First Daughter Extreme American Makeover: Mitali Perkins

I’m not one for politics, despite the fact that I minored in political science in my undergrad.  I think it’s just too much extroversion and scandal for my taste.  However, I do love reading books about teenagers who sort of find themselves in the White House.  I think this is either because of All American Girl by Meg Cabot or all those Sunday Disney movies that focused on this theme that I watched in my youth.

General Summary:  Sameera’s (or Sparrow to her friends) dad is running for president.  Needless to say, she’s excited about helping her dad win and for that matter getting an a makeover.  However, things aren’t exactly as easy as Sparrow thought they would be (i.e. running for president isn’t going to be like Gary Marshall movie) and she’s going to have to become someone she’s not. Can she help her dad win his campaign while being herself at the same time?
Review:  I really wanted to like this book and I think I would’ve if I wasn’t spoon fed the moral of this story.  That it’s important to be yourself.  This was basically reiterated throughout the entire book and it got really stale after the first three pages.  I wish Sparrow would’ve been more fleshed out.  Had other conflicts in her life, but nope it’s all about how her dad’s evil publicist is trying to make her into Sammy instead of Sparrow. Even her blogging skills are lackluster and comes off as fake.  You can totally tell the author is trying to be “hip” .  There are points of the book that I can’t tell if Sparrow is supposed to be twelve or forty.  I think if Perkins wouldn’t have tried so hard to make Sparrow come off as a teen it would’ve made the book so much better.
Best Feature: Diversity: I love that Sparrow isn’t your cookie cutter president’s kid (i.e. she’s adopted  and is from Pakistan). This is a huge plus and was one of the things that actually drew me into the book itself. I thought it would add extra dimension to the book and in a way it did.  However, there were points it just seemed like this aspect was hammered into the reader’s head rather than just being a part of who Sparrow is.
Worst Feature: Too Young or too Old?: Sparrow seems much younger than she’s supposed to be.  To be frank, often the writing felt  forced.  Maybe it would’ve helped had the book been written in first person, but I’ve read plenty of third person novels where I can connect to the character.  I never really could connect to Sparrow.  Not even in her blog posts.  She just seemed to simply be regurgitating a message that Perkins wants to get across which can get very annoying.  Arguably books are supposed to get messages across, but I don’t think it needs to be slapped in one’s face.  Plus, I can’t help saying this but could Perkins have cared to be non-partisian.  I’m not stating what political affiliation I am, but I can see this book polarizing a good half of the USA.  And yes, I know that the president is more than likely to be either Democrat or Republican, but there are ways you could’ve avoided having to put a label on Sparrow’s father’s political party.
Blockbuster Worthy: You know I’m going to cast this book anyway, even if I don’t think it should be a movie, right?  Well, here’s the thing about this book, I think it could be an interesting movie.  It has a neat concept, but the screen writer is going to have to change a lot of things about it.  So if it did become a movie, it might not be recognizable which in a way would be a shame.
Sparrow: Afshan Azad: I think Padma Patil can handle playing Sparrow.
Elizabeth Righton: Sarah Jessica Parker:  Yes, I know I see her as Carrie Bradshaw.  But she’s in the right age group and I think she can look regal enough to portray the future first lady.
James Righton: Bill Pullman: I haven’t seen Bill acting in awhile, but I did like his portrayal of the president in Independence Day, so I’m casting him here.
Tara:  Well, I tried to think of the most obnoxious publicist I could think of.  After watching America’s Next Top Model last week, the choice became obvious.  Hello, Kelly Cutrone.
Overall Rating: Five out of ten campaign buttons.  It was okay, but I don’t think I’m going to pick up the sequel even though I did in fact check it out at the library.  For younger audience though (say for tweens) it might be more appropriate.

2 thoughts on “First Daughter Extreme American Makeover: Mitali Perkins

  1. I was really upset with this one. And it really wasn't the usual things that bother me in YA lit–i.e. instant love relationships/love triangles. I just thought that Perkins was really talking down to her audience which I didn't like, it didn't help that Sparrow was essentially a Mary Sue. Plus, the blog entry and MyPlace thing really got on my nerves. I didn't know Mandy Moore was in a White House themed movie. I knew Katie Holmes was. I will have to investigate that one for a possible YA at the Movies entries then. Hopefully, it will be a much more pleasant experience than this book was.

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