KLIATT - KLIATT Review
A great cover photograph of a lovely South Asian teenager on the grounds of the White House says a lot about this book. Sparrow (Sameera) started her story when her father was running for president, in First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover. She is an adopted daughter, born in Pakistan, raised by white Republican Americans who were in the diplomatic corps and now are in the White House. Sparrow's cousin Miranda (Ran) is staying with them for the first six months. Ran longs to be a movie star, but instead finds more realistic ways to earn money (baking cookies to sell), and more realistic ways to be creative (she makes documentary films of their experience in the White House). Sparrow has fallen in love with Bobby, an Indian American whose Hindu family isn't happy that their son wants to date a Pakistani girl, even if she is First Daughter and a Christian. Dramatic events happen when Sparrow hides beneath a burka to escape notice. In one adventure, she, her mother, and a secret service agent wear burkas to visit a local inner-city high school. They want to see the school as it really is; and amazingly, Sparrow and her parents decide she can attend there as a student. Sparrow and her parents and everyone in this story are just wonderfully perky and loving and not recognizable as any political family we've seen before, frankly. Of course readers will like them, and that's fine. Let's just say this is an entertaining political fantasy. Mitali, born in India, now an American, understands Sparrow's character well, and that part of the story is believable. Age Range: Ages 12 to 18. REVIEWER: Claire Rosser (Vol. 42, No. 1)
Living in the White House, sixteen-year-old Sameera and her cousin Miranda are pampered through the meals they can order, lessons with their tutor, dance lessons for formal affairs, and their budget for redecorating areas of the White House. Sameera must find a way to keep her identity in a situation that wants her to conform more than ever. For Sameera, rules are made to be broken or bent. She is not allowed to go anywhere alone. With the help of a burka, she gets around the Secret Service men assigned to her to see Bobby, and she convinces her mother to use a burka to visit the public school where she wants to enroll. Her relationship with Bobby is on hold while he waits for approval from his grandfather, who is against anyone born Muslim as Sameera was. This sequel to First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover (Dutton, 2007/VOYA August 2007) follows Sameera's first year in the White House. It has all the elements of a good romance: smart main character, sympathetic sidekick, and a luscious boyfriend who is difficult to see. Sameera is almost too perfect. She is extremely thoughtful about others' feelings. When her cousin needs money and will not take it from Sameera's family, Sameera helps her start a dessert business. When Sameera chooses to do something wrong, she confesses to her parents who are very understanding. Sameera's thoughts on what it means to be privileged and what responsibilities go along with that are mature. Readers will get a glimpse of what life is like inside the White House for a teenager. Reviewer: Cindy Faughnan
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
This sequel to First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover places Republican President and Mrs. Righton and their sixteen-year-old daughter Sameera (nicknamed Sparrow and adopted from Pakistan) in the White House. That in itself in terms of fictional roles is quite an achievement. For a South Asian character to break with long-standing patterns in YA fiction of oppression, resentment, and otherness, and take her place squarely in a position of privilege is most refreshing. Precocious and smart, Sameera settles into the White House with her visiting cousin Miranda ("Ran"). They watch movies in the big-screen theater and exercise Jingle, the golden retriever on loan from their grandparents' farm. But all is not perfect in this charmingly make-believe world. Sameera is in lovewith Indian-American G-Dub student Bobby Ghosh, whose family is Hindu (although he himself is "still...seeking") and whose grandfather, dying in India, seems sure to disapprove terribly of his dating someone who is probably of Muslim ancestry. The cousin from Ohio, Miranda, longs to be in films but has to find ways to make some money. And there is the matter of which school in the District of Columbia the First Daughter will attend. Such everyday matters take on a new twist simply from the context and setting. Perkins has blurred the boundaries between fiction and reality in characteristically postmodern fashion by creating an Internet blog for Sameera, (http://www.sparrowblog.com) on which political realities and fictions both find space. First Daughter: White House Rules is a romp through the halls of power that manages to leave its youthful protagonist hopeful, cheerful, and filled with lovingkindness. It is all good clean fun, a little tongue in cheek in places. Sameera plays cupid in her spare time, and sly asides include a bilingual joke in the name of the family dairy farm. Sameera's continuing tale carries on fixing the real world's problems of race and inequity with a dash of sentimental poetry and a generous endowment of incurable optimism. Reviewer: Uma Krishnaswami
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8- In this sequel to First Daughter: Extreme American Makeover (Dutton, 2007), Sameera Righton, the adopted Pakistani daughter of President-elect and Mrs. Righton, has recently moved into the White House. During the transition, Sameera is faced with several challenges. Her romance with Bobby gets put on hold when he accompanies his family to India to be near his dying grandfather. While waiting for his return, and for permission from Bobby's grandfather for him to date her, she hangs out with her cousin Miranda, attends White House functions, and posts to Sparrowblog, which gives readers an insider's view of the White House, plus Sparrow's thoughts on subjects such as dating. But soon Sameera grows tired of "life in a bubble" and wants to attend school. She decides on an inner-city DC high school where she can experience the real world. For her 17th birthday, she throws a bash, inviting the entire junior class to come to the White House. Sameera's world is one of diverse political persuasions, faiths, and ethnicities, where kindness and understanding allow all people to get along. In a genuine online blog, as well as a MySpace profile, Perkins has created a life for Sameera that extends beyond the book. Readers who enjoy Meg Cabot's "Princess Diaries" (HarperCollins) and others of the same ilk will enjoy reading about Sameera.-Catherine Ensley, Latah County Free Library District, Moscow, ID Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Fresh off the presidential campaign trail, Sparrow and her country cousin Miranda make themselves at home in the White House, enjoying movies in the private theatre and trying out the bowling alley in this second installment of the First Daughter series. Although continuing many of the same plot lines introduced in the lead text, like dealing with the pressures of the press, Sparrow's Pakistani heritage and her budding romance with Bobby, first-time readers are quickly brought up to speed and introduced to new twists. Sparrow's blog also continues to play a central role, especially as she begins to realize that as the first daughter her posts have a major worldwide impact. Throughout, Sparrow's actions and thoughtful blog posts paint her as a likable character and great role model. But since there is no real crisis and the story almost seems as though it's a guide to living as a teenager in the White House, it has the potential to bore readers who will find Sparrow and her tame adventures flat and predictable. Only for fans who want to know what happens next. (Fiction. 10-13)