The Good and the Bad: All-American Girl and Ready or Not by Meg Cabot

I initially was just going to review All American Girl, but I found myself referring to the sequel so much I decided to make this a double feature.

 

Samantha Madison is an average, cool Washington, D.C., teen: She loves Gwen Stefani (who doesn’t?), can draw like nobody’s business, and enjoys being opposite to her sister’s annoying ultra-social personality. But when she ditches art class one day, she doesn’t expect to be jumping on the back of a wannabe presidential assassin.

Soon the young hero is receiving worldwide acclaim for her bravery, having dinner with her family at the White House, and is even being named teen ambassador to the UN. As if this weren’t enough, she and David, the president’s son, strike up a friendship that everyone wants the dirt on, which starts to give her romantic “frisson” feelings.

Unfortunately, Sam thinks her sister’s boyfriend, Jack, is the true love of her life, and she makes a few wrong turns that could screw up what she’s developing with David. Will she ever stop following what she knows and start following what she sees?

Source: GoodReads

I think this book is very interesting to look to from a political perspective.  Well, like political time capsule perspective.  The early 2000’s were a very different world, politically, for America and it shows in here.  Ultra patriotism, right wing administration, pop culture references.

That is purely a Meg Cabot thing.  Not a political thing.  But still,interesting to see how things have changed in ten years. But I’m not going to bore you with that.

I really did like this book, even after all this time though.  Sam probably isn’t my favorite character, but I think for who she is, Meg did an excellent job depicting her.

I think what I love best about All American Girl is that it gives a stupid character consequences for their bone headed idiocy.  And Sam tries to make up for being a turd.

And boy is she a turd throughout a good chunk of this book.

One thing you’ll have to know going in is that this book is ridiculously dated.  There are band references that only someone who liked the same music Sam did during that time period are going to get.

I’m not a huge Gwen Stefani fan, so it sort of went over my head then and now.

The romance, of course, was wonderful.  When is it not in a Meg Cabot novel?  And I really liked the portrayal of Lucy, a popular girl that is not a jerk but a good person.  And I liked how Cabot basically threw it in Sam’s face that she was wrong about her sister.

You hardly ever see that in YA.

If you’re looking for a sweet little book that’s a nice reminder of the past, give All American Girl a try.

Overall Rating: B+ nice fluffy fun.

Top ten things Samantha Madison isn’t ready for:
10. Spending Thanksgiving at Camp David

9. With her boyfriend, the president’s son

8. Who appears to want to take their relationship to the Next Level

7. Which Sam inadvertently and shockingly announces live on MTV

6. While appearing to support the president’s dubious policies on families, morals, and yes, sex

5. Juggling her new after-school job at Potomac Video

4. Even though she already has a job as teen ambassador to the UN (that she doesn’t get paid for)

3. Riding the Metro and getting accosted because she’s “the redheaded girl who saved the president’s life,” in spite of her new, semipermanent Midnight Ebony tresses

2. Experiencing total role reversal with her popular sister Lucy, who for once can’t get the guy she wants

And the number-one thing Sam isn’t ready for?

1. Finding out the hard way that in art class, “life drawing” means “naked people.”

Source: GoodReads

Sigh…

To be honest, I had no plans on reviewing this one until I started reviewing the first (see introduction).

Was it as horrible as I remembered?

Well, yes and no.  I didn’t like how blatant it was essentially a sex ed book.  But at the same time I can’t completely fault it for trying to give out relevant information for teens who’s sex ed classes pretty much consisted of having sex will make you go to hell.

Then I guess that means everyone’s birth parents are going to hell.

I digress.

Ready or Not came out roughly ten or so years ago, when Conservative Christians were the bread and butter of the Republican party.  Lots of measures that are now found by mainstream America to be appalling were considered a-okay.  And honestly, some of these measures still exist-i.e. taking away a woman’s right to choose.  While Ready or Not doesn’t exactly go in that direction (thank God), it does discuss the whole birth control issue. And it’s the first book to address the annoying trope known as slut slamming.

Grant it, it was done in an over the top and cringe worthy way.

Might I just add, I really, really, hate message books.

Even ten years ago, when I was a member of the targeted audience this is the sort of thing that drove me insane.  Now, I just rolled my eyes throughout the reading experience.

And to be frank, it was like Cabot phoned this one in.  I think I read somewhere that originally this story was conceived as a Lucy centric companion sequel (however, upon looking for the blog entry where I think Meg mentions it, it looks to be scraped or I just imagined reading it).

That would’ve been awesome.

But people whined and we got this sorry sequel.

I’m sorry, but I did not care to listen about Sam complain about how everyone doesn’t like her sorry dye job and how she obsesses in a Mia Thermopolis type of way about having sex.

It’s just boring.

Lucy is a character I wanted to explore more.  And I couldn’t even really get into her side romance with Harold because it was pushed to the side for moaning about Ebony Midnight Whisper Hair Dye.

My advice with this one, unless you’re inanely curious skip it.  I’ll only be recommending it for those assholes who frequently use the slut slamming trope.

Overall Rating: This is the one Cabot book I’ve ever outright gave a failing grade to (F).

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