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First Daughter: White House Rules Hardcover – January 24, 2008
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This picks up where Extreme American Makeover (2007) left off, with 16-year-old Sameera now living in the White House. The new president’s daughter, adopted from Pakistan when she was three, finds pluses and minuses in being First Daughter. Chick lit with a political edge (and a nod to the Princess Diaries series), this offers some interesting takes on the pressures and pitfalls of celebrity, and Sameera’s relationship with a boy from India brings international tensions to a personal level. Although Perkins tries mightily to incorporate backstory, knowing the first book in the Sameera series will be helpful. Grades 7-10. --Ilene Cooper
... an entertaining political fantasy. Mitali, born in India, now an American, understands Sparrow's character well... -- KLIATT, January 2008
All the elements of a good romance: smart main character, sympathetic sidekick, and a luscious boyfriend ... Readers will get a glimpse of what life is like inside the White House for a teenager. -- VOYA
Chick-lit with a political edge (and a nod to the Princess Diaries series), this offers some interesting takes on the pressures and pitfalls of celebrity, and Sameera's relationship with a boy from India brings international tensions to a personal level. -- Booklist
Sameera's world is one of diverse political persuasions, faiths, and ethnicities, where kindness and understanding allow all people to get along. Readers who enjoy Meg Cabot's "Princess Diaries" (HarperCollins) and others of the same ilk will enjoy reading about Sameera. -- School Library Journal
Sparrow's actions and thoughtful blog posts paint her as a likable character and great role model. -- Kirkus Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
This review is actually for the sequel to "Extreme American Makeover" because, inexplicably, "Extreme American Makeover" is not yet Kindlelised. "First Daughter: White House Rules" is a very perceptive look at what challenges an adopted Pakistani girl would face if her family achieved overnight international affirmation - especially if she was part of the planning team.
I'm sure I don't need to point out that if this series was written by and about the first-ever Chinese-American First Child, it would not have enjoyed the same level of interest - but, to be honest, the one part about the book that did annoy me quite a bit was that I had to stop myself from seeing Natasha and Malia Obama in my mind while reading the book. It would been nice if Sameera had been more interested than she was in the more serious international issues - but that would take away from the generally light tone of the book(s). Any fan of Meg Cabot's "The Princess Dairies" series would enjoy "First Daughter", but unlike Genovia heir apparent Mia Thermopolis, Sameera Righton takes on the role of king-maker (okay, president-maker) rather than actual ruler. I think the series has the potential to go a lot further than just these first two books, and I certainly look forward to reading "Extreme American Makeover" on Kindle as well. My own daughter's review of the book (which was also submitted to our local library as part of their online summer reading program.) follows:
"'First Daughter: White House Rules' by Mitali Perkins is a really interesting, funny read.
"About-to-turn-seventeen-years-old Sameera Righton is just like any other kid - she *loves* writing her blog, SparrowBlog, her cookie-making skills are amazing, and, of course, fashion is v-e-r-y important. Of course, Sameera is *also* the daughter of the President of the United States of America. *And* she's adopted from Pakistan at birth, which, according to the press, makes her a 'role model for South Asian kids everywhere.'
"Living in the White House is pretty fun - you get to wear fancy dresses and go to balls with cute Austrian guys, you have your own private movie theater, and you get to have a gazillion chefs ready to help you out when your cookies didn't come out exactly as planned.
"But life's not all fun and games for Sameera:
"Her almost-boyfriend might not be even that anymore.
"Her cousin is seriously prickly about Sameera paying for everything.
"The reporters and Secret Service dudes follow her *everywhere*, 24/7.
"And people are starting to say that Sameera is just a pampered pooch, and that she couldn't last a day in the `real world.'
"The problem is, they just might be right - and if they are, well, Sameera's just going to have to fix that.
"Even if it means breaking a few rules.
"I thought that the book was really good - Sameera is amazing, and I *loved* her blog. I also thought that the plot was really good as well: it had just the right bit of seriousness in it, but enough silliness to make it not-so-depressing. The only problem I had was that Sameera kept saying, whenever her parents or friends or whoever, made a comment about how she sounds 'just like a Pakistan girl', she always mutters how 'she *is* a Pakistan girl.' I didn't like how she was always muttering that, yet she never told the friends and family that it bugged her.
"I would give the book five stars: two stars for the plot, two stars for the characters, and one star for Sameera's blog posts, which were really cool."
In White House Rules, Sameera is continuing to adjust to life in the spotlight. Even more than that, really; with the constant presence of the Secret Service, privacy is hard to come by when you're living in the White House. Aside from the fact that she's the President's daughter and dealing with all that comes along with that territory, Sameera also has normal teenage girl stuff to deal with-like guys. She and Bobby were getting really close before, but now he's mysteriously stopped calling.
White House Rules is a worthy sequel to the fun-yet-serious first book in the series, Extreme American Makeover. I felt like the characterizations also got better in this second novel, though Sameera is still a little too perfect to be real a lot of the time. Again, though, Mitali Perkins manages to deal with real, thought-provoking issues (like religious prejudices) in a really fun, quick read. Perkins is a good writer; the pacing and flow of her story are quite good. And it takes a talented author to have a book about romance, friendship, religion, politics, family, bigotry, and more, without any of it seeming odd or forced or out of place. I wasn't quite blown away by White House Rules, but it was an engaging read, if not exactly unforgettable. I'll look forward to book number three in this series, and, in the meantime, maybe look up some of Mitali Perkins' backlist.
But she's also beginning to realize that life in the White House may not be a fairy tale. Bobby, her friend and the guy she likes, stopped calling after her dad became President. When she learns it's because of religious beliefs, she's outraged, just as Bobby is.
There's also a comment left on her blog that leaves her wondering if she really could survive in the real world. She soon hatches a plan to find out -- and it seems that to make life a fairy tale, people have to be willing to take some chances.
To be honest, I love all of those movies about the President's daughter (Chasing Liberty especially), so I was sure I'd love a series of books about the First Daughter, too. I was right!
This book was great. Sameera is one of the best characters I've read about in a while. She's spirited and daring, but she's also honest and she knows when to stop. All of the other characters were amazing, too. WHITE HOUSE RULES is a fun, quirky read and I'd recommend it to anyone, even if you're not a fan of these types of movies.
Reviewed by: Harmony