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Extreme American Makeover (First Daughter, #1)
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Extreme American Makeover (First Daughter #1)

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  265 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Adopted from Pakistan when she was three, Sameera "Sparrow" Righton is not your typical all-American girl. None of this used to matter, but that was before her father decided to run for president of the United States. Now some of her father's campaign staffers think that maybe a dark-skinned, adopted daughter could hurt his chances. They begin to pressure Sameera to change ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published June 14th 2007 by Dutton Juvenile
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Ms. Yingling
Jan 14, 2013 Ms. Yingling rated it really liked it
Sparrow (aka Sameera) was adopted at the age of three from Pakistan by politically active parents. Her father is now running for president, hoping to get his party's nomination. There is a lot of concern that Sparrow isn't "American" enough, or fashionable enough, to help sway votes. She is reinvented as "Sammy", made over to be more attractive, and given a custom blog aimed at tweens, even though she is 16. She is uncomfortable with these changes, but understands that even her mother has had to ...more
Nov 23, 2009 CLM rated it really liked it
Recommended to CLM by: Deb Holland
Shelves: ya, 21st-century
Sparrow was adopted from Pakistan at age 3 by an American couple in the Foreign Service. Now her father is running for president as a Republican and his staff is trying to figure out how his dark-complexioned and independent teenager fits into the campaign. At first Sparrow conforms to the campaign's expectations but as she gains confidence she decides it is important to her to share her voice with the country. In particular, she is proud of her blog and resents the moronic public blog created ...more
What a teen fantasya glamorous makeover by the best in the business! The only trouble is that a makeover implies there is something wrong with who you really are. Perkins takes on a young teens search for identity in the high-pressure context of her fathers presidential campaign. Sameera has more than the usual challenges she is relentlessly pursued by paparazzi who are quick to point out that she was adopted from a village in Muslim Pakistan. Can she be American enough to satisfy voters? All ...more
Howdy YAL
I really wanted to like this book and I think I would've if I wasn't spoon fed the moral of this story. That it's important to be yourself. This was basically reiterated throughout the entire book and it got really stale after the first three pages. I wish Sparrow would've been more fleshed out. Had other conflicts in her life, but nope it's all about how her dad's evil publicist is trying to make her into Sammy instead ofSparrow. Even her blogging skills are lackluster and comes off as fake. ...more
Sep 03, 2008 Lucy rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who want to read teen political fiction
Shelves: teen
Sameera Righton is used to being the daughter of political parents, and she has spent the last few years tucked away in a boarding school in Europe, living as normal a life as possible. But now everything is going to change. Sameera's father is running in the Republican primary, and as school ends, Sameera joins the campaign.

First up is a radical makeover. Next, is a name change--after all, Sammy sounds much more All-American than Sameera. The PR experts on her father's campaign even make a fak
Jan 29, 2013 Sherry rated it really liked it
Protagonist Sameera Righton is a confident world citizen teenager, athelete, and blogger, arriving in California from the end of school term in Brussels. She is also the Pakistani-born, adopted daughter of a former U.S. Congressman-turned-diplomat who is campaigning for President of the United States. Her mother is Elizabeth Campbell, a human-rights activist who consults for organizations like the United Nations. On one hand, Sameera thinks she is ready for the spotlight - and all that the ...more
Aug 02, 2008 Nancy rated it really liked it
This very enjoyable novel is about Sameera Righton, the adopted (from Pakistan) daughter of the Republican presidential nominee. The novel follows Sameera as she learns to trust her instinct that the American people are ready to accept her as she really is instead of relying on the manufactured image of the shallow, mindless teen that her father's handlers have prepared for her.

While this book carries a great message for teen and preteen girls, its most significant characteristic that it is just
Meh. Nothing to write home about, but if teens are looking for a fun read this is a good one. I'm not a fan of Perkins' writing style -- she tends to tell us instead of showing us, which, to me, takes away a lot of the fun of reading novels. Otherwise, I think Perkins handles the adoption issue pretty well. I didn't find myself cringing or groaning or wanting to pull my hair out while reading about the protagonists' adoption, so that's definitely a good sign. In other words, the author wasn't ...more
Sep 21, 2013 Corine rated it liked it
Sameera "Sparrow" Righton is adopted from Pakistan. Although she loves her political dad, and her "help the needy" mom, she can't help but feel different here in America. Especially when her dad gets nominated by the Republican committee to run for president. But soon racial problems heat up fast. And so does Sparrows personal blog to all of her friends. is Sameera's only contact with her buds during the campaign. But what America doesn't know, is that Sameera lives a double, ...more
Oct 18, 2012 123jasminea rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I have ever read from Mitali Perkins, but I have to admit this was a very great book. I give it 5 stars. "Sammy" get transformed from Sameera. She had to become "all American." She had someone who had an official blog for her at the same time was made-up by professional dressers and hair dressers. She never actually had a chance to speak her mind though.
What I like about this book and Sameera is that even though she did not speak her mind immediately, which disapointed
Jan 04, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it
This book has a deceiving cover. I thought it would be about a preteen girl learning to live with her father becoming president like the Princess Diaries or something. It's a lot more than that. The main character is sixteen, and she seems older, since she's very self assured and confident, having grown up the daughter of diplomats in several different countries around the world. (That part was very authentic to me since the author seems to have had a similar childhood). It wasn't about her ...more
Sondra Santos
Nov 29, 2009 Sondra Santos rated it really liked it
Sameera (aka Sparrow) is the only daughter of Presidential candidate James Righton and his wife, Elizabeth. She just so happens to be adopted and it's her international appeal that creates a stir with the papparazzi who continue to bombard her with ignorant questions about her education, her travels and her upbringing.

So far (I'm 10 chapters in), Sameera is a sophisticated, intelligent and unique young woman who I wish I could've been at her age. She's presented with the challenge of somehow sur
Mar 11, 2009 Catriona rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teenage girls who need a role model
Shelves: apple-pie
Okay, this is a really great book. Sameera Righton, Pakistani-American, very patriotic, is becoming all-American. Her dad is running for president, so she becomes a celebrity. (Personally, I would NOT like to be a celebrity - no privacy @ all!) Anyways, she and her totally awesome family stick together through thick and thin, papparatzi, covert meetings, and her sneaking out to meet with her awesome friends. Her dad wins, she is a first daughter, but still speaking and blogging her own mind.
Jun 07, 2011 Kirsten rated it it was ok
I have heard good things about Mitali Perkins, and thought I'd check this out. I did think this was well-written, and I liked the set-up. But Sameera came off as very young and immature in the beginning - maybe 12 or 13, not 16. Politically speaking, I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief (yeah, the major Presidential candidates are a diplomat who's been abroad for the last 15 years, and a single mom: uh-huh, riiiiight). The "blog posts" - both genuine and manufactured - were mostly pretty ...more
May 08, 2008 Marnie rated it really liked it
Really cute story about Sameera, the adopted Pakistani daughter of a Republican presidential candidate- I think she's based on John McCain's youngest daughter. Sameera is very likable & realistic,& smart too, & I especially liked that her dad was a Republican, not only because I am but because it seems like the majority of characters in books I've read are liberal, when they have a political preference, so this was a nice change. I also liked reading about a girl who was adopted. And ...more
Hannah Parker
I picked up this book (and its sequel; I read them out of order) because I like reading about children of state leaders, be they real or fictional. I didn't really expect much from it, but I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of depth it had. The culture clashes between Pakistani-American Sameera and the all-American "Sammy" her PR team wants her to be are well-done, as are the parallel generational clashes between the less conservative Republicans (Sameera and her parents) and their more ...more
Emily C.
Feb 11, 2008 Emily C. rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
this is book is a great read, but it was a bit cheesy and predictable. I really like how she could go around and be herself with out the press finding her by wearing a bhurka (is that what its called?). In this book you watch an independent girl find out what happens when you become famous in America today. Her dad (a president to-be) has several people working for him and they want to change her style and make her more American. She goes along with it only because she wants her dad to win and ...more
Aug 11, 2008 Rekha rated it liked it
Sameera Righton is the adopted daughter of the Republican presidential nominee. Because she is of South Asian descent (Pakistani), she wonders how the American public will accept her as a potential First Daughter, and the story describes that it's not a given that they will. Sameera is intelligent, capable, and very likable. This would appeal to fans of the Princess Diaries, although this book is smarter than that series and touches on more serious themes (but never in a heavy-handed way). A ...more
Stephanie A.
Jul 20, 2012 Stephanie A. rated it really liked it
The word that comes to mind is DELIGHTFUL. Points for being the teenage daughter of a Republican who doesn't fight her father's ideals every step of the way, and more points for featuring a normal teenager who makes smart decisions which do not revolve around boys. Even more points for not getting bogged down in PC nonsense or making me loathe its every allusion to diversity, which is hard to do. It was just part of the story, not a pedantic message about it.
Mar 17, 2012 Christina rated it did not like it
This book had many problems. The plot seemed to ramble with no clear point. The author explained some stuff in too much detail and other stuff not at all. The voice and tone of the book came off as someone who was trying too hard to be cool and wasn't pulling it off. The characters made little sense in how they related to each other and the plot. Overall, I would not recommend it to any of my students.
Oct 19, 2013 Libby rated it really liked it
Mitali Perkins is a great example of a global author, whether her book is set outside the US as in Rickshaw Girl or is following the Pakistani-born, internationally raised, all-American adopted daughter of a presidential candidate. In many ways, this is a typical light piece of chick-lit for teens, but with hints at depth as Sameera deals with questions of both race and religion. This is the perfect American-based book for an international school library!
WCPL Teens
Apr 06, 2010 WCPL Teens rated it really liked it
Shelves: shelly-reads
Adopted from Pakistan at a young age, Sameera (Sparrow to her friends) has traveled all over the world with her political family, and is usually unnoticed. When her father enters the presidential race, Sameera is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, and the PR people want to make her more "American". She goes along with their ideas for a bit, but with the help of some new friends decides that what she really wants is to be true to herself.
Although this book had a promising premise, it was so poorly written that I just could not get through it. The author tried way too hard to capture a teenage girl's voice and, in failing, sounded silly and disingenous. So many themes would be applicable to my curriculum, but I just couldn't get past the writing.
Feb 25, 2009 Janine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was better for sure than I thought it would be. Her father, who is running for president, is actually a Republican. Sort of. Anyhow, this took a different spin on the old idea of the President's Daughter, which has been done a million times. I wish I could give this 2 1/2 stars, and I might change my mind and give it three, but honestly I got a bit bored in the middle...
Jul 27, 2011 Jenny rated it liked it
Fun and interesting perspective on a presidential election campaign - and it's pre-Obama. Fun and light treatment of serious themes and ideas - it sticks with you for a while - as an adult reader. Idealized US politics, assertive characters, very rosy version of the world. I enjoyed her follow-up book too, "White House Rules".
A fun look at what it's like to be the would-be president's daughter, great for younger YA audiences who aren't quite ready for Ellen Emerson White's series. At the same time, deals with some thought-provoking cultural issues without hitting the reader over the head.

Review to come at Finding Wonderland.

Nov 07, 2014 Zara rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, non-white-authors
This book was fairly good, if a bit cheesy and unrealistic at times. Sameera is a very strong girl and definitely knows what she wants, which is nice to see in a book. On a side note, the book is a lot better than the cover. I think this is a particularly good time to read the book, what with all the controversy going on in this presidential election.
I love this book. It is about a president's daughter who is East Indian American and her quest to make people understand who she is. She is adopted and so her parents are white. She is a spunky, strong character. Sql=First Daughter: White House Rules
Hannah Parrott
I love this book!!!! Even though it's a bit girly for me, I've read it twice so far and its one of those books that I can't put done. Mitali Perkins is an awesome writer and gives me a new perspective on things. Thanks!
May 27, 2012 Renee rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book. I absolutely could not put it down. It had the right amount of worries and problems for a political book, ;) but it was still a fun story with its twists and turns, but I could totally guess the ending, though...
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Mitali Perkins was born in Kolkata, India, and immigrated to the States when she was seven years old. She's written several books for young readers, including BAMBOO PEOPLE, RICKSHAW GIRL, MONSOON SUMMER, and SECRET KEEPER. She is also the editor of an anthology: OPEN MIC: RIFFS BETWEEN CULTURES IN TEN VOICES. Mitali maintains a website ( and blog ( where she chats ...more
More about Mitali Perkins...

Other Books in the Series

First Daughter (2 books)
  • White House Rules (First Daughter, #2)

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“what counted was helping her father achieve his dream-and finding interesting stuff to put in her blog.” 2 likes
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