Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Review: As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother is Running for President!

Summary: As if being 12 3/4 isn’t bad enough, Vanessa Rothrock’s mother is running for president and it’s ruining her life. Isn’t it enough that her enormous feet trip her up all the time, even on stage during the school spelling bee? Isn’t it enough that Reginald Trumball, love of Vanessa’s pathetic life, read her personal and private list of deficiencies to some boy she doesn’t even know? And that the Boob Fairy hasn’t visited her even once?! Doesn’t Mom realize that Vanessa needs her more than the rest of the country? More importantly, doesn’t she realize that she may be in grave danger? Vanessa's receiving threatening notes at school–notes that imply some psycho has it out for her mother at the Democratic National Convention. Vanessa might be the only person who can save her. But does she have the courage to do what that requires? -- Delacorte Press

I caught wind AS IF BEING 12 3/4 ISN'T BAD ENOUGH, MY MOTHER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT by Donna Gephart a few months ago, and I thought it looked awesome. I even wrote it down so I could remember to read it when my daughter got a little older. So I was just thrilled when I was contacted a few weeks ago and asked to review the book for my blog.

I absolutely loved this book, and I think young girls everywhere should read it. I haven't read much juvenile fiction since I was a kid, but now that my daughter is getting older I know I will be starting again. I forgot how wonderful these books about teenage girls can be! I think it's terrific that there are books like this one out there that can make kids feel that they are not alone with their concerns. And since this book was absolutely hilarious, I love how it can make girls feel "normal" (and maybe even allow them laugh about some their insecurities!)

I can't rave enough about AS IF BEING 12 3/4...! This book dealt with so many issues that are pertinent to today's young girls -- mother/daughter relationships, single parenting, working mothers, crushes, embarrassing moments, and normal teenage insecurities. I think most girls will relate to at least a few of these topics. Not only do I appreciate how Ms. Gephart handled all of these topics in this book, but the storyline is also very interesting. By having Vanessa's mom run for president, the reader gets some insight into the presidential campaign and election process -- and it's in a very fun way, not like a boring history class!

While I did find this book hilarious and I can admit that I laughed out loud many times, I was also touched by Vanessa's story. Vanessa was a very sensitive young woman who was dealing with a lot of changes. Pre-teen and early teen-age years are difficult in the best of times, but Vanessa had a lot more to deal with than the average young girl. Not only was her mom away campaigning, but Vanessa was also coming to terms with losing her father. In addition, she was filled with the normal teenage insecurities; but on top of that, she had to handle one huge insecurity -- fearing for her mother's life. I love how the author was able to balance the book between being entertaining and addressing deeper, more serious issues.

AS IF BEING 12 3/4... is Ms. Gephart's first novel. If this book is any indication, I think she will be a "player" in juvenile fiction. I loved the character of Vanessa, and I thought the author developed her extremely well. Vanessa was a very realistic (and bright) young woman who had many of the same insecurities that I remember having as an early teenager -- except hers were magnified because her mother was in the spotlight. Ms. Gephart chose to write the novel in Vanessa's voice; and I think without a doubt that she captured the essence of a teenage girl!

If you'd like to learn a little more about Ms. Gephart and her book, she a terrific website as well as a blog. I had a great time playing around on her website. There is an excerpt of the story as well as presidential puzzles and trivia associated with the book. You will no doubt get an idea of Ms. Gephart's amazing sense of humor!

My daughter, who recently turned 9 years old, loved this book too! She actually read this book before I did -- I probably shouldn't have let her do that! She devoured it in two days. That's quite a feat considering it is 227 pages, and she's in school and lots of after-school activities. She carried this book everywhere with her. After I completed the book, I was pretty sure that she didn't understand every aspect of the book; and that's probably a good thing. There were a few things in this book that were geared towards girls a little older than 9 -- interest in boys, the "Boob Fairy," and spelling words that included a female body part. I thought all of these references were appropriate and well-done (and very, very funny), but there were way above my daughter's head. She was actually a little young for this book and didn't fully appreciate the trials and tribulations of a 12 year old Vanessa. She (like her father) is a political junkie, and she was more interested in learning what is involved in running for president. I am definitely going to have her re-read this book in a few years because I know she will love it for a whole bunch of different reasons!

Booking Daughter's Thoughts: Wow! I had the best time reading AS IF BEING 12 3/4 ISN'T BAD ENOUGH, MY MOTHER IS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT! My favorite part of the book was when I found out that Vanessa's mother had a very good chance of winning the nomination. I thought it was really good every time she made a speech and tried to get closer to her dream.

I learned about what was happening during an election. I didn't know that an election has so many parts. Since the election is soon, I know some of the steps and I'll understand what is happening.


Anonymous said...

This looks like a fun read! Just the title made me chuckle.

S. Krishna said...

Very nice review!!

Wild About Words said...

Thank you for this very generous review of my novel. It made my day! In fact, I've included it on my blog post today.
With all good wishes,

Anonymous said...

What a great review, Julie! It's great that your daughter got involved, too (political junkie, huh?). My 12-yr-old has had some input on book reviews on my blog, but I can get my 10-yr-old interested ("Mom, only if you buy me *39 Clues*. I'll review that!").

Anyway, thanks for the review. I'll keep my eye out for the book.

Robin said...

Great review! This book looks terrific. I even love the cover!

PS. Your daughter sounds adorable.

Bookfool said...

I love the title of this book -- that alone makes me want to find a copy, but your review was terrific and I enjoyed your daughter's viewpoint, as well. Isn't it fun sharing a book with a family member?

Anonymous said...

I love YA lit for the reasons you mention. Some of the topics explored are important but not touched as much in adult fiction. Thanks for pointing this one out. I've added it to the never-ending TBR list.