Hemning Sternberg (moonshadow) wrote,
Hemning Sternberg

White House Autumn by Ellen Emerson White

In the previous book, The President's Daughter, Meg's mom ran for President - and won. (I would normally consider this a spoiler, but I'm pretty sure that the title gives it away, and even if it didn't, the blurb on the back outright states the outcome of the election - neither of which choices I agree with.) Now Meg and her brothers live in the White House and go to fancy private schools. Meg is finally starting to adjust. She has friends, a sweet boyfriend, and a place on the school tennis team. But then a tragic event rocks her family, and everything changes.

I found this sequel every bit as satisfying as the first book, and how often can you say that, really? I enjoy Meg's snarkiness, her mother's drive, her boyfriend's steadiness. The plot was predictable but you still want to find out how everything happens. I do have a few small complaints, though, which I hashed out with trouble4hire.

1) Why doesn't the White House have any babysitters? Special tutors? Child psychologists? Anything? The First Children are frequently left to their own devices. Sure, it would be nice to be offered fresh-baked cookies from the kitchen all the time and have a Secret Service guy walk your dog if you didn't feel like going out - but you'd think there would be more child-related staff. In fact, I feel confident that the real White House has this stuff.
2) I really don't think much of Meg's parents' childrearing skills. In addition to leaving the children alone all the time, they also ignore Meg unless she's misbehaving, and then they come down on her like the wrath of God. No one responds well to that. And she doesn't even really get into much trouble. All of her mischief is stupid teenage shit.
3) Along similar lines, at a point in the book her parents tell her that she has to give up something that she loves, and that she can't argue. But they don't offer her anything in its place, or even suggest she try a different activity. trouble4hire and I were able to easily think of several ways they could have allowed her to keep doing the same thing in a different situation. Mean! And uncreative!

Still, I recommend these books to those who are interested in the narrow but interesting genre of YA political fiction. Three stars.
Tags: books 2008, fiction
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