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All-American Girl by Meg Cabot

All-American Girl by Meg Cabot is a novel that gives readers what they want. It provides constant humor, bursts of insight, and meaningful messages. The main character, Samantha Madison, lives in Washington D.C. and is incredibly good at drawing. Her artistic skill is the only thing that she is particularly proud of. She constantly feels inferior to both of her sisters because she is neither popular, nor incredibly intelligent. It is shown that this sixteen-year old is just an ordinary girl that many people disregard. Samantha’s life is quickly turned upside down after she jumps on top of a would-be assassin and saves the president’s life.

While this occurrence seems to be extremely farfetched, that is what makes the story so fun to read. Who wants to read about eating dinner or doing the laundry? Many people love novels that incorporate supernatural life forms like wizards, or vampires. This is because books that contain beings that are not real, or occurrences that will probably never happen, are sincerely intriguing to read about. Meg Cabot makes the main character, Sam, very easy to relate to. Her voice is extremely powerful and generally has most readers laughing out loud by the end of the first page. At this point in All American Girl the protagonist speaks of how she felt it wrong of her sister to go into her bedroom without asking. “Her excuse is that she was looking for her eyelash curler. Hello. Like I would borrow anything of hers. Especially something that had been near her big, bulbous eyeballs.” Her humorous voice is used continuously throughout the novel and before the reader realizes it they are half way through the story.

This, like many books of Cabot’s has random bits of insight thrown in throughout it. She makes a point to try and get readers to learn interesting things that they might not have known before. Granted, I may have overlooked a lot of it because I was more interested in her story line, but there are definitely chunks of information scattered throughout this novel. One thing that I learned while reading is that there is a theory that most left handed people start out in the womb as twins. Also that with seventy percent of twin pregnancies one of the babies disappears early on. “Just like that. Poof. This is called vanishing twin syndrome.”

Most importantly the messages shown throughout this novel are inspiring. In an art class Samantha takes, she learns to draw what she sees and not what she knows. She originally doesn’t like sketching the fruit that isn’t exact to her minds view. She feels as if the teacher just wants to pick on her and that what she “knows” would be drawn much better than what she “sees.” She eventually realizes that it’s okay for the fruit not to be ideal, just like it is okay for her not to be perfect. The story shows readers that movie stars, legendary singers, and even the family that lives in the White House are people too. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the famous people we look up to aren’t flawless either. Another fact Meg Cabot leaves us with is that anyone can be a hero. Samantha Madison was just an ordinary girl until she noticed a strange man pull out and aim a gun at the president. There are going to be times when everyone needs to stand up to the plate, whether that means saving a presidents life, scoring the winning point of a playoff game, or simply encouraging a friend to do the right thing.

All American Girl is one of my very favorite novels. I have always appreciated Meg Cabot’s writings, but this was actually the first book that I ever really read without stopping. After the first few pages I was genuinely hooked and I could easily relate to the protagonist and all that she was thinking. There are not that many writers who have the natural talent to capture the voice of teenagers around my age, but she does. Since this is what I find to be one of her best works it would be a shame not to be read by all that can get their hands on it. The novel has won numerous book awards including the New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age Award and the Book Sense Bestseller Award. I guess I’m not the only person in the world that fell in love with the story of Samantha Madison.





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