Warning! May Contain Spoilers
Don’t like? Read the book first.
So this is the first of the Meg Cabot books I’ve read. I’ve wanted to read a bunch of her books but never had a chance to get my hands on them until I saw this book sitting on the shelf in the thrift store.
The book revolves around Samantha Madison, a sophomore in high school in Washington D.C. She’s jealous of her older sister, Lucy, who is a popular cheerleader and her younger sister, Rebecca, who is a genius. She’s also in love with Lucy’s boyfriend Jack, who is your typical punk teenager who wants to fight authority at every turn. This influences young Sam and she rebels against popular culture in an effort to be more like him, dyes her whole wardrobe black and idolizes Gwen Stefani. Every one of these characters is kind of a stereotype. They have their vaguely human moments, but all in all, they really do try to play to the image you think of when you think of cheerleader or genius or whatever.
The book is told from Samantha’s point of view, so that colors how you see the characters as well. The plot is that, while skipping her after-school art class one day, she thwarts an assassination attempt on the president by jumping on the back of the would-be assassin. There’s a bit more set-up than needed of the characters and how we get to this situation, but it’s an amusing story and her humor colors much of it. I really did find myself actually laughing out loud at some parts of the book and wanting to read them out to my best friend. But I am not the target age for this book. In fact, at the age of 25, I’m a bit older and seeing the book from Samatha’s 16-year-old point of view got on my nerves sometimes. Mostly because the author worked very hard at making this girl as much of a 16-year-old as possible. I just can’t stand people that immature anymore. She’s obviously very relatable to anyone in that age group, but definitely not to me.
And the assassination attempt and Samantha’s subsequent fame are pretty much just used as the catalyst for the romance. See, the “hot guy” in Samantha’s art class just happens to be the President’s son. So now she and him get to get closer and she gets to be a bit more popular without really having to change herself at all! It’s a little hard to believe. They throw in difficulties here and there but they’re not really that difficult (with one exception that was kinda cool) and there’s just way too much focus on the romance for me. Especially with the “she doesn’t get that she’s in love but everyone else does” bit that doesn’t get resolved until like the end of the book.
Final Thoughts: The book is great for its target audience, but unlike some young adult books that transcend age, if you’re not a teenager then you’re gonna find yourself fed up with this book quite quickly. It is humorous though, so if you just need mind candy, then it might not be too bad. 3-3.5 stars for mediocrity. I could be persuaded to pick up the sequel but…meh.