Meg Cabot (2002)
Watch out Oprah! Here comes Kayla’s Book Club! This book was recommended to me by a 14-year-old. (Apparently, when you’re at the age when you’re sent to your room a lot, you get a ton of reading done, and come across some pretty great books in the process.)
A very entertaining story about a girl named Samantha who is the middle child (her sisters annoy her), a budding artist (her parents don’t understand her) and on the fringe of high school society. To make matters worse, she’s in love with her sister’s rebel boyfriend and as punishment for a poor grade in German (too much doodling, not enough “sprechen sie”) she’s forced to take a boring art class. On top of all of that, she ends up saving the life of the President and attracts the attention of his son–not your typical day-in-the-life-of-a-teen story here.
What really makes this story is the great character author Meg Cabot has created, and the writing, which is very clever. Told in first-person, Sam’s observations are sharp and witty. She likes to make Top Ten lists of things pertaining to her life, which is a clever device that works because it seems very true life. And underneath it all, is a story that deals with honest, challenging issues in a way that’s neither preachy or painfully obvious. In the end, Sam has changed and in the process she retains her individuality and shows how grrrrl power really works.