After her mother became the first female President, Meg wonders if her life will ever resemble anything remotely normal. Feeling somewhat like she has a handle on her new school and enjoying a somewhat-normal relationship with cutieboy Josh (even if they can never truly be alone, what with the requisite security agents following her every move), Meg is hoping to simply enjoy her junior year. But it's hard to just be a teenager when the media wants to know every detail of your private life and pictures of her keep cropping up of her doing the most mundane things, especially when she should be focusing on her college applications - not that she's worried about getting in - she'd just like to be accepted (or not) on her own merits for a change. Meg is trying to keep everything together when a shocking and horrible attack is made on her mother and Meg and her family are forced to turn to each other in their private, yet very public, grief.
If I had simply read the synopsis of this novel, I would have been more than a little skeptical. I mean: female president is attacked - ensuing emotional crisis and shock - trite and overdone right? Just like her other novels, Ellen Emerson White handles this potentially disastrous subject with such careful handling, I couldn't help but be drawn into Meg's family's story. Trust me, this is one of those authors who never does anything half-way: Meg goes through such feelings of anger, shock and pain - all so quintessentially teenage responses but at the same time extremely unique and believable. Each member of her family expresses their grief in different ways and with her dad constantly away from home, it falls to Meg to help keep her younger brothers, Steven and Neal, from falling apart. Leaving Meg unable to fall apart of course. But Meg is more than competent and though it takes everything she's got, she begins to draw closer to her family in ways they never expected.
Let's talk cover art for a moment here, shall we? This book is reminiscent of Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring - an extremely iconic work of the Dutch Renaissance. What I think I like best about this cover is that the cover artist chose to retain the same bright blue and yellow color scheme; a very smart choice since the dark background makes such colors essentially pop off the canvas, forcing the viewer to study her in exceedingly up-close-and-personal detail. I get the sense with the juxtaposition of Meg wearing her Red Sox cap and the iconic earring that Meg herself has become a study in contrasts - her tomboy nature clashing with her idea that she must be elegant and as put together as her mother.
series reading order:
~ The President's Daughter - my review
~ White House Autumn
~ Love Live the Queen
~ Long May She Reign