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Ellen Emerson White’s The President’s Daughter books

October 23, 2008

cover of The President's Daughter by Ellen Emerson Whitecover of White House Autumn by Ellen Emerson Whitecover of Long Live the Queen by Ellen Emerson White

I’m usually the type who insists on reading a series in order, but I made an exception last year when I read Ellen Emerson White‘s Long May She Reign without having read the previous three books in her President’s Daughter series. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I absolutely loved it, and after reading The President’s Daughter, White House Autumn, and Long Live the Queen, I can say that even knowing what was going to happen in these three books, I still adored them and still found them compelling.

Meg Powers’ mother is Katharine Vaughn Powers, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and rising star in the Democratic Party. The Senator has been approached about running for President and decided to go for it. Although almost no one thinks she’ll be able to do it, she wins the election. (But you knew that, right?) This means Meg and her two younger brothers receive increasing media attention, the family moves into the White House, and Meg must leave her old friends behind in Boston while trying to make new friends in Washington, DC, even though all her classmates know she’s the President’s daughter. More traumatically, the Powers family and the entire nation face two major crises when Meg’s mother is the target of an assassination attempt in White House Autumn and Meg is kidnapped by terrorists in Long Live the Queen.

If Meg were a real person, I’d probably be intimidated by her smarts and strength. But as the main character in a fiction series, she is absolutely, completely compelling. White uses a limited third-person point of view that is more intimate than some books written in first-person, fleshing out Meg’s character and giving her depth, complexity, and a sense of humor. More than that, though, everyone feels real, except maybe Preston, who is excessively perfect, albeit in a very appealing way. In all three books, Meg seems like a real teen, put into environments and situations that ring true and seem plausible. (Although what are the odds of the President being shot and her daughter being kidnapped in less than one year? Still, achieving such realism in spite of this has got to be more difficult than making vampires or faeries seem believable, don’t you think? Because White couldn’t create her own universe or mythology, but needed to stick with what we know, or think we know, about life for presidential kids.) And Meg’s relationship with her parents, especially her mother, is believably complicated. They love each other, but having a mother who is President of the United States stresses things.

As with Long May She Reign, these are three intelligent books about an intelligent girl from an intelligent family. White does not write down to her audience at all and does not shy away from difficult situations. The first third of Long Live the Queen, when Meg is captured and tortured, is seriously intense. It’s not gratuitous, but not for the faint of heart, either, although the payoff in the rest of Long Live the Queen and all 720 pages in Long May She Reign is so worth it. Nor does she prevaricate about politics. The President, and Meg, are decidedly liberal with strong opinions, but with enough political savvy to know what it takes to get things done.

Simply put, these are awesome, awesome books, and I’m glad The President’s Daughter, White House Autumn, and Long Live the Queen have been republished, since I somehow never read them when I was younger. I can’t speak about differences between the new and old editions, but whatever updates were made were integrated well. Besides obvious things like cell phones and a few references to George W. Bush, I couldn’t figure out where the updates occurred. Highly recommended, particularly for readers looking for books about strong, smart young women who don’t care about name-dropping or designer labels.

Check out Ellen Emerson White on the Feiwel & Friends blog (posts one, two, and three). Also reviewed at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy (original editions) and The Moving Castle.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2008 1:36 am

    Ooh, I love the new covers!!!

  2. towerofbooks permalink
    October 23, 2008 1:58 pm

    This sounds like a series I’d been interested in.

  3. October 24, 2008 11:58 am

    hmm i hadn’t heard about this series before. I’ll have to read them, they sound pretty good :)

  4. October 25, 2008 10:46 am

    Heard a lot about this series, but I can never find the first book. I like the new style they’re trying out for the covers.

  5. October 31, 2008 12:16 am

    How have I missed these? They look great, but I’m seeing them only in paperback on my book jobber’s catalog. I’ll try to hunt down the first one. Thanks!

  6. Eliza permalink
    January 5, 2009 2:57 am

    So glad I stumbled across your review. The first two books were favorites of mine as a teenager and I had no idea they were in print. I’m going to run out to get my new copies!

  7. meghan powers permalink
    April 16, 2009 10:00 am

    omg im gonna have to read this book!!!!! my name is actually meghan powers AND i live on the suburbs of boston!!!!
    sadly my mom isnt named katherin and she wiont be running for anything ever but its still reallly funny!!!

    I FEEL SPECIAL!!!

    • April 16, 2009 10:35 pm

      Seriously?

      Yeah, you definitely need to read these books. They are awesome.

  8. Katharine permalink
    June 19, 2009 1:38 pm

    I LOVE these books. I am actually doing a project on them for a class as some of the most infulential books in my life. Having Long May She Reign come out was probably the best book event of my life.

    • January 18, 2011 3:27 pm

      I agree! I waited a couple of years for Harry Potter 7 but 17 years for Long May She Reign!! (I first read The President’s Daughter in ’91.) Absolutely worth the wait. Now I’m just waiting for the sequel that follows Meg after college. :)

  9. January 18, 2011 3:25 pm

    I bought the original President’s Daughter from a Scholastic book order when I was in 6th grade and it immediately became one of my favorite books. It’s about a third, maybe a fourth the size of the update, so you’re getting lots more lovely Ellen Emerson White in the new editions. The funniest update for me was that Meg used to be a Tab drinker but now it’s Coca-Cola. I’ve always associated Tab with Meg, so the first time in the new edition when she picks up a Coke, I was shocked at how out of character it was! :)

    For the true EEW fans, she’s also written under the names Elizabeth Faucher, Zack Emerson and Nicholas Edwards.

  10. Kiana permalink
    January 13, 2012 10:29 am

    What is ellen emerson whites adress i need it ASAP!!!!!!-

Trackbacks

  1. My top 10 YA novels « The YA YA YAs
  2. The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White « The YA YA YAs

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