These are not books that are going to be adorned by those fancy silver and gold stickers come January when the ALA hands out awards. And I don’t think they are intended to be those kinds of books.
I expected these to be YA books and they do technically fall into that category, with high school freshmen protagonists, it feels younger than that, and it’s a book I’d be far more likely to hand to a middle school student instead. The fact that they are unbelievably clean makes them another good call for that age range – no swearing, one kiss at the end. Frankly, I’d have been comfortable giving these Joanna Philbin books to the fifth graders in my elementary schools who just wanted some light, easy fluff.
The Daughters and The Daughters Break the Rules by Joanna Philbin
The Daughters and The Daughters Break the Rules (which will include a third one next year) follow the lives of Lizzie, Carina, and Hudson, all daughters of famous New Yorkers (Lizzie’s mom is a supermodel, Carina’s father is a newspaper/online news mogul, and Hudson’s mom is a pop singer).
Each book by Joanna Philbin follows one of the girls as she comes to terms with her own life outside the parental spotlight. The Daughters is about Lizzie, who is asked to become a “new pretty” model (aka – not supermodel kind of pretty, more like big nosed and frizzy haired pretty) and has to decide how she feels about following in her mother’s footsteps and if she’s only getting the jobs because of who she is.
The Daughters Break the Rules focuses on Carina who, when she accuses her dad of thinking that spending money equals parenting, loses all her credit cards and gets an allowance of $20 a week. Whoops. Suddenly she kind of likes the idea of having a dad who thinks money equals parenting. But she’s determined to make it work and prove to him that she isn’t addicted to shopping.
The characters occasionally drove me insane and sometimes are just flat out WEIRD (like when Carina goes to dinner with this boy and can’t stop exclaiming over the ludicrous prices (a FOURTEEN dollar sandwich!). I mean, really). And as getting in trouble is pretty much my biggest fear, it’s hard for me to watch characters do things that you KNOW is going to get them in mega trouble with the school or with their parents.
And as is so often the case in these kinds of books, it’s almost like having adult teenagers, what with them skipping off alone downtown to buy themselves designer dresses and having professional photographers beg them to let them do a photoshoot, all without asking any parents. On the other hand, it’s part of what makes these books fun. I assume some people really do get taken to high school by their private car and driver (far from the private mom and Astro van of my own high school days, let me tell you).
All in all, these Joanna Philbin books reminded me a bit of the Shopaholic books (except aimed at teenagers) – funny, a little silly, likable characters doing somewhat dumb things and then everything ends up all happy and fine.
Also, I love these covers. Darling, no?
First book checked out from my local library, second book received from publisher