Okay, so here it goes, my first official review for this blog. I need to start off by saying that I love Meg Cabot as an author and that I previously have read these books before – once back in 2002 when All-American Girl first came out, and again in 2006 when the sequel Ready or Not came out. But the third time is the charm and it’s been a few years since I’ve read them.
So, All-American Girl is about a fifteen-year-old girl named Samantha Madison – who is of no relation to James Madison – who is an artist and is mourning for her generation. After a misfortunate accident where her sister Lucy rats her out about selling celebrity portraits, her parents sign her up for art classes and that is where the fun begins. While skipping her second class, she stops an assassination attempt on the president’s life and is swept into the role of America’s National Hero.
The sequel – Ready or Not – takes place about a year later and has Samantha dealing with a major issue for most teenage girls. She’s been dating *spoiler alert* David, the president’s son, and she thinks that he’s ready to take the next step in their relationship – sex!
I’ll admit that even though the premise of the first book was a little far-fetched, I loved the character of Samantha Madison. She’s a very relatable character, with a few character flaws – hey, no character can be completely perfect, even in Young Adult fiction – but that’s what makes her seems so realistic. She jumps to conclusions all the time, which mostly turn out to be wrong, and I felt for her when she realizes the error of her ways. The scene in Ready or Not when she realizes that David didn’t invite her up to Camp David to have sex was one of these things. I had to close the book for a few minutes, because I felt her embarrassment.
There were only two drawbacks with these books and both of them occurred in the sequel.
The first: while hilarious in the first book, Sam’s Top 10 lists were a little bit boring in the sequel. Personally, I missed Sam’s wit, there were just too many facts.
The second: inconsistent name. Lucy’s boyfriend – Jack’s – last name changed from the first novel to the second. In the first novel, Jack’s last name was Ryder – as in Flynn? – while in the second his last name was Slater. This wasn’t too much of an issue for me, because I actually found the name change hilarious. In Cabot’s Mediator series, there is a character named Jack Slater. Given, he’s eight, but I was laughing the whole time I was reading Ready or Not, thinking that he grew up a few years.
All in all, both books are great, a typical Meg Cabot read, and since I already own a few of her novels, if I had the shelf room I would definitely pick these up and add them to my collection.