her how to wave and what to say and making sure she understands what will happen to her father’s chances of winning if she doesn’t do it right. She is a fun and resourceful teen who’s brown skin and determination to stand up against injustice, make it impossible for her to fit into the Valley Girls image the campaigners think will appeal to voters.

Faith weaves its way through the story without being preachy. Sameera is concerned about her father’s unwillingness to discuss religion while she’s not quite sure what she believes herself. But by the end Dad has decided he can’t lead this country without committing himself to spend more time in prayer.

Perkins calls her candidate a Republican although his political ideals are a far cry from most Republicans I know. Mom is an activist for internally displaced people. “Both candidates were respected,” Perkins writes of the election, “even if people disagreed with their politics, because neither had resorted to the ugly smearing and hate ads that had marked previous campaigns. Bloggers everywhere were noting that this year, it seemed like Americans were voting for a candidate instead of against one.” (p.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here's a feel good book just in time for the election season. But it's more than just that. Perkins weaves an exquisite cultural sensitivity into her Presidential election drama, drawing on personal experience and what I can only describe as a really big heart. The characters: An adopted South Asian teen. A flower child mom who is a church-going political liberal! Her husband: the kindest, most tolerant Republican (since Abe Lincoln), but not a church goer. The opponent: Hill sans Bill, with a handsome son to boot. But the best character of all is Uncle Mohamed. I can't wait for him to reappear in the sequel.

And yes, there are "bad guys"--an over-the-hill (at 30!) media know-it-all, and the usual paparazzi.

While marketed as a teen novel, ADULTS WILL REALLY WANT TO READ THIS as an antidote to the evening news. Perkins is clearly anchored in reality, even as she tries to bring out the best in (nearly all) of her characters.
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