All-American Girl

Common Sense Media says

Marred by a pat ending, but an enjoyable romp.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

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.

Violence

Attempted assassination of the president.

Sex

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

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

Already optioned by Disney, this novel has the same appeal as Meg Cabot's earlier book-turned-movie, The Princess Diaries; a winning teen girl thrust against her will 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
Genre:Humor
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:September 7, 2003
Number of pages:197
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

This review of All-American Girl was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old August 1, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

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
Teen, 14 years old Written byAlinaW. May 20, 2010
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

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
Kid, 11 years old July 27, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

GREAT for tweens

Omg, I LOVED this book!! It was great!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models

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