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

(First Daughter #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  276 ratings  ·  51 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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Average rating 3.62  · 
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Ms. Yingling
Jan 14, 2013 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 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to CLM by: Deb Holland
Shelves: 21st-century, ya
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 b ...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 te ...more
Maria Copeland
Jun 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Trying out some more Mitali Perkins. This was a fun quick read; sorta in the "fluffy" category, but the fashion angst + political tension was balanced out by Sameera's exploration of the faith her family has raised her in (found this portrayal interesting because it's definitely not a Christian book per se, but gets into what faith looks like in one family's life without making it enough to turn off secular readers) and how her Pakistan identity meshes into a world of American politics. Some hea ...more
Nasty Lady MJ
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. Yo ...more
Aug 29, 2008 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 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 famil ...more
Aug 02, 2008 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 to ...more
Oct 10, 2012 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
Sep 21, 2013 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
Sondra Santos
Dec 26, 2008 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
Jan 04, 2016 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 maki ...more
Mar 11, 2009 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.
Apr 24, 2008 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 you can act ...more
Jun 07, 2011 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
Emily C.
Feb 11, 2008 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 t ...more
Aug 11, 2008 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 nic ...more
Hannah Laura Parker
I picked up this book (and its sequel; I read them out of order) because I like reading about families of state leaders and high-level politicians, 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 ...more
WCPL Teens
Apr 06, 2010 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.
Mar 17, 2012 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.
Stephanie A.
Jul 20, 2012 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 blending diversity organically into the story, rather than wrapping the whole book in a pedantic message about how Being Different Is Hard.
Oct 19, 2013 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!
Sep 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poc-authors, ya
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.
Feb 25, 2009 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...
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.

Jul 27, 2011 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".
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.
Aug 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen-lit
I liked using this book for discussion because it looks at the question of why we label people based on their ethnicity if they are brown/black/yellow skinned but not if they are white skinned. For a teen book it was the meat that was surrounded by the fluff
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
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Mitali Perkins has written many novels for young readers, including You Bring the Distant Near (nominated for the National Book Award) Rickshaw Girl (a NYPL best 100 Book for children in the past 100 years, film adaptation coming in 2020), Bamboo People (an ALA Top 10 YA novel), and Tiger Boy, which won the South Asia Book Award for Younger Readers. She currently writes and resides in the San Fran ...more

Other books in the series

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

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Kate Stayman-London has watched the reality dating show The Bachelor (and its eventual Bachelorette spin-off) since it first started airing in 2002...
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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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