Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Kirkus Review: The Uncut Version

Remember how I was whining about no sign of a pre-pub review from Kirkus for First Daughter: White House Rules (Dutton, January 2007)? Well, I moaned too soon. My editor, Margaret Woollatt, sent the review yesterday. First, the good stuff:
Perkins, Mitali, FIRST DAUGHTER: White House Rules (Kirkus 12/15/07)

Fresh off the presidential campaign trail, Sparrow and her country cousin Miranda make themselves at home in the White House, enjoying movies in the private theatre and trying out the bowling alley in this second installment of the First Daughter series. Although continuing many of the same plot lines introduced in the lead text, like dealing with the pressures of the press, Sparrow's Pakistani heritage and her budding romance with Bobby, first-time readers are quickly brought up to speed and introduced to new twists. 
Sparrow's blog also continues to play a central role, especially as she begins to realize that as the first daughter her posts have a major worldwide impact. Throughout, Sparrow's actions and thoughtful blog posts paint her as a likable character and great role model.
Woo-hoo, right? Well, brace yourselves for the killler last two sentences, which I deliberately deliver in a tiny, tiny font: But since there is no real crisis and the story almost seems as though it's a guide to living as a teenager in the White House, it has the potential to bore readers who will find Sparrow and her tame adventures flat and predictable. Only for fans who want to know what happens next. (Fiction. 10-13)

Ouch. Margaret, as is her wont, tries to ease the sting: 
Your audience will love the details of life in the White House, as well as the realism of the plot - dealing with a new school, navigating a first relationship - precisely because they will be able to relate to Sparrow's adventure, and because, as the reviewer notes, Sparrow is thoughtful, likable, and a great role model.
Now that's the kind of cheerleading not in most editors' job descriptions, but absolutely required to soothe an author's delicate ego.

3 comments:

Karen Day said...

Oh, who cares about Kirkus? I can't wait to read it. I love Sparrow. It's so refreshing to read a book where the hero is likeable, smart and NOT so predictably angsty.

Karen

gail said...

Ah, Mitali. I've had a few of those reviews over the years. And, yet, I'm still here. For now, anyway.

I think that if we could get hold of some of these review journals, we'd find that these kinds of reviews are more common than not. Not every reader will "get" what we're doing. Unfortunately, some of the readers who don't get us are reviewers.

simple-sunshine said...

Oh, it's just Kirkus - they hate everything, and very rarely get any YA title. I constantly see reviews from them where they complain about the "lack of substance" or something similarly vague. Don't worry about it! ^^

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