Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When Audrey Met Alice

Being First Kid would be awesome, right?  Well, maybe not...

Rebecca Behrens' When Audrey Met Alice is a great blend of contemporary & historical fiction.

Audrey Rhodes' mother is the President, making her First Daughter (aka FIDO...poor girl)- it's hard enough for her to make friends, but when her epic birthday party is cancelled due to a security breach, she's ready to throw in the towel.  That night, though, she finds Alice Roosevelt's journal hidden in the floor boards.  Will the former First Daughter's words help Audrey navigate life in the White House?

This was such a fun read!  And very educational and interesting.  I had actually never known about Alice Roosevelt, and now I regret that (but! have some books coming on "Princess Alice.")  She was so feisty, spunky and fun! I, for one, did not know that we were doing yoga here in the US in 1901.

The book tackles multiple issues, but a central issue is gay rights.  Both now, and back when Alice was First Daughter.  Audrey's Uncle Harrison and his boyfriend Max live in Madison (Yay! Wisconsin mention!).  Since Harrison's sister is the President, the issue is approached by many of the current characters.  We discover, too, that Alice was an advocate for gay rights, and received a letter calling her an "honorary homosexual."  It's true!  I Googled it!  Other themes in the book are parent-child relationships, smoking, responsibility, and love (or crushes).

Audrey and Alice also raise the question about life in the White House, and whether or not it's a fairy tale.  Especially harder for Audrey, with the rise of social media, she feels imprisoned.  So, it may be like a fairy tale, but perhaps one like "Rapunzel" where she's locked in the tower.

Life is hard enough when you're thirteen.  It's a hormonal/emotional roller-coaster in the first place, and it's when you're beginning to discover yourself.  To not have that freedom to find yourself would be so much worse.  Audrey could do worse than looking to Alice Roosevelt to help her through the First Family rough patch.

I would recommend this for middle-grade girls, especially.  Those interested in history- I'd suggest it as a step up from girls who like the American Girl series.  Like I said, it's a fun book!  I read it in a day and a half (darn work and sleep, getting in the way).  I learned so much I didn't know before, and wish Alice Roosevelt had been mentioned more in my history classes!

[Note for Educators: There are Common Core-aligned Guides for this title]

When Audrey Met Alice is published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.  Review ARC graciously provided by the publisher.
Release Date: 02.04.2014

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