All-American Girl

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
All-American Girl Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Marred by a pat ending, but an enjoyable romp.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 36 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

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

Positive Role Models & Representations

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.


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bybabybop August 8, 2011

LOVVVVVEEE this book!!:)

Susan Boone says to keep your eyes open. You can see if you look.
Adult Written byoneandahalfmoons April 9, 2008

An entertaining book with a very positive message.

I read the book in one sitting. The combination of an exciting plot, a free summer afternoon, and a fairly easy reading level lead to this. The book was very we... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAVW April 23, 2020
Teen, 16 years old Written byBookMad February 22, 2013

All American Girl

It's a great book with an interesting and exciting story- really every girl's dream. It's not hard to read and is great fun.

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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