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As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President!

As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President!

4.0 19
by Donna Gephart

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Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln . . . at one point, they all ran for president. And so is Vanessa Rothrock’s mother!
As if being 12 3/4 isn’t bad enough, Vanessa Rothrock’s mother is running for president and it’s ruining her life. Isn’t it enough that her enormous feet trip her up all the time,


Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln . . . at one point, they all ran for president. And so is Vanessa Rothrock’s mother!
As if being 12 3/4 isn’t bad enough, Vanessa Rothrock’s mother is running for president and it’s ruining her life. Isn’t it enough that her enormous feet trip her up all the time, even on stage during the school spelling bee? Isn’t it enough that Reginald Trumball, love of Vanessa’s pathetic life, read her personal and private list of deficiencies to some boy she doesn’t even know? And that the Boob Fairy hasn’t visited her even once?! Doesn’t Mom realize that Vanessa needs her more than the rest of the country? More importantly, doesn’t she realize that she may be in grave danger? Vanessa's receiving threatening notes at school–notes that imply some psycho has it out for her mother at the Democratic National Convention. Vanessa might be the only person who can save her. But does she have the courage to do what that requires?
This hilarious debut novel about a girl who gets thrust into the campaign trail will have you laughing out loud and thanking your lucky stars that your mom never decided to enter a national election.

“Gephart maintains the humor even as the stakes rise. . . . An intelligent look at primaries, caucuses and nominating conventions.” –Publishers Weekly
“Readers learn about the political process and motivations of people who work in this milieu.” –SLJ

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Even though her breasts are "the size of cherry pits" and her widowed mother-the governor of Florida and a frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primaries-is rarely around, wonderful things are happening for seventh-grader Vanessa Rothrock. She wins the school spelling bee, and love notes from a secret admirer appear in her locker. Vanessa is proud of her mother's political success, but she grows weary of receiving motherly advice via telephone, e-mail and hastily scribbled notes. First-novelist Gephart adds a good degree of tension as Vanessa accidentally finds hate mail addressed to her mother; Vanessa is sure her mother is in imminent danger, but her mother-who happens to be meeting with Governor Schwarzenegger-explains that she receives dozens a day ("You should have seen the ones I got during the budget crunch," says Gephart's Schwarzenegger. "Half the state wanted to pummel me to death with oranges"). Soon afterward, Vanessa begins receiving threatening letters at school from someone who wants her to pressure her mother into dropping out of the race. Gephart maintains the humor even as the stakes rise; she also successfully captures life in the public eye. She delivers a diverting story that also gives readers an intelligent look at primaries, caucuses and nominating conventions. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Gephart's debut novel is narrated in a sparkly, funny tween voice by Vanessa Rothrock, whose mother is not only the governor of Florida, but the leading contender for the Democratic nomination for president. With believable adolescent narcissism, Vanessa is not watching the returns from the New Hampshire primary; instead, she is studying for the county spelling bee (and Mom had better be there to cheer her on, or "File that under child abuse!"), obsessing about her oversized feet and undersized boobs, and talking on the phone with her current crush, handsome but obnoxious Reginald Trumbull (who may or may not be the secret admirer leaving love notes in her locker). But as the election progresses, someone else starts leaving notes in Vanessa's locker, as well—notes containing death threats against Vanessa and her mother, to be carried out unless Vanessa convinces her mother to abandon her quest for the presidency. One part breezy teen monologue, one part page-turning thriller, Gephart's novel is not entirely convincing as the portrait of an experienced politician's only child (would Vanessa really be surprised to find that she is expected to stand smiling next to her mom at the Democratic National Convention?), but it succeeds completely as a fast-paced, funny, absorbing read. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-7- Vanessa Rothrock is much like any girl her age. She studies hard for spelling bees, loves her best friend, hates P.E., frets about her flat chest, and has a crush on the most popular boy in school. In other ways, she is very unusual. Vanessa has a bodyguard and fan mail. And her mom has little time for her because she is the governor of Florida, running for president. Likewise, this book is much like others for this audience. It is written in friendly first person and teaches nice lessons about growing up. When Vanessa and the candidate receive death threats, the girl's concern for her mother's safety is tender and adds an exciting mystery and climax to an already compelling story. Readers learn about the political process and motivations of people who work in this milieu despite the considerable risks and sacrifices. Information is woven seamlessly into the narrative. Vanessa's mother runs on a Democratic ticket, and the book is clear about the issues that motivate her, particularly gun control. Issues and relationships are somewhat simplified, but appropriately so.-Amelia Jenkins, Juneau Public Library, AK

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Gephart writes humorously about a preteen's concerns regarding her mom, governor of Florida. Vanessa Rothrock is always tripping, getting tongue-tied and generally being a regular preteen. She suffers many realistic humiliations around her crush while all but ignoring classmate Reginald, with whom she has lots in common. Underpinning her humor is sadness that she is too often relegated to the backburner by her mother's many responsibilities. When Mom announces her run for the presidency, Vanessa knows things will only get worse. Her mother is not really neglectful and they discuss their feelings, but Vanessa's fear that something bad will happen to her mom (as it did to her late dad) overwhelms her. While her mother's handlers take somewhat seriously the increasingly threatening notes Vanessa gets at school from an unknown source, Vanessa has other worries-like why hasn't the Boob Fairy made an appearance at her house already? Eventually, a bad guy does emerge and it's up to Vanessa to rescue her mom. Had the author left out the mystery element, she would have had a satisfyingly funny story of teen/parental communication and the self-consciousness felt by so many preteens. (Fiction. 8-12)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.72(w) x 8.53(h) x 0.87(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President!

By Donna Gephart

Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2008 Donna Gephart
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780385734813

I'm sitting on a wooden folding chair, hoping I don't get a splinter in my derriere, as Chester Fields tries to spell "thoroughly." Chester Fields is an idiot. "Thoroughly" is an easy word. But somehow he manages to muck it up, spelling, "T-h-u-r-u-h, I don't know, w-l-y." Cowbell for that boy! How did he even get to the schoolwide bee? I'll bet his teacher felt sorry for him. Or maybe it's because his mother is on the board of directors at Lawndale Academy.

I, Vanessa Rothrock, am sweating like a pig--do pigs sweat?--and wishing I could smell my pits, but the whole audience is looking at me. I pump my left leg up and down like crazy and hear Mom's voice in my head: Don't fidget, Vanessa; it's unbecoming. Still yourself. Still yourself? Easy for her to say. She's all poise and grace, forever saying and doing the perfect thing. Maybe I'm not really Mom's daughter. Maybe I was adopted, or switched at birth. But when I think of Mom's enormous feet, I know I'm all hers. I rest my hand on my leg to stop fidgeting and crane my neck. Is Mom even--?
"Vanessa Rothrock, please come up."

I gasp and choke on my own saliva. Then I stand and grab the back of my chair. Unfortunately, I do notdie of asphyxiation (Asphyxiation. A-S-P-H-Y-X-I-A-T-I-O-N. Asphyxiation.) and I maneuver around students' feet and chair legs. The microphone is in sight. I'm sighing with relief at having passed through the minefield of legs without tripping when my gigantic feet tangle in the principal's microphone cord.

I lurch forward, grab for the podium, and end up with a handful of papers before crashing to the stage. I say something charming, like "Ooomph!" The audience lets out a collective gasp.

Unfortunately, I do not crack my head and die instantly. Why am I such a klutz?

As I lift my cheek from the dusty floor, I see camera lights flash like lightning. I put my head down and imagine tomorrow's headline: governor's daughter takes spill during school spelling bee. entire state of florida humiliated.

"No photographs, please," Mrs. Foster begs. "You were informed."

I look up again and see Mr. Martinez marching toward me from backstage. That's all I need to complete the humiliation package--my six-foot-tall security guard scooping me up from the stage and brushing me off.

I hold up a few fingers and he stops. I mouth the words "I'm okay." Mr. Martinez backs up so that he's offstage again. And against my better judgment, I stand and face the audience, who, by the way, have their mouths hanging open. My cheeks grow so hot I'm sure my head will spontaneously (Spontaneously. S-P-O-N-T-A-N-E-O-U-S-L-Y. Spontaneously.) combust. I look at Mrs. Foster and silently plead: Give me a word already and put me out of my misery.

Mrs. Foster clears her throat and motions toward my feet. I realize that her papers are scattered there. I gather them up and give them to her with trembling hands. I hear Mom's words again: Still yourself, Vanessa. Still yourself!

After adjusting her glasses and clearing her throat, Mrs. Foster says, "Your word is 'resuscitate.' "
I snort. I can't help it. I imagine a cute emergency tech resuscitating me on the floor of the stage. Unfortunately, when I snort, it makes a screeching noise in the microphone, and the people in the audience (even Mrs. Foster) cover their ears as though a supersonic jet has flown overhead. I see Mr. Martinez wince.

Why, I wonder, do I suffer such humiliation? What was God thinking when She made me?

Someone clears her throat. For a moment I think it's God, but then I look over and see Mrs. Foster tapping her watch.

My nostrils flare in a less-than-flattering way. I hate when someone taps a watch. I shake my head. What is my word again? OHMYGOD! I've completely forgotten. Sweat begins to pool under my arms. Did I remember to apply deodorant this morning or did I just spray perfume and hope for the best? "Could I have the origin of the word, please?"

"Resuscitate," Mrs. Foster snaps. "It comes from--"

"Resuscitate." I cut the principal off midsentence. "R-e-s-u-s-c-i-t-a-t-e. Resuscitate."

"That is correct." I imagine the "thank goodness and sit down" she doesn't say.

I curtsy--CURTSY? what am I, five years old?--then scamper back to polite applause. It's obvious I impress the audience by making it to my seat without tripping.

"Reginald Trumball, please come up."

Reginald turns and winks at me. At least I think it's at me. My heart goes into overdrive, and fingers of heat creep up my neck.

I notice my best friend, Emma Smith, staring at Reginald as he gets out of his seat. I wonder for a moment if she's even more in love with Reginald than I am. Not possible.

I watch Reginald jog to the microphone. He doesn't even stumble. That boy is all grace and good looks. If I'm lucky enough to have children with Reginald Trumball someday, I hope they inherit his good looks and quirky charm . . . and my ability to spell obscure (Obscure. O-B-S-C-U-R-E. Obscure.) words.

Mrs. Foster smiles and nods at Reginald. "Your word is 'categorize.' "

I close my eyes, squeeze my fingers into fists, and will the correct spelling into Reginald's gorgeous head. But something must be blocking my brain waves, because Reginald says: "C-a-t-i-g-o-r-i-z-e."
When the cowbell signals his defeat, Reginald's mother has her arm around his shoulders before he's even completely off the stage. Reginald puts his arm around his mother's shoulder and leans his head close to hers. She whispers something into his ear, probably about how he'll never need to spell that word again and how she'll take him out for ice cream later. I want that mother.


Excerpted from As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! by Donna Gephart Copyright © 2008 by Donna Gephart. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

As If Being 12 3⁄4 . . . is Donna Gephart’s first novel. She lives with her family in Jupiter, Florida, where she’s already at work on her second.

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As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President! 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book ecspecially if your a preteen
Myrna Brignol More than 1 year ago
This book is good but i wouldnt recommend it to any younger then 11 yrs old. The author makes the book entertaning but some of the language isnt that great.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
As the governor's daughter, Vanessa Rothrock already has a complicated life. Not only is she a complete klutz, but she's the only kid in school with a bodyguard, she gets absolutely no privacy, and she has to make an appointment to see her own mother. Things would be much easier if she didn't spend her life in the scrutiny of the public eye, because, whenever in the spotlight, Vanessa will surely trip over her own gigantic feet.

Now that it looks like her mom might have a good shot at becoming a presidential candidate, everyone else is scurrying around, and all Vanessa wants is for her mother to drop out of the race. Is it really so wrong to just want your mom there, to see you win the county spelling bee and comfort you in the emergency room after you break your wrist in PE?

Then the letter appears in her locker, the one that threatens her to stop her mom's campaign. Frightened that her mother's life might be in danger, Vanessa decides that she has to deter her mom, no matter what.

Extremely well-written, this book surprised me with its humor, action, and poignancy. With this winning combination, this is a read you will certainly want on your ticket!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So not for kids i mean sersouly who would write a book and put it in the kids area in a library.but still i give it five stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a good book at some parts but some of the launguage was just too weird and uncomfortable for my 10 year mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really funny! I finished it in two days! It is awesome. It has some inappropriate language in it for young readers but I am 11 and I laughed a lot. It's definitely a must-have book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Researched this book for youth book club. By page 22 I realized there was no way I would encourage my own 12year old daughter and especially not a group of girls not my own to read this book. While I'm sure some 12 year olds may use some of the language or have private thoughts on their own. as a responsible adult I would hate to introduce to some and condone for others that this is acceptable. The book was definitely funny. Just not appropriate in my opinion for youth groups.
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Justice16 More than 1 year ago
Daughter of a Political Justice, Vanessa Rothrock thought her life was complicated enough and that was before her mother ran for president! No she has to deal with being a preteen, having gigantic feet, being a total Klutz and now having to be known as the goofy girl with a bodygaurd and no privacy! She hates having to make an appointment to see her own mother and just wants her mom to drop out of the race! Then whe she thinks things cant get any worse a note appears in her locker threating her and her mother if her mom doesnt drop out of the campaign but nothing is going to distract her mother. The amazingly written book shocked me with action and humor! You are not going to want to miss this book!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
There's a lot to like in Donna Gephart's first book, as if being 12-3/4 isn't bad enough, my mother is running for president. Vanessa Rothrock is nearly 13 and already used to the limelight because she's the Florida governor's daughter. But when her mother decides to run for president, and it looks like she stands a good chance of winning, Vanessa's life intensifies. Gephart gives us a good glimpse into the family life of a presidential candidate--hint: there's not much family time--while also capturing pre-teen angst quite well. Vanessa's concerns will have moms remembering their own middle school years while being reminded of what their daughters of the same age may be going through. Girls will be able to identify with many of the same issues Vanessa experiences, and maybe learn a few things from her mistakes. I found it a good reminder of how kids can be so ego-centric in middle school. Everything is seen through the lens of 'what does it mean to me.' For Vanessa, it doesn't matter that her mom will make history by becoming the first female president of our country if she's not home to watch her daughter compete in the regional spelling bee. It's also a good reminder that kids often don't tell their parents about important things that are worrying them. Instead they try to solve them on their own. When Vanessa receives letters threatening to kill her mom if she doesn't drop out of the race, she thinks it's better to secretly try to get her mom to drop out instead of telling someone with the ability to help. This is also a very interesting book to read in an election year when a woman came close to being nominated as a major-political-party presidential candidate. And I loved the reasons Vanessa's mom wrote to her telling why she wants to be president. The list could spark a whole separate conversation with members of a mother-daughter book club about things that are important for our country. I recommend this book for readers in 4th - 6th grade.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a hoot! Donna Gephart kept my whole family in stitches with 'As if Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President!' With vibrant characters, compelling conflict, and random moments of hysteria, Gephart kept us entertained with a quick read that couldn't have come out at a better time in political history. Part romance, part mystery, part pre-teen angst, and all laugh-out-loud funny, this is the kind of book to give to friends and loved ones. My family and I can't wait to see what comes next from Donna Gephart!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i bought this book last week it looks funny
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I luv this bk and evrthn els tht iz prt oh ths bk text talk bam
Eric Peterman More than 1 year ago
it is a good book for fourth and fith graders but the reson i gave it four stars and not five is because iit was very unrilistick