All-American Girl



Marred by a pat ending, but an enjoyable romp.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The values here are pretty traditional -- even if the book's heroine is a nontraditional teen.

Positive role models

The parents are shown often as clueless.


Attempted assassination of the president.


Some kissing, references to making out, bras, vaginas, and orgasms. Brief references to perverts who send Samantha letters.

Not applicable

Lots of real-life products and stores mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Underage teen drinking at a party: it is implied that one character is drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the parental characters, when they're present, are mostly clueless. But in spite of the story's teen orientation, the values here are pretty traditional -- even if the book's heroine is a nontraditional teen.

What's the story?

Middle child Samantha, a high school sophomore stuck between her popular older sister and genius younger sister, finds her life changing dramatically after she foils an assassination attempt on the president. Named teen ambassador to the UN, surrounded by a media frenzy, and suddenly popular with the in-crowd at school, she finds herself reluctantly drawn to the president's son, David, whom she meets in an afterschool art class.

Samantha is mostly confused by her feelings for David, and irritated by all the attention from the media and her schoolmates. But after a disastrous date with David and some unusual lessons from her art teacher, she finally begins to see things as they really are.

Is it any good?


This novel has the same appeal as Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries: a winning teen girl thrust into the national spotlight, broad humor, and a sarcastic take on America's youth culture. Though marred by an absurdly pat ending (Samantha actually learns to like herself for who she is), it is an enjoyable romp. Cabot has the rare ability to write novels that appeal to young teens, written in first-person teenspeak no less, that don't cause adult readers to become irritated or nauseated, or parents to become panicky.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the main character, Samantha, and what makes her such a unique heroine for tweens and teens. In what ways is Samantha different from you and your friends?

  • In what ways is she similar?

  • Would you describe Samantha as an "all-American girl," or is the book's title meant to be ironic?

  • Have you ever made a top 10 list, and if so, what kind of list was it?

  • Could you make a top 10 list of your favorite book characters, and if so, would Samantha be on it?

Book details

Author:Meg Cabot
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:September 7, 2003
Number of pages:197
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old August 1, 2009

All-American Girl

I read this in 6th grade and I really enjoyed it. It's about this girl who saves the president's life and how her life changes by that ocassion. It does have some kissing and talking about women's 'parts'. And there's some teenager drinking at a party. But other than that, it's a really good book.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old February 21, 2012

Not Very Appropriate!

I bought this book for my daughter who is 12 and she loved it! She told me that there were some inappropriate parts that she skipped throughout the book and did not let any one read the book other than herself. We eventually donated it to a charity drive since no one else thought it was appropriate.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Teen, 14 years old Written byAlinaW. May 20, 2010

Pretty great fluff read!

I picked this book up in a used book store a while ago, and read it and really enjoyed it. Like with most of Meg Cabot's novels, there really isn't much depth, but will definetly hook book-worms and reluctant readers alike! It's a pretty tame novel, pretty much any tween or teen girl will enjoy this fun read, and you have to admit, the plot (Angsty teen girl saves the president, falls in love with the first son, etc.) is pretty brilliant, making this a quick fluff read. I'd also really reccomend Meg's Airhead series if your kids liked this one.
What other families should know
Great role models


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